Meet the Teams Battling it out for Team of the Year

Team Holder

Team Holder’s nominations were clear: they ‘treat both kids and ponies as if they are their own’, and make sure that the children are having fun. ‘They make it fun and have a unique way of making their riders feel special, and teach the children values and sportsmanship’.  One nomination recalled: ‘At the RIHS, Gayle told the children, “If you get a white rosette, we have a box of coloured pens back at the lorry and you can colour the rosette in any colour you like”. The children who got white rosettes were then elated!’ With 18 qualified for the RIHS and combinations in seven classes at HOYS, that’s a lots of happy children! Their own were too difficult to pick as ‘every jockey and pony makes us proud’, but they did count watching 128cm Rotherwood Spring Rain at both the RIHS and HOYS after waiting on him to be ready for three years amongst them.

Team Cousins/ Gillett

Christina Gillett and Kevin Cousins are another team credited with always taking care of the children and ‘have such a lovely, kind way with the ponies’. Christina and and Kevin qualified 14 combinations for the RIHS and 11 at HOYS. The RIHS saw Christina lead Sandy Wooderson’s homebred Exmoor Badleybridge Ab Fab to win the lead rein mountain and moorland and mini championship. This is the third time that as a team, they have secured that championship. They also scored an enviable two seconds at HOYS; Thistledown Gingernut was second in the 122cm shp with Jessica McIntosh and Cosford Glamorize took the runner up spot under Penny Richardson in the lead rein class. “We’re focused on ponies and children being happy; that’s the priority,” said Christina.

Team Thompson

‘It’s the magic that is Gill,’ said one owner of Gill Thompson’s ability to bring on children and ponies. Last season, the team achieved the ultimate goal of standing supreme pony at HOYS with Roseberry Final Edition, but she’s not one to sit on her laurels, and was characteristically humble about her achievements in her recent Showing World interview. This season, the team took seven ponies to HOYS. ‘It was going to be very hard to beat 2021, but it’s been a consistent season,’ said Gill, citing watching four-year-old show pony Roseberry Picture Perfect winning the new class for 4-6-year-olds at the BSPS championships under Chloe Heathcote at only his fifth show as one of her highlights in a year of consistent performances across the board from her team.

Team Hillyard

With a clutch of ponies at HOYS, undoubtedly a highlight will have been Charlotte Tuck winning the 143cm show hunter pony of the year title with Romanno Romany Gypsy on their final showring appearance together. This was the seventh time for the team to take Gypsy to HOYS, with her standing consistently in the top three. ‘It was great to see her get her moment on the centre line,’ said Katie White. Charlotte also partnered Jamie’s Lad to second in the exceeding 143cm mountain and moorland working hunter pony at the RIHS. Although Katie was quick to note that ‘several’ of their ’young jockeys got their first ever HOYS ticket this year which is always a special moment for us as a team’. A team known for care and having a good time, from the nominations it sounds like nobody wants to go home from stay away shows with Team Hillyard, and they ‘make everybody feel like winners no matter the result’.

Team Helliwell

This Cumbrian based team have had another successful year, with one nomination citing Rachael Helliwell as ‘Queen of the Intermediates’ after both the champion intermediate show riding type and hunter type were both produced by her. There were Shildon’s Regal Gold ridden by Abbie Kirkbride and Briarhill Buddy Bolden ridden by Harriett Dennison respectively. The achievement is yet more impressive when you consider that both horses are in their first season. Past results include championships at the BSPS summer and winter championships, at Royal Windsor and supreme at the RIHS. MORE

Team KMP

You can always find a thriving clutch of quality natives at Katy Marriott Payne’s Northamptonshire base. But according to nominations, you can also find a ‘warm welcome, lots of fun and plenty of support’ for jockeys, nurturing young members through their first RIHS and HOYS experiences. Always a team to rally together, we even spotted them laughing off an unfortunate turn of events that saw them left without a lorry door at the NPS championships! They have also had a cracking run of results, building on the impressive three HOYS wins and the RIHS supreme native they had last year with a Windsor championship, a repeat RIHS win and a Royal Welsh win. Perhaps most special of all was a poignant win at HOYS for Dartmoor stallion Salcombe Starehole Bay.

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