The 128cm Championship
Amy Morris made the long journey from Scotland exceptionally worthwhile as she launched Sunday’s action at Horse of the Year Show with a fine victory in the 128cm Pony Championship.
Amy, who is from the Borders, guided 14-year-old black mare Madonna to an emphatic victory at the Genting Arena in Birmingham. She was joined in the jump-off by just one other combination – Aimee Jones and Koda – from 22 starters. With Aimee clocking a time of 50.14 seconds, the pressure was then on Amy to deliver, but she produced a stylish performance, going clear in 45.80 seconds.
“It is an amazing feeling,” said 12-year-old Amy. “I qualified both of my ponies at the same qualifier in May, and I have been really looking forward to coming here. I didn’t want to go too fast in in the jump-off in case I had a pole down, and she jumped really well. I am delighted.
The Stable Company 138cm Pony Championship
Madison Heath added another title to her growing collection when she won The Stable Company 138cm Pony Championship at Horse of the Year Show. The 12-year-old from Nantwich in Cheshire guided Sonas Barney (the 2015 138cm Horse of the Year Show champion with Nicole Lockhead-Anderson) to a high-class victory.
Five combinations from 19 starters made it through to the jump-off, and it was Jake Myers on The Agent that set the pace, clocking 35.48 seconds, but the stage was set for Madison to take charge, and she delivered in style by posting a time of 33.60 seconds.
“I am really proud,” she said. “I knew he could do it because he won here two years ago with Nicole. I always feel confident with his pony – he is amazing. I was so determined to win – I wasn’t going to take second for an answer – and I am so happy that I actually managed to do it.”
A win for John Whitaker in the Horse & Country TV Challenge Cup
John Whitaker completed an outstanding double at the 2017 Horse of the Year Show by thrilling a bumper Sunday afternoon crowd at Birmingham’s Genting Arena. The 62-year-old Yorkshireman, who has won numerous medals for Great Britain in major showjumping championships, followed up his victory in Friday’s NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes by landing The Horse & Country TV Challenge Cup.
The two-phase competition sees riders contest the second part of the course in jump-off mode, and it proved to be an exciting battle between John and his fellow in-form British rider Helen Tredwell.
“It’s great to win here,” John said. “He jumped really well. I was fourth to go. Helen Tredwell was quick enough, and there was an option of an inside turn to the last gate, which was risky, but I realised I had to do if I wanted to beat Helen, and it came off.
“The horse is still improving. He is nine-years-old so he hasn’t got much experience and is not quite used to this atmosphere with this fantastic crowd, but he is such a good horse. To win on Friday was exceptional, and to do it again is great, so I am really pleased.”
It’s deja vu as Diamonds are Forever does it again
After another stellar performance in the Topham Barnes Riding Horse of the Year, reigning champion Diamonds are Forever III wasn’t ready to give up the Championship title at this year’s Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). The eight-year-old Warmblood owned by Annabel Jenks took the honours after securing the Large Riding Horse section earlier in the day with Allister Hood.
Fresh from his win on Our Cashel Blue in The Colosso Family Cob of the Year Championship yesterday, Allister said:
“He [Diamonds are Forever III] was wonderful in there. He never misses a beat.”
By Diamond Hit, Diamonds are Forever III has been unbeaten in every class for the last two seasons, which Allister said “in this day and age, is quite phenomenal.” He continued: “He just oozes charisma… He draws you to him and then you just want to look at him.”
A magic ending for Kativa Dumbledore in The Binks Family Show Hunter Pony of the Year
A four year partnership hit an all-time high on the final morning of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) when Tierney Mckinnon rode Dawn Weston’s grey gelding Kativa Dumbledore to victory in The Binks Family Show Hunter Pony of the Year Championship.
The combination won the largest height section of the Championship, the 153cm, earlier in the day – a title they last claimed in 2015, but this year went one better to add the esteemed overall Championship title to their record.
Described by Tierney as “the kindest horse”, Kativa Dumbledore has had a fairly quiet year qualifying for the Royal International first time out and for HOYS at Mid-Herts County Show.
Tierney explained that the horse’s biggest strength was his ride and the way he goes: “You literally just sit there and smile,” she laughed.
The Zinc Management Speed Horse of the Year
Leicestershire’s Holly Smith once again underlined the versatility of Quality Old Joker as she won the Zinc Management Speed Horse of the Year title at the Horse of the Year Show.
The nine-year-old bay gelding’s career also shows success at two-star grand prix level and in last year’s Horse of the Year Show puissance. Now a prestigious speed class has been added to the portfolio, together with a prize of £4,620.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” Holly said. “I am thrilled with the horse.
“He is a massive horse and he is so versatile. He was third in the Hickstead Derby this year, he has won a two-star grand prix, he can win a speed class, a puissance. He can do anything.
“To win this and to have shared in winning a class earlier this week is great. We have got some of the best riders in the world here, and it’s great to be jumping against them.”
Doorleys Prince makes impressive comeback to win the Coloured Horse and Pony of the Year Championship Sponsored by CHAPS (UK)
In only his fourth ever ridden show, Martin Wood’s five-year-old Irish Sport Horse Doorleys Prince scooped the prestigious Coloured Horse and Pony of the Year Champion title on the final day of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
Martin bought the Skewbald gelding, who is by Flash out of Doorleys Pride, from Ireland. After being successfully shown in hand as a three and four-year-old, Doorleys Prince unfortunately missed out on most of last season after being kicked in the field by another horse. He has been to just two shows this year with Simon Charlesworth before HOYS.
