NPS Autumn Festival showing report: Prolific mare is still Delicious *H&H Plus*

  • A former HOYS champion proves she’s just as quality without a saddle, while a home-produced riding pony impresses to take the show’s top ridden accolade

    NPS Autumn Festival, Vale View EC, Leics

    A former Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) champion has changed hands and was debuted in-hand by her new producer at the National Pony Society’s (NPS) first major fixture of the season. Connemara mare Skærgårdens Delicious Love, now owned by breed specialist Vanessa Clark – whose eye for a star has been proven times over – led the Kilmannan Silver Medal championship before scooping the NPS/Area XI supreme in-hand garland.

    Delicious is no stranger to success in the NPS. In 2017, the then first-season five-year-old was champion of the Picton novice mountain and moorland (M&M) sections, the same year she was crowned overall M&M pony of the year at the NEC, and last term she won the Shearwater open ridden supreme.

    Vanessa bought Delicious in the new year: “I’d always admired her,” enthused Vanessa of the eight-year-old by Wirtsmühle Delaney’s out of Skærgårdens Secret Love. “I was actually three days behind her previous owner, Kelly Jones, when she initially came up for sale in 2015. I rang her breeder who told me that someone from the UK was already on their way to Denmark to pick her up.

    “I spoke to Kelly about it at HOYS and we both laughed. I told her that should Delicious ever be up for sale that I’d be interested. All credit to Kelly she has done an amazing job with her.”

    Delicious has been based with producers Craig Elenor and Sara Parrott for the past two months. “I saw her for the first time in the flesh when she won at HOYS while I was riding another pony,” added Vanessa, who will eventually run Delicious on as a broodmare. “She really was something else that day. She’s so feminine and is a proper pony so I do think she’ll stand up against the stallions. The plan is to show her in-hand and play about with some dressage over the winter.”

    Reserve supreme was The Queen’s three-year-old Highland filly Balmoral Leia, led by Lizzie Briant. “She was born on 4 May; Star Wars day,” said Lizzie. “She’s very special to us; her sire, Balmoral Lord, sadly died of grass sickness and her dam, Balmoral Melody, was a successful show mare for me and spent many years at the Royal Mews even carrying The Queen. Melody is now breeding at Balmoral and Leia shares her wonderful temperament.”

    “He has his moments”

    The NPS/British Isles supreme ridden went to home producer Emmy Parkhouse riding her mother Serena’s classy show pony Jackets Destiny (Perry). The 148cm contender has been an exceptional pony for Emmy, culminating his 2019 season standing reserve children’s riding pony of the year at HOYS in October. The Cusop Dimension son – who is out of Jackets Maybe – was bought as an unbroken three-year old in 2015.

    “He only measured at 143cm so there wasn’t much interest as it was presumed he wouldn’t be big enough for the class,” explained Emmy, who trains with Justine Armstrong-Small. “We saw a video of him and just decided to give him a go. Perry can be quite unpredictable and he can have his moments. This is my last year in show ponies but we’ll run him on as a part-bred next season.”

    Emmy is also set to bring out the exciting intermediate Wycroft Donatello next year.

    The Richardson sisters were on form all day with their string of saintly mini ponies. Their top-scorer was the delightful Shetland gelding Briar Snowman, who was not only NPS/Showing Classics mini qualifier champion after winning both lead-rein and first ridden classes with Penny Richardson, but led the championship of the NPS/Area 10 M&M open ridden final against the other breeds with older sister Lilly on board. Snowman and Lilly were also runners up in the British Isles ridden supreme.

    “Lilly’s smile while galloping Snowman says it all,” said their mother Lucy. “Snowman is one in a million. Penny is only four but she had to hop on and do the first ridden as Lilly was jumping.”

    Penny then rode Snowman’s half brother, Joanne Howells-Bevan’s novice lead-rein Briar Snowfox, to win the NPS/Williams & Nash Memorial accolade ahead of Lilly riding first ridden winner, Welsh section A Elberry Suilen.

    Strong field of plaited contenders

    Simon Carlesworth handled Joanna Adams’ immaculate three-year-old colt Sandboro Sir Henry to get the nod in the NPS/The Sash Emporium plaited in-hand supreme. After standing hack breeding champion at Bucks County last September, Henry was awarded a coveted Cuddy in-hand place.

    “We backed him over the summer as he needed something to do and he took to it brilliantly,” said Simon. “He will have semen collected and should be back out showing again next season.”

    Ian Boylan led Tammy Heathcote’s Roseberry Picture Perfect into the reserve spot. The two-year-old gelding is out of the late Roseberry County Affair by Rotherwood Spring Storm.

    “We’ve always loved him”

    A home-bred Dales stallion landed the NPS/Hirstmund Stud M&M pure novice final to retain his unbeaten run.

    Anna and Julie Pennell’s free-moving Nipna Midnight Rambler and his producer Sarah Parker were on perfect form to win the championship over small breeds victor Menai Anrheg Penblywdd (Harriet Glenn). Rambler is by Nipna Invictus and out of Anna’s beloved mare Nipna Damask Rose (Rosie), who was second at HOYS on her debut in 2013.

    “I’m slightly biased as he’s Rosie’s first colt,” said Anna. “But we’ve always loved him and Sarah does, too. He has so much quality limb as well as pony characteristics and depth to go with it.”

    Rambler will go to the BSPS Heritage championships for his 2020 swansong and it’s hoped he’ll step into open ranks next term.

    “I’ve not seen him at a show in over a year but Sarah has told me I’m not allowed to come any more as I might curse him,” laughed Anna.

    The Nipna breeding proved itself throughout the day at Vale View with Richard Waite’s Nipna James Britannia (Vicki Smith) winning two ridden classes and a championship title and Holly Croall-Brown’s Nipna King’s Ransom clinching the NPS in-hand silver medal qualifier.

    Hannah Sheldon’s Nipna Golden Poppy also placed second in the open ridden behind James Britannia.

    “The owners have had faith in us as breeders,” added Anna. “We just told them to wait for them to mature and it’s paying off.”

    Ref Horse & Hound; 1 October 2020