Thursday 28th of October 2021

Young Riders get underway at BS National Championships

© 1st Class Images

© 1st Class Images

Oxfordshire’s Oliver Fletcher gets his second win in the Squibb Group Pony Foxhunter Masters

There was a phenomenal display of talent in the HOYS qualifier, Squibb Group Pony Foxhunter Masters and it was another well-deserved win for Oliver Fletcher aboard his eight year old bay gelding, The Bobster. Son of show jumpers Graham and Tina Fletcher, Oliver tackled the technical course with great care and was one of eight riders through to the jump off. He commented:

“It was a tricky course and was really up to height but I can trust Bobster to jump clear. I’ve produced him myself since he was five and he is now seven. I’m really excited about taking him to HOYS, he’s a very talented pony.”

Oliver has all of his ponies competing here this weekend so there’s no doubt this is not the last we will see of him. In second place was Anouk Mauree riding Westerveld Flroijn and in third was Serena Kullich riding Kilcurry Dawn.

Cambridgeshire’s Jessica Howard takes the Haygain Pony Discovery Championship

Aboard her beautiful nine year old grey gelding Rocky Robin I, Jessica Howard from Cambridge took the spoils ahead of 81 other combinations. In a large jump off class, it was all to play for and times were extremely close at the top of the leader board. However, Jessica put in some tight turns and there was a great partnership to be seen between her and her pony.

“I just knew I had to risk it all if I wanted to make the time, there was no other way, we just had to go for it!”

Jessica who is just 13 years old, is no stranger to championship classes having recently been crowned Pony of the Year Novice Grand Prix champion at Bury Farm Equestrian Village in June, also riding Rocky Robin, owned by Claire Darwin. Next year the combination hopes to move up to Newcomers and to qualify for Horse of the Year Show.

In second place was Mia Gill riding Sunset Saphire and coming in third was Alexandria Hands riding Sliabh Lan John Joe.

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© 1st Class Images

Essex’s Emilia Mitchell wins Waddesdon Stud National 138cm Championship Final

The winner of the National 138cm Championship Final, kindly sponsored by Waddesdon Stud in Aylesbury, was 13 year old Emilia Mitchell from Essex riding Shaman Sundance, a 13 year old gelding. Emilia did an amazing and clever thought out back turn to the second to last fence which was a big oxer and it was that winning turn that gave her the time of 32.16. Speaking of her win, Emilia commented:

“In the first round I felt as though I was holding him back too much so in the jump off I just let him go and we really went for it.”


Emilia and Biggles as he is fondly known at home have been a combination since October and this is the biggest win they have had so far.

In second place was Madison Heath riding Sonas Barney, third was Tahnia Jordan-Jones riding Oakhurst in the Spotlight. The National Championship Final is the culmination of qualifiers which take place around the country. To make it to the Championship is a fantastic achievement for all of these junior riders. 

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© 1st Class Images

Lancashire’s Drew Walton storms to victory in the National 148cm Championship Final

Drew Walton proudly rose to the occasion in the National 148cm Championship Final on board Kerri Walton’s 14 year old grey mare, Tequila Twist. The 15 year old from Preston in Lancashire was one of just four riders through to the jump off and made the most of her last year on ponies showing expertise beyond her years as she navigated her way around a tight and up to height jump off course pushing Sophie Bowen Howard into second place with Quincy V. 

This Championship Final had HOYS qualifiers up for grabs which went to first and second place. Drew is no stranger to Horse of the Year Show having  been every year since she was seven years old, making this her eighth year in a row; quite an achievement for a rider so young.

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© 1st Class Images

A well-deserved win for Northamptonshire’s Tom Francis-Jones in the National 128cm Championship Final

As the only double clear in a class of 30 competitors, Tom had a well-deserved win riding Major Jack, a grey gelding. The course proved extremely testing, particularly down the treble, and it was all about technique rather than speed in the jump-off, which was between four riders. 

As other competitors tried to storm into the lead, they may have got a slightly quicker time but Tom was the only one not to get a pole down, finishing in a time of 38.13. In second place was Claudia Moore riding Peppino Il Grande, third place was Rosie Collins riding Bradmore Mystique coming in fourth place was Alena Hughes riding Mathews Girl.

© 1st Class Images

© 1st Class Images

Kent’s Elloise Smit wins the Pony Restricted rider 1.10m Championship Final

Out of the six riders through to the jump off in this strong class, 13 year old Elloise Smit was one of two riders to jump clear riding her 14 year old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Newtown Samson, making their trip to the show from Maidstone in Kent well worth the journey. Newton Samson, known at home as Sam, is a very experienced pony who Elloise has been riding for eight months and they have already qualified for six championships this year. She said:

“It’s such an amazing feeling to have won, I’m so excited! This time last year we were only doing 70cm”

Runners up in the class were Serena Kullich riding Kilcurry Dawn and  Sophie Lewns riding Rutland Red Alert, second and third respectively.

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