‘She was the ultimate showgirl’: farewell to top mare who ‘stole everyone’s heart’

  • Louise Edgar-Kingman and Wendy Edgar’s exceptional small intermediate show riding type contender Wilderness Carmen has died aged 25.

    In 2009, Wilderness Carmen, who was by Strinesdale Matador out of Langfield Fancy Dragon, was crowned intermediate champion at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and during her career she was supreme of show at the Cherif championships, both in hand and under saddle.

    She is also the dam of the 2018 HOYS supreme pony of the year Carmens Novello, who was at her side when she was in-hand supreme at the Cherif championships and appeared at HOYS in hand in 2013.

    Bred by Richard and Yvonne Eaves and initially produced by Debbie Thomas and her daughter Gemma, Carmen made her debut in the show ring as a five-year-old in 2004, finishing her season with a third in the HOYS final.

    Louise and Wendy spotted Carmen on the circuit and they bought her, alongside her co-owner at the time Ann Harrod, after HOYS. Soon afterwards, she joined the yard of producers Sam and Julian Quiney, where she stayed until her retirement.

    “It didn’t matter which show we were at, she absolutely loved showing; she always had to walk into the ring first,” Louise said. “She could be a diva about a handful of specific things but she was the ultimate showgirl who knew her job so well.”

    Louise and Carmen had an impressive CV, including two Royal International wins in part-bred ranks, the Equifest supreme and multiple placings at HOYS, including a second in 2006, before she was champion in 2009. She won at the final Royal Show and lifted numerous county show titles, including at Louise and Wendy’s local show Royal Bath and West. She was also a successful small hack.

    Carmen was retired from ridden showing in 2010 and she bred her first foal, Carmens Novello, in 2013. In the same year she qualified for the HOYS in-hand supreme final at Royal Cornwall, led by Julian.

    Her long-term producer, Sam, said: “Carmen was Julian’s princess.”

    “She was very foal-proud and she loved her babies,” added Louise. “When she walked into the ring, though, she would say ‘I’m back, look at me’ and she’d get on with her job. She bred us five lovely foals. During her later years she lived her very best life, being a super nanny to all the weanlings and broodmares.”

    Sam added: “In the glory days of intermediates she was at the top of her game. She was always everyone’s favourite, even to her fellow competitors.

    “She stole everyone’s hearts. She always tried her best. We have so many achievements to thank Carmen for, including many BSPS Blue Riband wins, a title at the last Royal Show and of course, her Cherif supremes. We also have to thank Carmen for the friendships that were formed because of her.”

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