News, Pony Club, Showing, Showjumping

Exceptional Friday of 2019 Horse of the Year Show

Friday 4rd October saw Chlow Lemieux and the gorgeoust mare Coco Bongo produce a foot perfect round to take the National Pony Society/Snuggy Hoods Working Hunter Pony of the Year title, a win that would set them on their journey to eventually claim the Supreme Pony of the Year title in Sunday’s final performance. Friday also produced some great competition in the showjumping arena with Wiltshire-based Toby Fry and Zucan V taking the Leading Pony Showhumper of the Year title, while another young rider, 20-year-old Georgia Tame partnered Quintella to take the £10,000 prize in the NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes.

Friday 4th October 2019 – The NEC, Birmingham

An exceptional win for Georgia Tame in the NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes

NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes, Georgia Tame riding Quintella. © 1st Class Images

At just 20 years of age, Georgia Tame proved that the future of British Showjumping was in great hands. She rose to the challenge amongst tough competition to win the £10,000 prize in the NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes. Riding the feisty little bay mare, Quintella, Georgia was last but one to go in the class of 25 strong riders.

This year’s National Champion, Harriet Nuttall, held her lead as first to go, riding Night of Glory. It wasn’t until Anthony Condon came into the arena riding Zira VH Kapelhof Z, with just three left to go, that she got pushed off the top spot in his lightning round of 47.15 seconds. Not to be discouraged, Georgia meant business as she set off in full force. With some tight turns at a fast pace, the audience held their breath as she flew down the double to the penultimate obstacle and then cleared the last fence to finish on 45.16 seconds. An incredible winning round from this exceptional young talent who is based in West Sussex with Shane Breen.

Only her second time ever riding at Horse of the Year Show, Georgia commented on her win: “There were a lot of fast rounds and I knew Anthony would go well. I just had to trust her [Quintella] and try the best I could. She’s a speed machine and she is so careful; she rarely has one down and if she does then it is generally my fault. It’s a dream to win here at Horse of the Year Show. I’ve only been riding her a few months, I dropped her down to a 1.30m class last week to get her ready for coming here. I’d really like to win the Speed Horse of the Year class with her on Sunday, so we’ll see!”


Toby Fry takes the honours in the Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year

Wiltshire-based Toby Fry added his name to the Horse of the Year Show roll of honour tonight by winning the Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year 2019. Showcasing an impressive double clear, 15-year-old Toby showed no fear as last to go in the seven-rider jump-off riding Zucan V. The Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year is the biggest junior course at HOYS and is fiercely contested by some of the country’s top under 16-year-old riders, many of whom have made their way up the British ranks.

Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year, Toby Fry riding Zucan V. © 1st Class Images

Tatiane Mauree took the lead early on with a time of 41.06 seconds. Knowing that it was a tough time to beat, Toby took some very risky turns with an even tighter turn back to the 1.45m vertical. With the crowd riding every fence with him, spectators were on the edge of their seat as he galloped down to the last fence. Seeing the clock stop on 39.09 seconds Toby was on cloud nine as the realisation hit that he was the 2019 Champion.

Speaking of his round, Toby commented: “I knew 100% that he had it in him to win today. I had seen what everyone else had done and I knew I’d have to take some risks and trust him to go clear. I could hear the crowd cheering after each fence and it just made me more determined. I think that being last to go made me even more hungry for it. It was all or nothing.”

Toby follows in his father, Jamie Fry’s, footsteps, who also once won at Horse of the Year Show in 1986 when the show was held at Wembley. Toby continued: “It means everything to win here at HOYS. My father won here and he is a huge inspiration to me.”

It was an emotional moment for Jamie to see Toby win as he is no longer able to ride himself following a bad riding accident in 2014 where he injured his foot. Jamie adds: “If that hadn’t have happened then Toby might not be where he is today; I would still be riding, and I wouldn’t have put all of my efforts into the boys pursuing their dream.”


Coco Bongo is the National Pony Society/Snuggy Hoods Working Hunter Pony of the Year

William Calder’s 10-year-old grey mare, Coco Bongo (Bluebell), delighted her support team on day three of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) when she was crowned National Pony Society/Snuggy Hoods Working Hunter Pony of the Year.

