Van der Vaart Victorious

UK Ponies and Horses Spring Classic Show

Onley Grounds, Warwickshire, 19-20 March 2022

Lucy Richardson’s five times HOYS mini mountain and moorland champion, Thistledown Van der Vaart [Charles] proved his might once again by standing supreme of show. He was ridden by Lucy’s youngest daughter, Penny Richardson. Penny and Charles won the mountain and moorland lead rein class, led by Penny’s father, Mark, before going on to take the mini championship and overall supreme.

Charles (Maestir Valient x Thistledown Valencia) also won the open first ridden with Lucy’s eldest daughter, Lilly. It’s intended that Lilly will continue to contest the first ridden classes with Charles this year whilst Penny continues to enjoy showing him on the lead. Charles was formerly produced by Sharn Linney but he will be produced from home by the Richardsons for this season. Lucy said: “We will always be grateful for everything Sharn has done for us and Charles. Having been champion at HOYS five years times and winning the RIHS last year, he had nothing to prove so we just want to enjoy him”. She added, “Charles is one in a million, a character, a true child’s pony and a pleasure to do; he loves hacking at home and getting very muddy in the field”.

The family also enjoyed considerable success with their other ponies at UKP&H. Penny and the ever-charming Briar Snowman won the concours class in the evening, beating big sister Lilly and her section A, Elberry Suilen into second, only for Lilly and Suilen to go on to win the junior 122cm mountain and moorland working hunter pony class the following morning. Both sisters also won on Torres, with Penny wining the tiny tots show hunter pony and Lilly winning the first pony of hunter type.

Mandy Burchell Small’s Rowfantina Orlando Bloom took the first RIHS junior small breeds mountain and moorland class and junior championship on offer. The six-year-old Welsh section A was ridden by Mandy’s grandson, James Burchell, 9. Orlando Bloom is sired by Mandy’s former open ridden and stud stallion, Broekland Allessandro, who has gone on to have a successful career as a first ridden pony since being gelded. He is also a grandson of Rowfantina Old Fashioned, who was ridden by James’ uncle, Owen Small, to win at HOYS. The junior large breeds ridden class was won by Paul Davis’ Nipna Lavender Lady, ridden by Imogen Davis. Lavender and Imogen also went on to take the reserve junior mountain and moorland spot.

A Welsh section A also topped the second RIHS junior small breeds class. This time, it was Diana Leeming’s Thistledown San Siro under Diana’s daughter, Lucinda Leeming, 13. Lucinda and San Siro are familiar faces in the class, and won the UKP&H junior small breeds final at the RIHS in 2021. They were also the highest placed section A and junior award winners in the open Welsh sections A and B class, allowing Lucinda to graduate to the open junior championship, which she won. He also won the 2021 Pretty Polly home-produced first ridden and was Pretty Polly mini mountain and moorland champion under Lucinda’s younger brother, William, 10. William was not to be outdone by his big sister at the UKP&H Spring Classic, and stood top of the RIHS mountain and moorland first ridden. They were, however, beaten to the RIHS mountain and moorland mini championship by mother-daughter duo Sandy Wooderson and Madeline Haynes’ homebred Exmoor mare, Badleybridge Ab Fab [Molly]. Molly won the RIHS lead rein class under Jennifer Frost and led by Chrsitina Gillet.    

Our own Showing World columnist, Vicky Smith, made her season debut a winning one. She rode her partner, Alan Marnie’s Toberpatrick Boss [Baxter] to the RIHS cob championship. Alan fell in love with the eight-year-old lightweight cob when he saw him advertised by fellow producer, Robert Walker. He enjoyed a light but successful season last year, winning the novice cob class at Dublin, stood champion at BSHA Spring show, and bagging a HOYS ticket on his first attempt at the Great Yorkshire Show.

South Wales based producer, Sophie Curry, won both the novice and RIHS lightweight hunter class with Karren Burrows’ Redwood Surprise [Woody]. It was Sophie and Woody’s debut since he was purchased from Jill Day. “We can’t thank Christine Davies enough for pointing us in his direction,” said Sophie. She also produced Beverley Moore’s homebred Baylew Tiger Lily to win the novice intermediates under Megan-May Davies. Sophie also rode the Tiger Attack daughter to make her hack debut a winning one.

However, the hack tricolour was secured by Jayne Ross, who scored a hattrick of championships at the show. She partnered Linda Upton’s former BSPS Winter novice supreme, RIHS and HOYS placed, Whalton Reprise to the hack championship as well as Rose Bailey’s former RIHS champion and HOYS supreme, Twinshock Warrior to the heavyweight hunter class and the hunter championship. Jayne also produced Ballinameesda [Heidi] to win the small riding horse class and riding horse championship under Imogen Trice. Heidi was bred by Jane Bradbury and is owned by Imogen and her mother, Vicky Trice. She enjoyed a fantastic novice season last year, being placed at both RIHS and HOYS. “She gives the most fantastic ride and is a lovely horse to have around,” said Imogen. She added, “I only live twenty minutes away which means I get to ride regularly”. Heidi will also compete in large intermediate show riding type classes under Imogen’s younger sister, Lydia Trice.

Ami Miller and her own Awesome II [Paddy] won the RIHS coloured non-native horse class and coloured championship on their debut in the class. This triumphant return to form for Ami and Paddy was especially sweet as the pair suffered a disappointing setback last season when they measured out of the non-native pony class just weeks before HOYS. “He absolutely loves being in the ring and is such a pleasure to ride,” said Ami. Paddy is produced by Jo Bates, who also piloted Ami’s new hack, Shildons Plan B [Bart] to second place in the small hack class and the reserve spot in the hack championship. “We are really enjoying building a partnership with him,” said Ami, and “we are very much looking forward to the season ahead with him”.

Fellow Team Bates member, Katie Dashwood, also made a winning return to the showring with her own TB gelding, Minella Rebellion [Reg]. Former racehorse Reg was previously trained by Nicky Henderson but only truly found form when he made a career-switch to the showring. Last season, the pair won the supreme championship at the Jockey Club’s RoR championships in Aintree before going on to land the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse of the Year title at HOYS. Earlier this year they were also presented the RoR Elite Supreme Show Series Champion at the historic Jockey Club Rooms. 

Ross Keys and former RIHS winner, Dycott Welsh King booked their return ticket in the exceeding 143cm mountain and moorland working hunter pony class before going on to stand reserve champion mountain and moorland working hunter pony. Taking the championship was Vicki Casey riding her own reigning RIHS mountain and moorland working hunter pony champion and former ridden Connemara of the year, Frederiksminde Volcano [Barney].  “He leaves me speechless,” said Vicki,  “I never expected a win first time out!”


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