A four-year-old is best in show, a new partnership scoops the new best-of-breeds accolade and a Welsh cob is victorious for his young jockey at the BSPS Heritage Championships, Arena UK, Lincs on 17–18 October
A NEW star emerged on the native scene when showing legends David Tatlow and his daughter Loraine Homer chose Zoe Clarke’s Heritage ridden novice champion, the Dartmoor Kingshaugh Hailstorm (Harry) to head a quality-filled field of 16 overall supreme finalists at the BSPS Heritage Championships.
The four-year-old gelding – attending only his fourth-ever show – was partnered by young producer Charley Baxter and never missed a beat.
After watching the individual shows, David adopted his familiar “chessboard” style of moving ponies around in order of preference, then pulling others forward, creating a truly electric atmosphere to keep everyone guessing until the very end.
“This pony is the most beautiful model,” David enthused. “It is stunning, correct for its breed, has good feet, excellent front legs, a deep middle, good hindlegs and a great step. It is very hard to fault.”
“It just oozes star quality,” added Loraine. “It was also very tactfully ridden – just as a four-year-old should be.”
All connections of this stunning pony were amazed and delighted in equal measure.
“We only came to give him a bit of education,” said shocked owner Zoe Clarke, who bought Harry on impulse last winter while searching for a first ridden for her daughter Grace, now nine.
“Harry was at Julie Barton’s yard to be broken in, aged three. He was still entire when I saw him so, in theory, he was totally unsuitable as a first ridden,” added Zoe. “But I was instinctively drawn to this handsome head that kept shouting at me over a field gate so eventually I asked Julie if we could try him.
“He had been beautifully started by Julie, and Charley had a little ride round before we popped Grace on just to see. I was smitten and the rest is history.
“He most definitely found us with his naughty shouting, but how grateful I am that he did!”
Charley, 22, was in shock, too.
“The novice class on Saturday was my first Heritage show win, so that in itself was amazing – then to be champion was a massive achievement,” she revealed. “When I saw the line-up in the supreme, I was a bit worried that my show would be a bit basic as I didn’t want to put any pressure on Harry – I just wanted him to have a great experience in there.
“To be pulled forward in the top four was more than I ever expected, but then to be supreme was just unbelievable.”
Here, Harry demonstrated his wonderful temperament in spades, with a tally that also included standing second with Grace in a first ridden class of 29, as well as three other top-five first ridden class finishes.
It was a close call between the top two in the supreme, though, and many eyes were again drawn to the delightful combination of Isla Buckley, eight, on her mother Rebecca Knight’s charming grey section A, Sunstars Contador (Connor), beautifully led by producer Craig Elenor.
This combination, champion at four of the five area shows they contested this term, stood restricted supreme at the British Show Pony Society (BSPS) summer championships and here, headed the RIHS-qualifying section, won their open class and finished second in a super-strong tiny tots class.
In order to gain a place in the overall supreme, this team had triumphed in a superb mini Heritage supreme.
“This was a super way to end their lead-rein career,” said Craig’s partner Sara Parrott. “He’ll now go out in the field and holiday until January – then it’s first riddens for him next season.”
Connemara is best of breeds at BSPS Heritage Championships
THE best of breeds section attracted huge entries, again with youth competing against experience. After an absorbing day, the overall title went to Lucy Body, 13, with her newly acquired Connemara Gloves Blakehill William, who pipped the small breeds champions, Lucy Brennan’s in-form Welsh section A Thistledown El Toro.
“My champion is a really super, correct stamp with great limbs, good feet and lovely paces,” said judge Edward Young. “There is perhaps a little room for improvement in its way of going, but that can be worked on, while you can’t improve conformation.”
This was a first trip to the show for Kent-based Lucy, who acquired Will as a surprise birthday present in February, and it was only their fourth outing together. The former HOYS and Olympia finalist is produced by Ollie and Jo Burchell.
