Top pony performers at RIHS

The “pony brigade” raised the roof of the members’ stand at Hickstead during the three BSJA junior championships on the opening day of this year’s Royal International Horse Show.

Daniel Mosely started the show with a victory for Nottinghamshire when he and Saving Grace defeated Laura Mantel on Custom Cruiser ina two-pony Oakley Coachbuilders Winter JC final.

The 13-year-old, who is trained by Mike Saywell and his father, Colin, has brought Saving Grace’s winnings total up to JA from £90 since taking the ride from joint-owner Pauline Richards’s daughter, Cerys, in August last year.

“She may not be the biggest pony, but she’s got plenty of scope,” said Daniel, who will ride Saving Grace in the junior Foxhunter final at HOYS.

Mike Saywell gained another “first” when his pupil Emma Stoker and Flinor Songbird came out best in another two pony jump-off for the Hilton Herbs Winter 128cm title.

The 10-year-old from Yorkshire and the lovely chestnut mare, who was bred for the show ring, produced two super clears to finish ahead of reigning HOYS champion Jordan Whittaker, who picked up the best rider award on Proud Flyer.

Emma was making her first appearance at Hickstead and said: “It’s fantastic – but I did feel a bit pressurised.”

The Hilton Herbs 138cm champion was another Hickstead first-timer. Adeline Kelly, 12, who has just moved to Dumfries in Scotland from Yorkshire, jumped two tremendous rounds on the New Zealand-bred Captain Sam, a pony she started riding last August.

“I never thought I’d win. I was just pleased to get into the jump-off as I’ve never even jumped a wall before,” said Adeline, who is helped by Susan Bowman and Tim Ryan.

The easibed Winter Novice Championship went to Buckinghamshire’s Emma Slater, who gained her first-ever Hickstead victory on a new ride, Kim Barzilay’s Uttah Van Der Indihof. Emma, 24, anchored this six-year-old chestnut daughter of Heartbreaker well to defeat a field packed with big names.

“She is sharp, but the arena suited her. The bold fences backed her off well,” said Emma, whose twin brother, Glynn, also rode in this final.

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