Chloe Lemieux rode Bluebell to success in the 133cm section earlier in the day. Clinching the Championship was a thrilling end to a season of 133cm classes for this combination, while William’s daughter Jessica is currently riding Bluebell in Nursery Stakes classes.

National Pony Society/Snuggy Hoods Working Hunter Pony of the Year, Chloe Lemieux riding Coco Bongo. © 1st Class Images

The mare has been very consistent this season, placed second with both Chloe and Jessica in the 133cm and Nursery Stakes respectively at the Royal International Horse Show, and winning both classes at the Royal Highland Show. Jessica will now progress with her next season.

Reflecting on seeing one of his ponies become a HOYS Champion, William said: “It’s fantastic to have a pony like this up your sleeve for the future. And we’re delighted for Chloe. She rode beautifully.”

Chloe said: “She [Bluebell] was on really good form today; she’s a bouncy and compact ride and just a lovely person.”

Chloe will be back in the TopSpec Arena on Sunday competing in the Junior Mountain & Moorland Small Breed Ridden Pony of the Year sponsored by Ponies Association (UK) and now in the Ruckleigh School Supreme Pony of the Year as well.

Five-time HOYS Working Hunter Pony winner, Cashel Bay JJ (Cash), owned by Polly Eddis, made it six wins in the 153cm class and took the Reserve Champion title; a victory that has previously eluded him in this particular Championship.

Susie Eddis has ridden Cash for the past two seasons. Her sister Lucy had the ride beforehand and competed him at HOYS between 2014 and 2018. Cash has been placed in Working Hunter classes at HOYS for eight years on the trot and took the Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony Championship in 2016. Now aged 16, this Connemara shows no signs of slowing down.

Speaking after her class, Susie said: “He was amazing in there; I like him with a bit more energy, a bit fiery!”

Lucy, who was at HOYS to support her sister, said: “It’s incredible. Just when you think he’s done it all, he does it again.”

Cash will have a rest now over winter while Susie concentrates on her event horse.

Kate Johnston’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Elton John II climbed up from third place last year to top the Intermediate section with daughter Daniella in the saddle.

Daniella was thrilled with the win. She’s had Elton for four years and is pleased with how he has matured over his three appearances here at HOYS.

The pair regularly show jump and came to HOYS fresh from winning the 1.25m Grand Prix at Arena UK just two weeks ago.

The 143cm section was won by Amber Marnane riding her mother Melanie’s 10-year-old Connemara gelding, Danny’s Pride. They were also placed ninth in the Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony yesterday.

The pony is home produced and spends a lot of time on the gallops at Amber’s dad, David Marnane’s, racing yard back home in Tipperary, Ireland.

They have covered a lot of miles in their second season together, winning at the Northern Ireland Festival and qualifying at Lincolnshire Show for a very worthwhile trip to Birmingham today.

Amber said: “He [Danny’s Pride] was really good in the arena and attacked all the fences”.


SEIB Search for a Star series seeks out future HOYS stars

Results for each class as follows:

SEIB Search for a Star, Lisa Sergeant riding Linsford Ear to the Ground © Julian Portch

Working Show Pony – Champion

Lisa Sergeant came to Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) with no expectations and was absolutely over the moon when her pony, Linsford Ear to the Ground, not only won the Working Show Pony class, but was crowned overall SEIB Search for a Star Champion.

The SEIB Search for a Star series gives amateur riders, and their horses and ponies, the chance to try and qualify for HOYS and benefit from a thoroughly supportive network in the process.

This was exactly Lisa’s intention when she got her Connemara gelding, known as Leo, involved in the series. She wanted to help progress him from local shows to the open circuit and was keen to get him in front of top judges and receive their feedback.

Lisa now plans to give HOYS qualifiers a go next year, which is just what the series is all about; finding those future stars.
Eventually Leo will go to daughter Hannah, who Lisa says, “keeps trying to pinch him!”

Reflecting on her HOYS experience, Lisa said: “To qualify was a massive shock and then to ride in there [the Andrews Bowen International Arena] in front of all those people – wow!”

Hannah was there to support her mum and was just as excited: “I’ve always had every faith in her and I’m so proud.”

