A show hunter pony has been voted the star of this year’s Horse of the Year Show, proving the best things often come in the smallest packages.
Rodham Sir Thomas, a bay six-year old by Brimstrone Rascall, impressed the judges of the SEIB Search for a Star Championship with his impeccable manners, floating paces and stunning conformation.
The SEIB Search for a Star competition is reserved for horses, ponies and riders who have never qualified for the Horse of the Year Show or the Royal International Horse Show. Qualifying rounds have taken place throughout the summer, and over the last three days a star has been selected from each category of show horse and pony to compete in the prestigious championship, held earlier this afternoon.
Ridden by Skye Houldsworth, 11, from Gloucestershire, Rodham Sir Thomas was the smallest in the six horse line-up but as an example a miniature hunter, he was exemplary.
Despite willing this popular and competitive class, Rodham Sir Thomas was not bought specifically as a show pony.
“I bought him two years ago — a friend found him for me in the village. I just wanted a nice, safe pony for Skye” said Jacquie Maycock, Skye’s mother. But the prize is thoroughly deserved as Rodham Sir Thomas’s perfect manners are not just limited to the show ring. “He has been cubbing and loves jumping,” says Skye, who is devastated that this will be her last year riding him. “We will have to sell him to a very special home,” she said.
The judges also found exceptional star quality in a 16.2hh lightweight show horse, Applejack II. Owned and ridden by Hannah Hunter from the Isle of Man, the 10-year-old gelding is a perfect example of his type, impressing the judges with his presence of movement, good looks and polite temperament.
“I just bought him to hack around,” said an ecstatic Hunter, who faces a 12hr journey back home tomorrow. “I got him when I was 16 and he just led me into showing”.
“It was beautiful in the arena,” she continued. “I just went in to have fun and forget everything. I loved every minute of it”.