Handler of the Year: Meet the finalists

Tom Clark

Tom is a ‘passionate and enthusiastic handler’ and despite not producing the animals himself, he ‘knows how to get the best out of each animal he handles,’ according to his owners. He did his ‘apprenticeship with Colin Tibbey’ and is now considered to be a versatile showman with many different types and breeds. This year, he has won an incredible 48 wins, 17 championships and yet more reserves and youngstock championships, including at Royal Windsor, Royal Cornwall and Devon County.

Katie White

According to her owners, young producer Katie is ‘passionate about encouraging children and they always look like they are having fun,’ an important skill in ‘building young riders’ confidence’. Katie and team have had a quieter season than usual this year as the team were unable to compete on the Saturday at HOYS due to close connection to judges. Nevertheless, Katie has notched up some great results and she was able to lead cousin Emily for the first time in the mountain and moorland lead rein class with Thistledown Hideaway Harry, finishing third, having won the Hickstead Derby Meet earlier in the summer. Former highlights include standing second at RIHS and reserve champion at HOYS with Thistledown Velvet Touch and champion at Windsor with Seamoor Lady Derby.

Shane Rogers

Shane has had a superb season both with his own ponies and those of his owners. Championships were scored at several high profile shows including Royal Windsor, Herts County, Midland Counties, the National Welsh show. Shane also realised two ambitions. He won the section C broodmare class at the Royal Welsh with Rhian Roberts’ Rhencullen …. After countless seconds at the show, and he also scored his first ever ticket to the Price Family Supreme championship at HOYS with Jane Laffey’s Rotherwood Firefox.

Daniel Tarpey

Despite breaking his leg last September and enduring four subsequent visits to surgery under the constant fear he would lose his leg, Daniel has hit the 2022 with vigour! Highlights include mountain and moorland supreme champion at Kent county, reserve supreme at the Royal Welsh with Shetland stallion Rhandolf of Catchpool. He was also BMHS HOYS champion, qualifying for HOYS at the spring breed show before going on to stand fourth in the BMHS final. A versatile handler, he also led Harry Joslin to eighth place in the show pony lead rein final at HOYS.

James Knipe

What a summer James Knipe has had leading his daughter Millie Knipe on Derw Dream Boy! James led Millie, five, and their own five-year-old gelding to stand champion at Royal Cheshire County Show qualifying for HOYS, before going on to stand overall supreme at the BSPS summer championships and mini champion at HOYS. James and wife Jade produce ….. from home, juggling preparation around full-time work.

Craig Eleanor A long-standing familiar face in lead rein and in hand classes, Craig has had yet another highly successful season. Not least, he led Dartmoor gelding Springwater Tactician and his young rider Finlay Clay to stand champion at Great Yorkshire, second and reserve mini mountain and moorland champion at the RIHS and they were also second at HOYS. Craig also led Finlay to second in the lead rein hunter pony class at HOYS with Cadlanvalley Super Ted after the trio qualified at Royal Three Counties show. Craig also led Thistledown Harper Royale to several championships throughout the year, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the Price Family Supreme in hand final.

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