Working Show Horse – Reserve Champion

Pippa Tucker was “absolutely buzzing” after her homebred horse, Rambo, clinched the Working Show Horse title and then went on to stand overall Reserve Champion.

Rambo is an 11-year-old bay gelding who Pippa mainly competes in dressage and describes as a “gentle giant”.

“I’ve bred a few horses,” explained Pippa after her class. “They do what they’re good at and it’s amazing to win here at HOYS. I’m going to celebrate in style!”

Riding Horse

Sarah Walker and her own, Dr Cookie Monster, took the Riding Horse section. Sarah has had Cookie, a seven-year-old dun Sports Horse, for just over a year and he has come on significantly in that time.

“We wouldn’t have got through the door a year ago today,” said Sarah. “But today he just carried me round and looked after me.”

Sarah comes from a show jumping background and also has a homebred horse who is currently out on loan.


Emma Peel bought her bay gelding, Melin Moldavite (Harvey), as an unbroken three-year-old. Her daughter Maddie Bennett broke him in, and Emma rode him for a year while Maddie carried on with her 14hh pony. Harvey was only supposed to grow to 15hh but got a little bigger!

Maddie and Harvey competed in intermediate classes before their first open season this year.

It was an emotional win for Maddie whose name was last to be called forward, so she didn’t think she had even been placed!

Show Cob

Emily Chambers rode her own mare Wulfstan Evensong (Evie) to victory in the Show Cob section. The pair do a bit of everything together and have previously hunted, but only got into showing this year.

Emily has had the 10-year-old for two years. She did sell her, but Evie came back as her new owner didn’t get on with her.

“She was meant to be with me!” said Emily. “I never thought in a million years I’d be riding here, let alone winning! She was lovely in the ring; a bit sparky but I just sat quietly!”

Traditional Horse/Pony

The Traditional Horse/Pony class was a new addition for this year and was won by Angela Warnes’ eight-year-old cob, Daffodil, ridden by Kirsty Warnes.

Daffodil was bought unbroken, a bit of a “rough diamond”, and intended to be a happy hack for Kirsty’s mother-in-law. However, after showing plenty of quality, Kirsty has done a bit of everything with her from showing to dressage and cross country. They had a bit of a slow start to Daffodil’s ridden career after realising she was in foal!

Daffodil will eventually go to daughter Ella, but Kirsty was thrilled to find this opportunity for solid coloured cobs within the Search for a Star series.

Show Hunter

Isabel Southworth’s five-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Bloomfield Imperial, gave the judges all the right signals to secure the Show Hunter win. Isabel has only had Kanye, as he is known at home, since January and they have spent the year mainly schooling and hacking, as well as competing in a novice class at the BSHA.

Isabel also competed in the Search for a Star series on her 15hh pony, but never made it to HOYS. Kanye is her next step up and she says he is “friends with everyone.”


Sibling success in the Miniature Horse of the Year Championship

A brother and sister team had a successful day at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in the Miniature Horse of the Year Championship.

Thomas and Hattie Miller jointly produce Moira Oatley’s four-year-old Pinto mare, Rosaphia Snippets Twilight Sparkle (Zaza), who took the spoils in today’s Championship.

Miniature Horse of the Year Championship, Rosaphia Snippets Twilight Sparkle (Zaza) handled by Thomas Miller. © 1st Class Images

She was handled by Thomas in the arena and Hattie finished third with Lisa Taylor’s homebred two-year-old, Model Farm UK Midnight Meadow. Zaza goes to Thomas and Hattie in the summer and then back home to Moira over the winter. Hattie takes the lead when Thomas is at university.

The team have been to HOYS on numerous occasions, but this was Zaza’s first year, and a first HOYS win for Thomas.

“I’ve always dreamt of it, but it’s never come true until today,” said a delighted Thomas. “She’s so lovely to be around and cheeky.”

The mare hasn’t done too much this season but did win at the New Forest Show. “We’ve tried to keep her quiet, as she’s quite a bubbly person,” said Thomas.

Zaza will now be put in foal and have a year off.

Leonie Wroe’s Allstars Graffiti in the Spotlight was placed second.


