In the spotlight: Kingshaugh Hailstorm — ‘I was speechless to take champion against top-class ponies’ *H&H Plus*

  • Alex Robinson speaks to the connections of the five-year-old Dartmoor gelding who reigned supreme against a spectacular field of native ponies at the 2020 BSPS Heritage championships

    Need to know

    Age: five
    Breed: Dartmoor
    Breeding: Treworgan Show Time x Springwater Intermezzo
    Owner: Zoe Clarke
    Riders: Charley Baxter and Grace Clarke
    Breeder: Jane Brown
    Height: 122cm
    Best results: first novice small breeds BSPS Area 16, first and novice M&M champion, second novice first ridden and overall supreme of show BSPS Heritage championships (all 2020).

    Owner Zoe Clarke

    “In 2019, I was on the hunt for a mountain and moorland [M&M] first ridden prospect for my nine-year-old daughter, Grace.

    I was keen on a Dartmoor as I love the breed, although many have tried to steer me away as they are notoriously quirky. Charley Baxter put me in touch with Dartmoor specialist and producer Julie Barton.

    “When I saw ‘Harry’, who was then an entire, I just loved him. He had the most beautiful head as well as something special, which I can’t describe. I bought him from Elaine Arnold and he was gelded before heading to Charley’s yard.

    “He’s only done a handful of shows, including the British Show Pony Society [BSPS] summer championships, where he was placed in all of his mini classes. Even though he has big movement, he’s kind in his approach and will drop down a gear for Grace.

    “At the Heritage championships, his end-of-season run out, Grace achieved a second in the restricted first ridden, while Charley won and took the novice championship. We stood in the warm-up before the supreme and couldn’t believe the line-up, which included a few Horse of the Year Show [HOYS] winners. Charley kept her show simple and Harry took everything in his stride. It’s so refreshing to have a pony who enjoys his job.”

    Rider Charley Baxter

    “When I first saw Harry, even though he was a raging colt, I could see how much potential he had. He had so much to give. He’s been really easy to bring on and he loves his job. Whether it’s myself or Grace on board, he loves to please us, and we both love him dearly, too. He’s only young, so he still needs reassurance from his rider and he likes to know when he’s done well.

    “We took him to the Heritage championships for the experience before his winter holiday. Grace essentially worked him in for me during her first ridden class before I jumped on him for the novice. He kept his head and really wanted to show himself off. I’ve never actually won a class at a BSPS championship, so to win was enough. I was speechless to take champion against some absolutely top-class ponies.

    “The supreme was even more about the experience. I rode a basic, simple show as I wanted him to have a good time. He’ll still run on as a novice next year and possibly contend a few later qualifiers; I don’t like to rush anything. He’s Grace’s future junior pony, so they will spend the next couple of years getting to know each other under no pressure.”

    Judge David Tatlow

    “When I judged this pony alongside my daughter Loraine Homer to be novice supreme at the BSPS Heritage championships, I had flashbacks to when we judged the novice riding horse Diamonds Are Forever to be champion at Royal Windsor in 2014; I felt as if we had really found something. It’s not often you drop on to something as such and this pony could easily be a star of the future.

    “When judging, I look for a horse or pony which can be awarded solid marks across the board; you don’t want an animal which gets three marks for one point and eight for another. This pony had no weak link. Some of the more established champions had credentials but perhaps lacked in other areas.

    “This Dartmoor was true to type with straight movement, good feet and a lovely attitude. Most of all, he wasn’t overly flamboyant and his rider rode him tactfully. She didn’t spoil the picture by doing too much. In all, it was a jolly rock-solid performance from a cracking little pony.”

    Ref: 14 January 2021

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