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Horse of the Year Show blog: when fairy tales DO come true

We don’t believe in fairy tales any more. No Father Christmas, no Tooth Fairy, no Easter Bunny. We’re grown-ups, we know how the world works and we know it’s not fair.

But sometimes fairy tales can come true… In the showing world, there are probably at least two people today who have had their faith restored.

Jenna Tyldesley’s lightweight hunter Tudor Minstrel has been something of a “bridesmaid” this season — consistent, but never quite making the qualifying spot. They picked up their ticket for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) at Addington Festival in September.

Yesterday, in a field that included a former HOYS supreme horse and countless other “big hitters” in the hunter world, they not only won their class, but went on to land the hunter championship. It’s the first time an amateur has claimed this most prestigious of titles this millennium. Think on that a while…

And if you like your cake with icing, cherries, sprinkles and a sparkler, Tudor Minstel came out again in the ladies’ hunters and snatched that title, too.

Then in the mountain and moorland working hunter ponies — with some cracking natives forward, many of them much garlanded — a debutant pair from the smallest section blew the rest out of the water to claim reserve to the classy Fairlies Red Flare. Olivia Grant and Pontsarn Sidan went round David Cole’s course like a dose of salts. They won a lot of hearts with their gutsy performance and thoroughly deserved their placing.

It’s been a fabulous day, with some brave judging, terrific performances and glorious champions. HOYS 2012 is shaping up to be a vintage year and will be over all too soon. But at least I can look forward to a visit from Father Christmas…

For more, don’t miss Horse & Hound 20-page HOYS special report in next Thursday’s magazine, on sale 11 October, 2012

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