Describing the win as “magic”, Simon explained that the youngster got a little tense in the arena but that he “learns from it.” He said: “He’s got the best brain you could wish for and will bust a gut for you.”
Junior Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony of the Year Championship sponsored by Ponies Association (UK)
Beverley Malim’s Catriona of Meggernie took the honours in the Junior Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony of the Year Championship sponsored by Ponies Association (UK) on day five of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) fresh from her victory in the NPS/Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Highland Pony of the Year.
The six-year-old was bred up in the Highlands at Meggernie Stud and she is by the stud’s own stallion Noah of Meggernie. Produced by showing supremo Jayne Ross, the mare is in her first full season and was ridden by Alice Homer in the ring.
Bella Malim, Beverley’s daughter, said: “She went really well and Alice rode her beautifully.” She continued: “She’s such a good girl; the most uncomplicated pony.”
Virbac 3D Worming Pony Club Mounted Games – Prince Philip Cup Final
The Bedfordshire-based Oakley Hunt West landed the prestigious Prince Philip Cup for a ninth time at Horse of the Year Show on Sunday. It was an emphatic victory for one of the event’s most prolific winners as five days’ competition in the Virbac 3D Worming Pony Club Mounted Games reached a conclusion.
Oakley Hunt West were 24 points clear of their nearest rivals, with West Hants and the Eglington finishing joint-second on 99 points, while Romney Marsh took fourth.
The event once again showcased all that is great about The Pony Club, providing thrilling sport for bumper crowds and parading some thrilling riding talent.
Woodhouse Miss Dynamite no longer the ‘bridesmaid’
Woodhouse Miss Dynamite claimed the Shire Horse of the Year Championship supported by the Shire Horse Society and Field Equine Vets on the final night of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). The homebred mare secured owner Martin Fountain’s second consecutive success in the Championship.
Last year’s Champion, Woodhouse Calender Girl, had also qualified for the Championship with Martin, but unfortunately went lame earlier in the week. Tonight was the turn of Woodhouse Miss Dynamite to take the spoils.
“She really came into her own today,” said Martin, who explained that the mare had been “the bridesmaid” to Woodhouse Calender Girl on occasion.
Multiple HOYS Champion Thistledown Van-Der-Vaart reigns Supreme Pony of the Year
The 12 Champion ponies from across the week here at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) were picture perfect in the Andrews Bowen International Arena as final decisions were made for who would be crowned the Ruckleigh School Supreme Pony of the Year Champion.
In the end it was Lucy Richardson’s fabulous mountain & moorland lead rein pony, Thistledown Van-Der-Vaart, who was victorious. Ridden by Olivia Brightmore, ‘Charles’ is produced, and shown in the ring, by Sharn Linney.
A consistent Champion in the Brineton Colne Mountain & Moorland Mini Pony of the Year, this was the eight-year-old Welsh Section A’s third appearance in the Supreme Pony of the Year, so it really was third time lucky!
“I’m lost for words, he was a star,” said Sharn on exiting the arena. “He just loves an atmosphere.”
“He’s won at every major show and he’s such a character as well.”
Diamonds are Forever III reigns Supreme at Horse of the Year Show 2017
Annabel Jenks’ Champion Riding Horse, Diamonds are Forever III, stood Ripon Select Foods Supreme Horse of the Year Champion on the final night of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
The unbeaten eight-year-old won the Topham Barnes Riding Horse of the Year Championship earlier in the day with Allister Hood, but the ride was given to Allister’s son Oliver for the Supreme, while Allister kept the ride on last year’s Supreme Champion, Our Cashel Blue.
“I’m over the moon; he’s a superstar of a horse and we’re very lucky to have him,” said a delighted Oliver. “It’s special every time we win and this is my first Supreme, so that makes it extra special.”
Although Allister had the ride here in the Large Riding Horse, Oliver also does a lot of work back at home with the Warmblood gelding.
Reflecting on the winning performance, Oliver said: “I just tried to enjoy him but there was a bit of pressure!” he smiled. “He has big paces that you can use to your strength.”
Allister added: “It’s amazing. I’m thrilled for the whole team and for Olly to have had this opportunity.” It’s been a cracking week for the Hood team with both Diamonds are Forever III and Our Cashel Blue successfully defending their Champion titles from 2016.
Nigel Coupe crowned the Leading Showjumper of the Year 2017
Nigel Coupe hailed his horse with “a heart of gold” after completing a spectacular treble on the final evening at Horse of the Year Show, Birmingham’s NEC Genting Arena. Golvers Hill, a 14-year-old bay gelding that once competed as a working hunter at HOYS, took the Leading Showjumper of the Year grand prix title.
John Whitaker had set a brilliant time of 38.88 seconds with Argento, which left Nigel no choice but to do it the hard way. Clocking 38 seconds exactly, Nigel landed the £13,200 top prize, with Robert Smith and Ilton finishing third.
It proved a pulsating finish to a memorable five days of action at the Genting Arena, but it was Lancashire-based Nigel’s night following a finale to savour.
“It’s amazing,” Nigel said. “I first came here in 1986, and we won the leading pony class in 1987, and finally to win the big one here is amazing. He is a top, top horse. He has just got a heart of gold, and there is not a lot more you can say about him. You have got to have a go in the jump-off, but you should also pinch yourself a little bit. We work hard, and this year we have had an exceptional year. He is a horse that just doesn’t get fazed.”
Despite being bumped to second in the grand prix class, John Whitaker took the Leading Athlete Award which was presented to the horse/rider combination who had accumulated the most points throughout the show.