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Double Celebration on 2nd Day of Horse of the Year Show

It was a special win for HOYS Supreme Champion Jayne Ross on Thursday 3rd October when she took the Small Show Hunter of the Year title for the first time with the six-year-old Church Rock Cashel. The fairytale endings continued in the show ring when sisters Amy and Vikki Smith took the top two spots in the Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony Championship exceeding 143cm, with Amy and the Connemara Laburnum Richard standing Champions. The Dressage Future Eite Championship has grown in popularity since it was first introduced at HOYS a few years ago and this year proved the quality of future dressage superstars in this country is improving year on year, with Charlotte Dujardin taking the title for the fourth year running, this year partnering Mount St John Valencia.

Thursday 3th October 2019 – The NEC, Birmingham

Double Celebrations for Jayne Ross and Church Rock Cashel in the ExcLOOsive Small Show Hunter of the Year Championship

ExcLOOsive Small Show Hunter of the Year Champion 2019, Jayne Ross riding Church Rock Cashel. © 1st Class Images

The top four horses in last year’s winning line-up were back to contest the prestigious ExcLOOsive Small Show Hunter of the Year Championship on day two of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). But it was a young horse, unplaced last year, who rose to the occasion to prove himself and give producer, Jayne Ross, her first Small Show Hunter win here at HOYS.

Owned by Kay Campbell, Church Rock Cashel put in a foot-perfect performance in the Andrews Bowen International Arena, taking the honours ahead of 25 starters.

The six-year-old has been with Jayne for two years and has come into his own this year, having also taken the Championship at the Hickstead Derby Meeting.

Speaking after the class, a delighted Jayne said: “He’s a bonny, up-for-it little horse. He smiles all the time and this is a very special win.”

The bay gelding has hunted and jumped, and Jayne says he may continue to hunt once or twice over the winter following his HOYS campaign.

In the meantime, Alice Homer will take the ride on him in the Rotherwood Stud Intermediate Show Hunter of the Year Championship on Saturday.

Second place went to Lauren Mollard’s Chestnut gelding, Be Smart, ridden by Edward Young.


An Incredible 1-2 for Daisy Williams in the Blue Chip Pony Newcomers Championship

Daisy Williams made her first time at Horse of the Year Show one to remember, taking both first and second place with her two ponies, Bermudez BDA and King III respectively. The Lincolnshire-based teenager, who celebrates her 14th birthday next week, got an early birthday surprise when she took to the Andrews Bowen International Arena on day two at Horse of the Year Show. As first to jump in the seven pony jump off, she cleared a textbook round aboard Bermudez BDA. The pair set an unbeatable time of 31.60 seconds, fighting off close competition from the other riders to maintain her lead throughout. With two ponies in the jump off, Daisy was last to go with her second ride, King III, and only had herself to beat. Showing experience beyond her years, Daisy rode another expertly ridden course and flew down to the last fence to finish in 31.67 seconds allowing her to take that second-place position.

Blue Chip Pony Newcomers Champion 2019, Daisy Williams riding Bermudez BDA. © 1st Class Images

With the biggest smile on her face, Daisy commented afterwards: “I can’t quite believe that just happened. I was so nervous going in and I just hoped for the best. Billy [Bermudez BDA] is only six years old and hasn’t done many jump offs and I was surprised how fast we went. When I went in again with King, I didn’t even realise that I was in the lead until I heard the commentator on my approach to the first fence and I just couldn’t stop smiling. It is my first time at HOYS and it is such a dream come true to even be here, let alone to win. I came here a few years ago as a visitor and it just gave me the bug and motivation to get training with the ponies. They have both qualified for the Pony Foxhunter Championship on Saturday so I can only hope that they jump just as well in that.”

Both ponies are owned by Daisy’s mother Jill Williams and are apparently like chalk and cheese: “Billy gets into the arena excitable and raring to go, whereas King is a bit more reserved and waits for you to tell him what to do. They are both incredible ponies and I am so thankful to my trainers Kyle Hassle and Kelly Aldous for all of their support.”


Memories are made in the Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrications Ltd Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year Championship

History repeated itself on day two of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) when Amy Smith and her 12-year-old Connemara gelding Laburnum Richard was crowned Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrications Ltd Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year; a title the pair last claimed in 2017.

Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrications Ltd Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year Champion 2019, Amy Smith riding Laburnum Richard. © 1st Class Images

This time was made all the sweeter, as Amy had her sister Vikki Smith by her side in the Championship, after the pair scooped the top two spots in the Exceeding 143cm section earlier this morning.

Amy has had Pedro, as he is known at home, since he was three and she produces him herself, fitting this around her full-time job as a hairdresser.

“This [win] is just as good as the first time around; it still means everything, particularly on a pony that means so much to me.

“He jumped the best clear today that he ever has. He was at the top of his game.”

Vikki rode her eight-year-old Connemara gelding JP Corbally.

