A tiny rider who was dressed up to the nines, as was her “gem” of a Shetland, has won her first rosette — a red one — aged 17 months.
The “busy bee” costumes sported by Millie Wainwright and Betty, not to mention Millie’s mum Claire and grandmother Michelle Wainwright, were judged the best in the fancy dress class at the Southwell Ploughing Match show on 25 September.
Michelle told H&H her sons, including Millie’s dad Jack, have all showjumped, and Claire is from a showing background. So it was always when rather than if a pony arrived.
“I got Betty when Millie was nine months old and didn’t tell anybody,” she said. “My son and Claire turned up and I said I was just popping out, and brought Betty into the kitchen.
“I think Jack was a bit ‘Oh my goodness, here we go again’!
“Betty came in as if it was the norm and we sat Millie on her. She was chuckling away, loving every minute.”
Thanks to an Inky Dinky saddle, Mille was “tootling around the yard” on Betty before she could walk, then progressed to leading the pony “here, there and everywhere”.
Then came the idea to take the combination to their first competition.
“I thought ‘You’ve got to go to town, haven’t you; when your granddaughter is in the fancy dress, you’ve got to give it everything you’ve got!” Michelle said. “My front room was turned into Operation Bee; none of the boys could go in and it was all top secret.”
Michelle made everything from scratch, including her own and Claire’s beekeepers’ outfits, complete with a foil-covered oil can as a smoker, used to calm honey bees.
“When the judge came over, she was pretending to cough and saying she couldn’t see us through the smoke,” Michelle said. “And it doubled up as a container; I put a couple of emergency Fruit Shoots in it in case Millie got hot and thirsty.”
Michelle said she enjoyed being back at the show after Covid cancellations, and Millie’s win was the icing on the cake.
“There were 17 in the class and some lovely costumes,” she said. “There were cardboard tractors with ponies underneath, 101 dalmatians; you name it, it was in that ring. I’d thought we could go for it and hope for a rosette but didn’t think we’d come first!”
Michelle praised Betty, who was a “gem” throughout the costume creation, including having some of her costume sewn while she was in it, and stood like a rock throughout the show.
“It was cracking,” she said. “It all came together and Millie absolutely loved it.”
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