Simon Smith’s remarkable 12hh all-rounder Pumpkin Pie, a showing heroine at both Burghley and Olympia just last year, has died at the grand age of 28.
After giving Simon’s own children their basic equestrian education in a variety of fields, “Pumpkin” went to a further seven families in the Leicestershire/Northamptonshire area on loan, enjoying mainly hunting and Pony Club activities.
“Pumpkin meant the world to me,” said Simon’s daughter Penny, who hunts with the Fernie. “Before she was passed down to me by my sister, I had a little pony that always chucked me off — Pumpkin was a breath of fresh air.
“I had lots of fun times on her — including winning Pony Club events — and I had my first day’s hunting on her. I’ve never missed a day’s hunting since.”
Pumpkin had been with her latest adopters, the Northamptonshire-based Spencer family, for three years and was partnered by Chloe Spencer, now five. Last season, aged 27, this delightful mare qualified for the inaugural British Show Pony Society (BSPS) Lead Rein Working Sports Pony final, finishing a creditable sixth at Burghley and beating ponies less than half her age in the process.
She also contested the prestigious Senior Showing and Dressage final at Olympia, receiving a special award as the oldest animal and youngest jockey .
“She’d been a hunting and Pony Club pony for 20 years until we thought we would get her showing again,” said Fiona Spencer, whose husband, Will, is a master of the Pytchley hunt. “She was originally registered with the BSPS in 1994, and last year was the oldest pony ever to be issued with a life height certificate.
“She again proved a little star and at the lead rein final at Burghley, two of her previous families came to watch her in a fan club.
“She won her senior classes at Royal Windsor — aka The Queen’s garden, according to Chloe — and Royal Three Counties. She then won the championship and ticket for Olympia at Leek County Show.
“Competing at Olympia involved an overnight stay with all the international superstars behind the scenes. This was an experience that her little jockey and family will never forget.”
The owners of a prolific working hunter pony have paid tribute to the ‘unique and irreplaceable’ gelding
‘We have had a lot of lovely ponies to produce and I shouldn’t really say I have a favourite, but…
The reigning Cuddy champion
Fiona continued: “Pumpkin lived a full and happy life and was always a favourite of the judges, but she adored her hunting, and started Chloe off last season at the age of four. They did another 10 days together this winter before Olympia.
“Sadly, old age just caught up with her so we had to say goodbye — but she will never be forgotten.
“What this remarkable pony did for Chloe is just incredible and we thank her from the bottom of our hearts. We miss her every day.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday