Five Patchy Ponies and Horses Taking Their Jockeys to HOYS for the First Time

Five days to go means five more off to HOYS for the first time! This time, it’s five gorgeous coloured horses and ponies….

Frankie Bell and Perllandu Lyrical Interlude (Minstrel) will be heading to the NEC to compete in the SEIB Search for a Star cob final. Minstrel is produced from the family’s Northumberland farm. “I’ve had a lot of fun over the past seven years with him,” said Frankie, “he’s a true all-rounder; we compete locally in elementary dressage, side-saddle, riding club events and hunt as well as showing.

Recently we decided to step up a level and try some HOYS qualifiers, where much to my surprise we won our cod class at Arena UK in August. I never bought him to do this job he’s just turned into a horse of a lifetime.” Whilst Frankie is excited to ride “performer” Minstrel and make a “dream come true” by riding at HOYS, it will be extra special for the family. “My mum’s terminally ill so she can’t ride anymore and she used to hack him out all the time. So, I’m just so grateful she’s here to see us compete there.”

Harry Hibbert qualified Sonidors Edith’s Pride will be joining the CHAPS UK Non native horse lineup.  Homebred Edith is named after Harry’s late grandmother as he was due on her birthday eight years ago, Harry explained. The pair qualified on “home turf” at The Great Yorkshire Show  – “my favourite show” – to raucous applause! Harry is now looking forward to his “family and friends blowing the roof off the NEC! And to looking round and seeing my mother’s face as we ride round the arena of dreams”.

Mia Whittaker will be having a busy first HOYS! Not only will she be riding 133cm mountain and moorland working hunter pony Halliwell Sian, she’ll also be riding Wards Place Photogenic (Flossy). The pair proved picture perfect to take the coloured non-native pony class and section championship at the Royal Highland Show. Flossy is owned by breeder Janet Hindley, and produced by Karl Morris’s team. “She is one that likes to keep me on my toes in the saddle,” said Mia, “but I just love her; I could ride her all day.” Flossy arrived with Karl and his team just before Christmas 2022. Mia and Flossy are unbeaten in their class this year, winning their first RIHS qualifier at NCPA Lancs, before going on to win at Royal Windsor and the 2024 RIHS qualifier at Cheshire. When asked what she’s most looking forwards to, Mia answered: “just enjoying riding both the girls in the ring. I’ve been for a few years grooming working in other ponies for people etcetera, but never actually had my own to compete. I’ve worked so hard with both girls to qualify them, so I just want to enjoy it and any results are a bonus. And Kit Kat toasties!”

Shetland pony Briar Puzzle and tiny rider Alexia Lilley have two finals to contest at HOYS. They will be competing in both the mountain and moorland lead rein and first ridden classes.

“Whilst the lead rein ticket is so special to me, so I can share those special memories of HOYS with my daughter from inside the ring,” said mum, Amy, “words cannot really describe the feeling when she won her first ridden ticket at the August Stoneleigh Horse Show and stood mini champion! It was a moment to be remembered forever! This time is was all down to her, all her hard work, her dedication and passion which came through in that moment of success!” 

“Pony mad” Alexia is just five years old but has been competing off the lead since she was a tiny three-year-old at the local Pony Club show with her other Shetland, Pinglewood Pascha, and almost secured a HOYS ticket last season.

“The plan for Puzzle this year really was on the lead rein, and early June they managed to book their first ride in the arena of dreams at the Scottish Horse Show,” explained Amy. “This gave them time to focus on their first ridden which they had been perfecting at home! They had been progressing so quickly, from early spring sending her into a novice first ridden class with my heart in my mouth, to mid-summer cantering around in the open classes with the big boys! Win or lose I could not be more proud of Alexia, who still looks so tiny in this class, but she comes into her own when riding solo, she tries so hard to master every skill she needs to stand out in strong competition and she shines so brightly!”

Penrock Perfect Puzzle (Portia) made Megan Champney’s dreams of HOYS qualification a reality when she qualified for the non-native coloured pony class at New Forest and Hampshire Show.

After her older pony Harry retired, Megan and her mum started looking for another coloured pony. They spotted an advert for a three-year-old filly and messaged breeder Michelle Findlay. The rest is history and Portia joined the family. “She spent the winter at my Mum’s before joining me on the Isle of Wight where I live, in the Spring of 2021”. Things were going well, the pair standing champion at Windsor 2022, but disaster struck at the Royal Isle of Wight County Show. Megan explained: “I was working in my other pony Stuart, when I saw my horsebox shaking from side to side. Portia was halfway over the partition. I climbed in the lorry, lifted her leg back over and suddenly she jumped again, trapping me, and was hanging upside down with her legs stuck over the partition. Portia fell out the horsebox, through the jockey door and landed on the floor in a heap. Immediately I knew it was bad and there was blood everywhere”. Portia had multiple cuts on her legs, had partially degloved one hind leg, and badly cut her eye.

Portia didn’t break anything, but did have 14 stitches down her face, 16 staples along one leg, and multiple stitches in the other. Against all the odds, Portia made a full recovery and went on to qualify on home turf at her second attempt. “It was my first time qualifying for HOYS and to do it on home soil with all our friends and Portia’s breeder watching made it all the more special. I can’t wait to go to HOYS and ride Portia under those lights, I’ve spent years going watching from the sidelines and now, little me, from the deepest darkest Isle of Wight, is going to be going into that ring!”

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