Reserve Champion was the winner of the 122cm height section. Carmilo Magician, or ‘Hopper’ is a 19-year-old Shetland pony owned by Mandy Shepherd and ridden by 21-year-old daughter Beatrice Shepherd.

Beatrice has ridden him for the past 10 years since she was 11. This is Hopper’s ninth visit to HOYS but his first win, and he made no fuss of the bold, up-to-height course designed by David Cole.

It was a particularly poignant win for Beatrice as she has been suffering from ill health this year and postponed surgery to come to HOYS. She said that she’ll be dreaming of this win when she goes in for the surgery. “It means the world,” she said. “All the hard work year-round is for this moment.”

Beatrice also competes in eventing with her Connemara and New Forest ponies and Mandy has a team of racing Shetlands who Hopper hacks out with back at home.

Speaking after the class this morning, Beatrice said: “He’s about 20cm smaller than the next pony in there, but I think his heart is 20 times bigger! It was a big track this year but he just carried me round and looked after me.”

Two other height sections took place in the TopSpec Arena earlier on in the day, making up the overall Championship.

A relatively new partnership in their first open season scooped the 143cm section; Mollie Mae Jeffrey riding Wayne Jeffrey’s Woodfield Jovial Joker. 14-year-old Mollie Mae has been riding the Connemara gelding, Jack, for 18 months and, at just seven years of age, he was the youngest pony in the field.

Mollie Mae is no stranger to the TopSpec Arena celebrating her second win at HOYS having claimed the 122cm section title in 2015 on Doylan Chilli Pepper, a pony who she also turned from a novice to a HOYS winner in little over a year.

Reflecting on the win today, she said: “I wasn’t expecting that at all! It’s amazing; he is so sweet and tried so hard.”

A nine-year-old rider clinched the 133cm section on her first time at HOYS. Ila Wingrove was given her pony Milford Fair Honeybee, or ‘Honey’ for short, on her fifth birthday and the mare is owned by her grandmother Gill Callaghan.

The 13-year-old Welsh Section B is entirely home produced; Ila rides after school and enjoys doing a bit of everything including Pony Club. She started out on the lead rein on Honey and has come on in leaps and bounds to claim one of showing’s most prestigious wins.

Speaking about Honey, Gill said: “She’s the perfect child’s pony. The smaller the child, the more she looks after them.”

Honey finished ninth in the same class at HOYS back in 2013, ridden by Xanthe De Wesselow.


Charlotte Dujardin reigns for a fourth year as the Dressage Future Elite Champion 2019

Dressage Future Elite Champion 2019, Charlotte Dujardin riding Mount St John Valencia © Julian Portch

Charlotte Dujardin did not let anyone else get a look in for the title of the Dressage Future Elite Champion 2019. Taking the title for the fourth consecutive year with four different horses just proves her sheer talent for producing horses to the highest level. Her win this year was with nine-year-old chestnut mare, Mount St John Valencia owned by Emma Blundell, who performed a beautiful freestyle to be awarded with a score of 78.041%. The young mare has only been with Charlotte for six months, but she joins Charlotte’s strong line up of horses ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Becoming a regular at Horse of the Year Show, Charlotte commented: “I’m really proud of her [Valencia]. She only did her first freestyle at the British Dressage Championships in September and to ride into an arena like this with a big crowd and the big screen, I think she found it a little daunting. She hesitated a little in the changes, but she stayed composed. It is such great experience for these young horses to be able to compete at a show like this; you can’t replicate this kind of atmosphere anywhere. I feel honoured to be able to bring different horses here each year and she shows a lot of potential, she just needs more exposure and experience in the arena.”

Having ridden at Horse of the Year Show as a young girl, Charlotte is the idol of so many young equestrians in the audience this evening, she added: “It’s a privilege to be back here again this year, it was always a childhood dream to ride down that centre line under the spotlight at HOYS and I love coming here and seeing old friends that I grew up and competed with. For anyone out there wanting to follow their dream, I would say to just keep going.”

Second placed rider, Katie Bailey, is a student of the training duo Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester so was delighted to have come second to Charlotte with Eagle Nouvelle, achieving an impressive 77.625%.


Topham Barnes Hack of the Year Championship makes an impressive Thursday for Jayne Ross

Showing producer Jayne Ross rode to victory on Miranda Wallace’s Forgeland Hyde Park in the Topham Barnes Hack of the Year Championship.

William, as he is known at home, has been placed second in the David Stennett Ltd. Large Hack of the Year with Jayne two years on the trot, but it was third time lucky this year. They not only won the class but went on to take the Championship on a day when Jayne also claimed the ExcLOOsive Small Show Hunter of the Year; two titles which have previously evaded this HOYS regular.

William is an eight-year-old by the late sire Kilvington Scoundrel, who continues to have an influence here at HOYS through his offspring.