From unbroken four-year-old to Champion in two years

Simon Constable Equine Vets and Mr & Mrs Roberts Ridden Purebred Arab of the Year Champion, Kimberley Bates riding Rafeekah. © 1st Class Images

Rafeekah goes from unbroken four-year-old to Simon Constable Equine Vets and Mr & Mrs Roberts Ridden Purebred Arab of the Year Champion in two years.

A home-produced Arab gelding won the Simon Constable Equine Vets and Mr & Mrs Roberts Ridden Purebred Arab of the Year Championship on day three at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

Rafeekah is a six-year-old owned by Kerry Bates and ridden by daughter Kimberley. Together they have taken this newly crowned HOYS Champion from an unbroken four-year-old to a serious contender on the ridden Arab circuit in just two years. They attended and won four shows last year and have focused on HOYS qualifiers this season.

Kimberley said: “I’m delighted; the more they [the audience] cheered the better he went. I’m so proud of him.”

The hard work is very much a joint effort; Kimberley’s sister was also here at HOYS bathing Rafeekah ahead of his class.

“We don’t have anything fancy at home and do all the work ourselves,” explained Kimberley. “He’s kept on a normal livery yard and shares a field with other horses and ponies.”

Rafeekah also won the best placed gelding award. Michelle Segre’s Alonzo was best placed stallion and Len Morgan’s CS Lelisha took the best placed mare.

Overall second place went to Tracey Hateley’s grey gelding, CBeebies, ridden by Darren Crowe.


Cuddy Supreme In-Hand Champions follow in family footsteps at HOYS

Sally McMillan’s three-year-old filly, Heronsmill Tiger Lily (Lily) has scooped one of the most prestigious and sought-after titles, the Cuddy Supreme In-Hand Championship at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

This Championship does a lot for the promotion of breeding horses and ponies, with many broodmares competing over the years, and this year’s winners showed that Supreme In-Hand champions do run in the family.

Heronsmill Tiger Lily is out of Copybush Eye of the Tiger whose full brother, Copybush Catchphrase, also won the Supreme In-Hand Championship as a three-year-old, a quarter of a century ago back in 1994. Now, another generation on, history has repeated itself.

Cuddy Supreme In-Hand Champion, Matt McGivern handling Heronsmill Tiger Lily. © 1st Class Images

In fact, Lily has been wearing the very same rug that Copybush Catchphrase wore here at HOYS in the nineties.

Bred and produced in Pembrokeshire, the mare was handled in the ring by Matt McGivern. She won the Pony section earlier on in the day before standing Champion.

Matt, who is a regular in ridden classes at HOYS, said: “It’s beyond our wildest dreams… As a kid you dream of winning at HOYS, and to do it first time in-hand is incredible.”

Two-year-old Tiger Cub won the Horse section and stood Reserve Champion. He is owned, bred and shown by William and Joanne Moran. Tiger Cub’s sire, Tiger Attack, was also bred by William and has been a Cuddy Supreme In-Hand contender three years running.

In his first season out, the youngster has stood Supreme at three shows and was champion at the Great Yorkshire Show. They qualified for HOYS at the Northern Ireland Festival.

William has been breeding horses for over 25 years. He landed his first Supreme In-Hand Championship triumph – winning the Horse section and overall Championship – with the late Broadstone Dolce Vita back in 2017.

The Cuddy Supreme In-Hand Championship has an extensive qualification route. Horses and ponies have to not only win their class but go overall in-hand champion of the respective show in order to qualify. Only one per show qualifies.


Fast track to victory for Harriet Nuttall

Take Your Own Line Champion, Harriet Nuttall riding Galway Bay Jed © Julian Portch

Harriet Nuttall secured her first ever international win at Horse of the Year Show in the Take Your Own Line class to round off a fabulous day of competition in the Andrews Bowen International Arena. Harriet who was crowned the 2019 British Showjumping Champion in August has been on fire this season and there is no stopping her yet. Riding the impressive 11-year-old chestnut gelding, Galway Bay Jed, Harriet was last to go in the jump off, having been the fastest of 12 combinations to jump clear in round one.

