The duo on a mission to breed “proper”, true-to-type natives for the ridden market talk to Rebecca Haywood about their greatest achievements and plans for the future
A FARMING couple with a passion for promoting the versatility of the British native breeds have not let the global pandemic stand in the way of their ever-growing breeding mission. Despite last year’s showing plans being scuppered by Covid, Julian Walters and David Hodge have carried on at home with as much determination as ever.
Their breeding programme, which began with the Shetland pony, continues to evolve and the pair have recently turned their focus to the Dartmoor and Exmoor breeds, too. The sheep and cattle farmers, who are panel judges on both the Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society and the Dartmoor Pony Society, can look back on pre-Covid years with a huge sense of pride.
Not only have Julian and David achieved some enviable successes in the ring – including three Olympia best of breed titles and two wins of the Kellythorpe Stud Shetland sire of the year award with one of their top sires, Newbarn Piran – but they made history in 2016 when their Shetland mare, Sharptor Trinity, became the first of her breed in 30 years to contest the Cuddy in-hand final. Trinity took the reserve spot in the pony section of the final at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in 2016 and 2017, having also finished second at the Birmingham venue under saddle as a lead-rein in 2013.
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