Topham Barnes Hack of the Year Champion 2019, Jayne Ross riding Forgeland Hyde Park © 1st Class Images

Jayne said: “He gave me a fabulous ride and the judges said he never put a foot wrong.

“He was a little surprised by his own shadow in the spotlight to start with, but soon got used to it.”

Miranda arrived from work just in time to see William take the evening Championship. She was thrilled to see him win in the Andrews Bowen International Arena.

Miranda won the Intermediate Show Riding Type of the Year Championship with William last year at HOYS and the plan is for her to ride him more next year now that she is out of intermediates.

Robert Walker rode Nick Brookes’ nine-year-old gelding Parkgate Royal Visit William into Reserve, having won the Brereton Small Hack of the Year earlier in the morning.


Welsh ponies reign triumphant

Welsh ponies reign triumphant in the National Pony Society/Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony of the Year.

Six-year-old Welsh Section A pony, Nantfforchog Blue Moondust (Dusty), won the National Pony Society/Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony of the Year Championship on Thursday evening at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

This prestigious Championship is a culmination of 10 class sections which took place across the first two days of HOYS, showcasing all the native British breeds.

‘Dusty’ is owned by Muriel Jackson and produced by Debbie Thomas. The mare first competed at HOYS as a four-year-old in 2017 and was sold at the end of last season. However, a change in circumstances saw the team buy her back earlier this year and subsequently end this season with her first open win at HOYS.

Usually ridden by Liberty Rebecca Grota, it was Frankie Currell who took the ride on Dusty on Thursday. Liberty had her own pony, Cadlanvalley Buzby, to ride in the Welsh Section B class and they finished second.

National Pony Society/Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony of the Year, Frankie Currell riding Nantfforchog Blue Moondust (Dusty) © 1st Class Images

This was only the third time Frankie had sat on the pony and it was her first-time riding in the Andrews Bowen International Arena.

Reflecting on the ride, Frankie said: “She went really sweetly with an amazing gallop this afternoon and went even better tonight. She gave me everything.”

Dusty now has her place in the Ruckleigh School Supreme Pony of the Year line-up on Sunday night.

The Reserve title was claimed by another Welsh pony, this time a Section D; Emma Boardman’s own nine-year-old gelding, Dyffryngwy Sir Picasso.

Emma has owned Picasso since he was just six months old and they’ve qualified and been placed in the top five of this class at HOYS every year since he turned five. They won the Welsh Section D section last year, but this year went one better as Reserve Champions.

Emma is delighted with how Picasso has matured over the years, culminating in a very successful 2019 season with wins at Great Yorkshire Show and the Royal Welsh Show. When he’s not busy in the show ring, Picasso loves to jump and go on farm rides.


A new champion crowned in the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship

Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Champion 2019, Simon Crippen riding Premier Titanium © Julian Portch

Simon Crippen finally had his day, taking the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship riding Tim Peake’s seven-year-old gelding, Premier Titanium, at Horse of the Year Show 2019. Often described as the class everyone wants to win, Simon has been placed in the Championship many times, coming closest in 2010 when he took second place with Wembley III. The Foxhunter Championship started in 1954, it is one of the longest standing Championships at HOYS and its popularity is down to it showcasing the very best of the country’s novice horses.

Taking home the highly-coveted Foxhunter goblet after a difficult course, Simon was thrilled with his win finishing on a time of 38.51 seconds. He commented: “Tonight everything went my way. I had a funny feeling today that we would do well, and I was 13th to go which is my lucky number. I’ve been placed in this class a lot over the years, so to finally win was a fantastic feeling.”

Paul Barker and Matt Sampson, two riders known on the circuit for being quick in jump offs, were first in but their tight twisty turns cost them unfortunate penalties, leaving the field wide open to the other combinations. Simon continues: “Seeing the previous riders pick up faults, I decided to ride a steadier round and aim for clear, then hope it might be just enough. It was a nice smooth round and flowed well. Luckily it paid off and I’m delighted.”

Simon’s last big win at HOYS was in 1998 aged just 17 when he won the Senior Newcomers Championship riding Divine Des Cabanes owned by Judy Ross. Today, over 20 years later, he is back on top form with a talented young horse.

“Premier Titanium is a really good horse; I think he could be a real star. I’ve been riding him for just over two years now and although he has been tricky to produce, he shows great talent. He was a stallion up until this summer and having him gelded has really helped him to focus which has enabled us to progress quickly over the last few months. To win this traditional stepping stone class feels extremely special.”

Runner up in the class and placing second was this year’s Burghley Horse Trials winner, Pippa Funnell, who last rode at HOYS in 2011 winning the Senior Newcomers riding Billy Balou. With two rides in the class, Pippa’s second place was with seven-year-old mare, Billy Picador, who produced a beautiful double clear just outside of the time, finishing on 40.40 seconds.

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