The class is an international competition which tests the riders’ skill and ingenuity. The first round is a set route which then permits all clear rounds through to the Take Your Own Line jump off, where they must jump seven fences, including one double, in the quickest time. The class allows horse and rider combinations to plot their own route to play to the horse’s strength and individual style.

There were several different routes attempted and Robert Whitaker took the lead early on in a time of 23.13 seconds riding Catwalk IV. A few riders were hot on his heels trying the same route and times were tight with each rider showing their competitive edge. Harriet was last to go giving her plenty of time to plot her way and she did not disappoint. Taking a completely new line, Harriet showed everyone how it should be done as she landed from the last fence to a roar of applause to finish in 23.03 seconds – one tenth of a second quicker than Robert. Not only does Harriet take the £5,750 prize money, but she also picks up Longines World Ranking points.

“I’m absolutely speechless!” exclaimed Harriet. “It’s my first time competing in the international classes here at HOYS and to come here and win is just incredible. Jed seems to like jumping indoors. I thought that going last would be a good thing, but instead I got quite confused watching the other riders’ lines and was contemplating taking the same route as Robert. In the end I decided to stick to my guns and if it worked it worked, and if it didn’t it didn’t. Luckily it did! It’s surreal to be honest; I’ve watched Horse of the Year Show since I was tiny and I’ve competed here fairly unsuccessfully on ponies, so this year is certainly going a lot better. I’m going to be saving him [Jed] now for the Grand Prix on Sunday night.”


An ‘out of this world performance’ to Celebrate 90 years of The Pony Club

Riders from the East Cheshire Hunt Pony Club lit up the Andrews Bowen International Arena to perform The Pony Club 90th Anniversary Musical Ride on Friday afternoon at the 2019 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). Bringing the atmosphere to life, the 20 riders ranging from 4 to 21 years-of-age performed a uniquely choreographed routine adorned in spectacular futuristic outfits with a theme of ’90 Years from Now’. Masterminded by Susan Goodridge and set to popular, space-age music compiled by husband Mark, it was a real highlight for spectators and supporters of The Pony Club.

Pony Club 90th Anniversary Musical Ride, East Cheshire Pony Club © 1st Class Images

Formed in 1929 and granted independent charitable status in 1997, the Pony Club is the biggest youth organisation in the world. With nearly 40,000 members in the UK and 340 branches. The Pony Club is dedicated to teaching young people to ride, care for horses and to develop into well-rounded members of society.

Throughout its 90-year history The Pony Club has been pivotal in producing an overwhelming majority of leading international riders, both past and present, with 11 out of 12 riders from the British Olympic team in Rio being Pony Club graduates. Numerous Horse of the Year Show winners have started their ridden career through The Pony Club, including John and Michael Whitaker as well as Nick Skelton. For these selected young riders who were lucky enough to be a part of the musical ride, they have marked their place in the history books for years to come.


Twinshock Warrior no longer the Bridesmaid

Catplant Group of Companies Ltd. Show Hunter of the Year Champion, Jayne Ross riding Twinshock Warrior © 1st Class Images

Twinshock Warrior is no longer the bridesmaid in the Catplant Group of Companies Ltd. Show Hunter of the Year Championship.

Last year’s Reserve Champion, Twinshock Warrior, landed the ultimate accolade in the Catplant Group of Companies Ltd. Show Hunter of the Year Championship at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

Jill Marsden’s seven-year-old heavyweight hunter gave producer Jayne Ross a fabulous ride in the Andrews Bowen International Arena.

Jayne said: “After going Reserve last year, it’s lovely to step up and win.”
Bernard, as he is known at home, also went Champion at the Royal International Horse Show [at Hickstead] this year. “It’s so different at Hickstead compared to here, but he kept his footing in the arena,” said Jayne. “It’s rare to find a big horse so balanced.”

Jill has owned Bernard since he was a three-year-old and added: “It’s not sunk in just yet! He was only a novice last year and to do the double [Royal International Horse Show and Horse of the Year Show] is so special.”

Bernard will go hunting a few times over the winter before coming in again ready for the 2020 show season.

Jill Day’s middleweight hunter Northern Pride stood Reserve with Rob Walker.

Winner of the lightweight class was Lucinda White’s Irish Sport Horse, Noble Queen Bee, ridden by Jasean Spraggett.

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