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‘We were blessed to have him in our lives’: reigning Olympia supreme champion dies at 33

The oldest pony to ever compete and win at Olympia has died aged 33.

At 32 years old, Hot Fuss (Charlie) was crowned Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd (SSADL) in-hand supreme champion at Olympia. The New Forest/thoroughbred was 17 years older than the required age of a veteran contender.

His owner, Laura Oughton-Auker, led him to victory where the pair stormed the field by 10 marks. Charlie had qualified for Olympia at Suffolk County where he also stood supreme of show.

Laura originally bought Charlie after he was branded as an unsuitable riding school pony by the centre she used to ride at.

“He was and always will be our best boy,” said Laura. “When we bought him from the riding school my mum, Karen, was actually scared of horses but Charlie won her heart as he did so many others.

“There is a huge Charlie-shaped hole in our hearts but we were blessed to have him in our lives for 20 years. He was fit and well right up until the end when he just laid down and said ‘I’m tired now Mum, I’ve done it all’. That morning he had dragged me out to the paddock!”

Charlie only ventured into the senior showing scene aged 24 and he still enjoyed local pleasure rides and was out hunting in the new year after his Olympia victory.

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“He was a true showman; even going out for a hack he would prick his ears up and stand to attention so dog walkers could admire him,” added Laura. “He was my best friend and helped me overcome so many barriers. He had character by the bucketload.

“He taught me more than I will ever realise and it was an honour to have been his partner for so long. Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has sent their messages of condolences. Charlie would want everyone to go out with their golden oldies and show them to their best.”

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