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Tiny rider who was eyeing up Burghley settles for Zoom show in lockdown

A mother whose son and nephew were disappointed to not be able to show their new pony has found a way they can still compete for rosettes while in lockdown.

Imogen Zybert’s son Harry, five, and nephew Sam, seven, were bought their first pony Willow last year and had started to plan their season.

While Harry enjoys grooming and hacking the 10-year-old Welsh section A, Sam is particularly competitive and had told his family he was already eyeing up Chatsworth and Burghley.

“Sam had been training all year, practising in hand and walking over some poles, we had bought a trailer and he had the summer lined up when it all went to pot,” said Imogen. “He was so disappointed, so we thought we would plan our own little show.”

“Sam is very keen and is all about the horses,” she added. “He has been looking through Horse & Hound since before he could walk or talk and always asks to buy a copy in the shop. Since he was 10 months old he has liked to look through the back and pick which horses he wanted!”

Imogen has recruited local equestrian Helen Wallis, who trained her to ride when she was younger, to be the judge and has set up a show that will take place on video communications app Zoom.

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The show will take place on 25 May and feature three classes — in-hand, jumping and handy pony. Imogen is charging £1 entry per class and the proceeds will go to Little Heartbeats, a local charity she volunteers for that supports women when their waters break too early.

Imogen and her family are based in the very horsey village of Buxworth in the Peake District and have already found seven children from the local school keen to enter. She hopes that once she advertises the event, some more children from the surrounding area may want to join in.

“It’s a very tight-knit, horsey community. Everyone knows everyone and the children used to meet together after school to go for hacks,” Imogen said. “I think it will be nice for the children to have a bit of a goal.”

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