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‘We tried to retire him, but he wasn’t having it’: 28-year-old showjumping pony qualifies for Royal International

Like fine wines, some ponies just seem to get better with age — step forward the mighty 138cm showjumping pony My Bugsy Malone.

The distinctive white-faced gelding has been a familiar sight on the pony circuit in a long and distinguished career, claiming nearly every major title at the likes of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), the Royal International Horse Show and the Scope Festival along the way.

This year, at the grand age of 28, he has just qualified once again for the winter 138cm final at the Royal International — a title he last won in 2017.

“We tried to retire him, but he wasn’t having it,” said Jason Moore, who co-owns Bugsy with wife Katrina and whose daughter Claudia rode him until HOYS 2018.

“He would only stay in the field for 45 minutes and then stood at the gate shouting to come in.”

The 28-year-old arrived in Great Britain from his native Sweden nearly 20 years ago and has since taken a string of young riders to great success, including Darby Ward, Lily Freeman-Attwood, Jordan and Dominique Whittaker and Drew Walton.

The charismatic and bubbly veteran is now regularly partnered by Connie Mensley and their second-place finish in the winter 138cm second round at Keysoe’s small pony premier show resulted in a ticket to the hallowed turf of Hickstead this summer.

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“He seems to love Connie,” added Jason. “She’s so tiny that he hardly knows she’s on his back.”

Over the years, his riders have described the world-famous Bugsy as “doing all he can to keep the rails up” and “an amazing pony” — without doubt, he’s still the one they all have to beat.

>>Don’t miss the full report from Keysoe in this week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday 16 January.

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