“Sometimes you just know it’s meant to be,” says Lynda Calcutt, owner of Shilstone Rocks North Westerly (Windy), one of the most prolific Dartmoors of all time.
In December, he made his ridden swansong at Olympia. Two months earlier, Windy — who is best known for his partnership with his long-standing jockey Chloe Chubb — made breed history when he won the small breeds ridden final at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) for the third time. As well as being a seven-time Royal International (RIHS) finalist and twice Olympia best of breed recipient, Windy is also a multiple in hand supreme champion and has contested the Cuddy in-hand final twice with Oliver Burchell.
But Windy’s road to the top would not have happened had he not had a determined team behind him who understand — and adore — his quirks.
“He’s such a character and always has been,” says Lynda, who first spotted Windy when she was showing for his breeder Elizabeth Newbolt-Young.
“When I first saw him in the field as a foal, he was the biggest by a mile; he was so pretty and correct, and had so much attitude. It took two years of pestering Elizabeth to sell him to me.”
Windy was broken by Team Hillyard and as a five-year-old he went to Oliver and Jo Burchell’s yard. Windy and Chloe were first acquainted in 2012, the start of a multi-garlanded partnership.
“He’s an extraordinary pony,” continues Lynda. “He loves an atmosphere; the bigger the better. He comes alive at HOYS and it’s as if he thinks everyone is there to see him. But he’s cold-backed and if you put a saddle on him after a short break, he virtually has to be rebroken. When Chloe gets on at a show, we face him uphill and she gently gets on without her feet in the stirrups. He’s had a few stand-in jockeys off before.”
Windy — who only has eight foals on the ground — has also achieved premium stallion status with the Dartmoor Pony Society, a major recognition that can take a lifetime for a pony to reach.
“He’s just an absolute bloody legend,” says Lynda. “And the partnership he has with Chloe is unbelievable.”
Paul Brightwell of Cosford Stud awarded the stallion a mark of 48 for his show at HOYS last year.
“He was extremely well schooled and just got on with the job asked of him,” says Paul, who saw 185 ponies on the day. “He didn’t go behind the vertical and was free and forward, going exactly like a native pony should. On the go-round, he stood out to me and my co-judge; we both spotted him and picked him out the minute he walked in the ring.”
Type and movement
“He is very true to type,” says Paul. “He screams Dartmoor at me and couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. I think some of the natives have been altered too much for the ridden job. People are breeding them up to height and thereby losing limb and type, but he is undoubtedly a Dartie.”
Judge and Dartmoor pony breeder Madge Taylor adds: “He represents well the characteristics of the Dartmoor breed in that while he is at home in the show ring, he could easily be envisaged running free on the moor, moving easily across rough terrain.
“This would be reflected in his movement, fairly low and athletic but without any exaggeration. The overall picture suggests a scaled-down middleweight hunter, but with pony characteristics and a flowing mane and tail.”
Head and neck
“He has a typical Dartmoor head; small and handsome as opposed to pretty, with a fairly strong jaw set cleanly onto his neck,” says Madge, who bred Windy’s grandsire Langfield Canth. “His eyes are generous without any protrusion and his ears are small and alert.”
Paul adds: “While he is masculine and is undoubtedly a male, he comes with quality. For a stallion, he is clean through the gullet. He has a lovely front.”
Body and limbs
“If you threw a saddle at him, it would land in exactly the right place,” says Paul. “And he has a terrific forearm with lovely, short cannons. He has tremendous, strong hocks and he also boasts good bone just below the hock.”
Madge adds: “His body suggests strength and ruggedness with powerful, slightly sloping quarters that are required in our native ponies.
“He has a good straight leg supported by a strong forearm,” she adds. “He has big flat knees and lovely short cannon bones. The gaskin on this pony is well muscled and his hocks are in optimum position, providing the power to move correctly behind.”
The facts: 13-year-old bay Dartmoor stallion, 121.9cm
Stable name: Windy
Breeder: Elizabeth Newbolt-Young
Owner: Lynda Calcutt
Rider: Chloe Chubb
Best results: five-time HOYS finalist (winner in 2016, 2018 and 2019); seven-time RIHS finalist; four-time Olympia finalist (Best of Breed (BOB) in 2017 and BOB and fourth in 2019); twice Cuddy in-hand finalist (third in 2015); supreme in-hand M&M at Herts County, South of England, Bucks County, NPS Spring Festival and Ponies (UK); twice ridden and 11-time in-hand silver-medal winner.
Ref Horse & Hound; 20 February 2020