Meet The Magical Mountain and Moorland Ponies Hoping to secure Native Pony of the Year

Greenholme Falcon

Known as Dan to his friends, Greenholme Falcon is owned by Victoria Oliver and ridden by daughter Chantelle Chapman. He is described as a ‘therapy pony’ for the family, having been a constant and quiet emotional support for them in a tough year. He’s also willing to turn on the charm in the showing. A former Search For a Star winner, he is super-versatile. Last season he qualified for the RIHS in the mountain and moorland working hunter pony final at Royal Windsor, as well as taking a ticket to HOYS in the junior ranks. This year, Dan and Chantelle won a massive junior mountain and moorland large breeds class at Derbyshire Festival before going on to win the final and take champion.

Woodbank Smokey Sam

This talented Connemara started his career as a flat pony, qualifying for Olympia and thrice for HOYS. Since his subsequent sale to current owner Cheryl Mackintosh, Sam and rider Kirsty Aird have formed a formidable partnership in the 143cm mountain and moorland working hunter pony class. This year, they have been on wonderful form, winning the RIHS and standing champion, then winning the final at HOYS. 2022 marked the second time for Sam to have won both at HOYS and Hickstead, having also won HOYS in 2018 and taken reserve at the RIHS in 2019. He booked his return to HOYS at the Royal Highland earlier in June. Like several other finalists, Sam retired from top level showing at HOYS.

Griseburn Major

A pony just at the beginning of his career, Griseburn Major was awarded the Mountain and Moorland of the Year titile under co-owner Joe Watson. The five-year-old Dales stallion is sired by Wolsey Viking and is out of Tarbarl Kate Moss. He was bred by Cumbrian breeders Helen and Andrew Horn. Joe and co-owner Rob McIvor purchased him as a raw, unbroken and unshown three-year-old. This season, he has been lightly shown, winning at NCPA and qualifying at the North of England show, but belied his lack of milage with a precisely executed show. He went on to give an excellent account of himself in the evening championship, where his colour, hair and type made him a true eyeful under the lights.

Shilstone Rocks Thunderbird

The first of HOYS’ mini classes, the Colne Mountain and Moorland lead rein class saw last year’s champion come to the fore and ultimately, repeat his 2021 feat. This was Brogan West’s Dartmoor gelding Shilstone Rocks Thunderbird, ridden by Brogan’s daughter Willow West, and led by producer John Harvey. The 12-year-old from was purchased from Cheryl Elcock for Willow after Brogan saw him advertised on Facebook during the pandemic, and a true child’s pony, he is ridden and prepared for the ring by Willow.

Thistledown San Siro

Here’s a pony with little need for introduction. Diana Leeming’s Thistledown San Siro, or Rocky had a brilliant 2021 and an even more fabulous 2022. Rocky had qualified for no less than three HOYS classes with his young riders, Lucinda and William Leeming, and went on to win the open Welsh section A class under Lucinda. After an incredible season in 2021 which saw both riders win a class each at the Royal International, Rocky won an amazing further three firsts and a mini championship at the 2022 RIHS, as well as multiple classes and championships across the country from Cheshire to Three Counties and the NPS Summer Championships. A truly versatile little pony, the 11-year-old Blackhill Piccolo gelding has also been giving workers, PC and mounted games a shot over the last year!

Skaergaardens Delicious Love

What a mare Vanessa Clark’s Skaergaardens Delicious Love is! 10-year-old Connemara Delicious was bred in Denmark by Brigitte Gotske, by Wirtsmuhle Delaney’s out of Skaergardens Secret Love.  She is no stranger to the limelight having stood 2017 mountain and moorland ridden champion at HOYS under former owner Kelly Jones, and 2021 RIHS overall reserve champion mountain and moorland under Jo Jack. She was also crowned supreme champion mountain-and-moorland in-hand at Windsor last season year shown by Henry Hird. This season, Delicious was the first native to take a Price Family Supreme ticket, doing so at Notts County shown by Scott Dixon with her foal by Clover Hill Magic at foot. She is one of few Connemara mares to qualify for the supreme in hand final at HOYS. Nevertheless, she went on to win this year and then stood reserve champion.

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