The first day of the 2020 British Show Pony Society Championships (28 — 30 August) culminated in three major supreme crownings where both home-produced and novice ponies were given their first major chance of the season to shine.
Despite being treated to unrelenting rainfall for the majority of the day, the calibre of the supreme finalists was exceptionally high and young combinations belied their lack of experience to turn heads and ultimately secure overall sashes.
Henrietta Barton was tasked with sorting the Pretty Polly supreme. Her choice for the championship was the 122cm show hunter pony Greendown Rene ridden by Lacey Berrett.
The 11-year-old chestnut mare — a former Royal International (RIHS) winner with Lacey’s younger brother Jake — was foot perfect with her nine-year-old jockey, who is still in first ridden ranks.
“We’ve had Rene for three seasons,” said Lacey’s mum Trudy. “She’s the perfect pony for Lacey to start in open classes.”
The Halifax-based family have made it three wins in three outings with Rene during 2020.
Alice Homer led the way in the first day’s overall novice ridden supreme, pipping a high-class field to triumph with her mother Loraine’s exciting four-year-old intermediate show riding type mare, Ballinclaire, contesting only her fifth show under saddle.
The Irish-bred Sylvano daughter showed aplomb way beyond her years to produce a lovely, flowing show to take the title, prompting judge Paul Cook to comment: “This pony is very true to type, went with light cadence and showed soft, smooth transitions.”
The mare’s only previous experience indoors was at Addington last year, when she won the in-hand hack championship at the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) national championships.
“She is so lovely to do in every way,” said a delighted Alice, 18, who is now aiming her at the novice hack class at BSHA autumn gala show in two weeks’ time — also now at Arena UK.
“She thoroughly enjoys her work and indoors tonight, she really stepped up to the occasion. I couldn’t believe how well she coped — standing and behaving when she will have never felt an atmosphere like it.”
Many promising youngsters showed their paces on day one, shrugging off the torrential rain which caused the end-of-day supremes to be moved indoors, with strict social distancing in place.
Another that caught the eye was the winter novice supreme and show hunter pony champion, Romanno Spot of Distinction, beautifully ridden by Charlotte Caulfield, who partnered last year’s Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) show pony victor, Stretcholt New Dimension. “Spot,” a four-year-old by Stanley Grange Regal Heights, is out of the former HOYS champion Chiddock Spot on.
Supreme judge Sandra Curtis commented: “This pony had the wow factor for me as soon as it came in. It had a beautiful walk and trot, was foot-perfect and shouted ‘I am a star’.”
The Team Forster/Jinks-produced gelding was only recently broken but stood section champion the previous weekend here at the UK Nationals.
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