“We obviously haven’t been able to do much show-wise this season so we have just been enjoying each other,” said Lucy. “We decided to come here to have some fun and get to know each other in the show ring – this result means the world to me.”
The home-produced combination of Newmarket-based Molly Mercer and her mother Katie’s section D Cwmtynant Cardiganbay (Alfred) shone to claim their first championship show win, heading the young riders’ over 143cm novice workers before going on to stand champion and then take the young rider supreme.
“I do feel that workers tend to get overlooked in championships quite frequently,” said supreme judge Mary Allison. “But this cob was lovely and very true to type – he also had excellent manners.”
Molly, 17, rides racehorses part-time for local trainer Noel Quinlan while fitting in an online equine physiotherapy and rehabilitation course, as well as producing Alfred and three other Welsh cobs for showing, eventing and Pony Club activities.
“Because we are totally home-produced, Alfred and I have created an incredible bond,” she said.
“2019 was his first season on the circuit and he proved to us all how special he is. He has blown us away this term and this result today was just amazing.”
Barclay fences test
GRAHAM BARCLAY’S imaginative, beautifully dressed worker courses at the BSPS Heritage Championships drew universal praise over the weekend, rewarding bold, accurate riding and well-trained ponies.
Another home-produced combination – Ellie Ellingworth and her mother Kerri’s athletic section B Weydown Reflection (Harris) – made a triumphant debut in worker ranks to head an exciting novice section.
Locally based Ellie, 14, has lessons from Camilla Lanni and Daisy Liddle, but this was their first attempt completely from home. Harris is by Sam Roberts’ successful multi-discipline ride Moelview Prince Consort, and came from Georgia Darlington at the end of August.
“All we wanted to do here was to go steady and clear, which is what we’d been working on,” said Kerri. “Ellie does everything herself, from getting him ready to working him in. We couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to workers this weekend – Harris didn’t bat an eyelid at anything.
“He has been at home since we bought him, though, which has enabled Ellie to really get to know him and it’s made such a difference. We’ve fallen on our feet with him – he’s such a lovely natured pony to have around.”
The open worker title went to Amy Smith’s evergreen Connemara Laburnum Richard, 13, who has lost none of his enthusiasm.
Dedicated to Dales
THE Pennell family’s lifelong dedication to Dales pony breeding reaped yet more rewards here, and three close home-bred close relations ended up in the overall supreme at the BSPS Heritage Championships.
These were the full-brothers, restricted ridden champion Nipna James Britannia (Vikki Smith, pictured) and Pretty Polly champion Nipna Invictus (Caitlin Hamilson) – both by Wolsey Xabi out of Hodgson Lane Alice – and Invictus’ five-year-old son, Nipna Midnight Rambler, the young pony champion.
“Richard Waite bought James as a four-year-old from us as a surprise anniversary present for his wife Katie,” said Nipna Stud’s Anna Pennell. “We sold Invictus as a five-year-old to Katie Chappell after we’d used him, and she took him to HOYS and Olympia before selling him to Kirsty Hamilton.
“We still own his son Midnight Rambler — he’s just a five-year-old and this is his first season with [producer] Sarah Parker. We are so very proud of them all.”
Strong entries at BSPS Heritage Championships
DESPITE the current Covid-19 restrictions – and the loss of Olympia – entries for this increasingly popular annual highlight for the native world held up well.
“We gave a free entry to everyone who had qualified for the Olympia semi-finals, and we had pretty much the same number of total entries – around 1,200 – as usual,” said BSPS general secretary Karen Toynton Ward.
“We refunded anyone affected by the most recent lockdown rules, but this only amounted to about 4% of the original entries.
“We did ask members to be responsible for themselves, though, and not travel if they or anyone connected with their ponies came from the highest tier of lockdown.
“We think people respected that, and it remained a very happy, well-supported and successful show – we were delighted with the way it went.”
H&H 29 October 2020
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