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Virtual show will be 27-year-old stallion’s 11th Royal Windsor

A 27-year-old who has competed at Royal Windsor Horse Show every year it has run since he was 16 is this year taking on the virtual event.

Emma Tovey’s 13.2hh cob Sweet William, who overcame a serious injury to compete at last year’s event as normal, was fit and ready to take part in the in-hand classes again this year, having previously won a class and stood reserve champion there.

But as the coronavirus led to the cancellation of the show in May, she is instead one of thousands of people from all over the world who have already entered for the virtual show.

Emma told H&H this would have been her stallion’s 11th Royal Windsor.

“I just love it,” she said. “It sounds funny to say it’s my local show but it’s only 15 minutes from where I keep the horses and I’ve been going to watch since almost before I can remember.

“I was gutted it was cancelled as he’s looking so well and I’d been so excited; especially as last year, the weather was so horrific and I’d had a car accident the night before; the paramedics were talking about hospital and all I could think about was getting to Windsor.”

Emma says she has no idea of her pony’s breeding; a previous owner bought him from the roadside, after he had been pulling a wagon, and she has owned him since he was 10, when he helped her learn to drive. Since then, she has competed him in-hand and driven, although a serious injury two years ago almost meant the end of his career.

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“I was on holiday when I got a call to say he’d cut his leg in the field but not to worry,” she said. “It turned out he’d gone through the suspensory ligament and had nerve damage. He was on box rest for six months, although as an old boy, his back end struggled so we put him in a small pen – and he got through it and was back to Windsor the next year.”

“He’s just fantastic,” she added. “He’s the quietest stallion you’ll ever meet and he loves kids, although he can be cheeky with me.

“At least this virtual show means we can still do Windsor – and I’m already looking ahead to next year.”

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