Four Fantastic Workers, and Four More Jockeys off to HOYS for the First Time!

12-year-old Musburry Contessa (Tess) will be accompanying Holly Bignell, 13, for her first spin around the HOYS arena. Tess was purchased from breeder Anne Holt by the Taylor family, who asked Holly to ride Tess for some sales videos. “Holly fell in love with her so we bought her,” said Victoria, Holly’s mum. “They have literally done everything together from PC camp to hunting, beach trips, PC regional championships and British Eventing under 18 youth championships.” Holly and Tess have also competed at the RIHS in the PP show hunter pony and nursery stakes classes. Tess also regularly volunteers alongside Victoria for their local RDA group. “Tess lives at home with us and holly does everything herself, getting up at 5.30 to muck out and ride before school. They are also off to LIHS in December. This year has been an absolute dream to qualify for HOYS.” The pair realised that dream when they secured their plaited 133cm ticket at NPS Area 7, and then won the mountain and moorland equivalent at the TSR Show. When asked what she’s most looking forwards to, Holly said, “ just all of it!”

Grace Morton, 10, and Rygar Teddy Baloo won the junior mountain and moorland working hunter pony qualifier and the WHP title at the NPS summer championship show, booking Grace’s first HOYS trip. Grace and Teddy Baloo have won recently at some practice shows including taking supreme at Norton District riding club show and securing Grace’s first RIHS ticket in the open 122cm mountain and moorland working hunter pony class at the NPS Performance Show. Owned by Grace’s mum, Jo Kettleborough., Teddy Baloo, who had previously hunted, has been with the family for two years having been bought when spotted on a social media website. “He was purchased unseen, and we picked him up on the A1,” said Jo. “He’s done a bit of everything, but this is our first year of showing,” added Jo, who runs a riding school in Lincoln.

Ruby Chalker has worked hard to secure two HOYS tickets with her working hunter ponies. “It was her dream to ride her own pony at HOYS and we have been granted with that wish this year,” said Ruby’s mum, Lucy. Her first ride will be astride Exmoor pony Anchor Lullaby (Lulu) who joined the Chalkers in March 2022. Her season last year was cut short when she a nasty virus meant she needed four months off to recover. This year, they qualified for the RIHS on their season debut and finished sixth at the final shortly after they qualified for HOYS at the Scottish Horse Show. “We just couldn’t believe it,” said Lucy. Ruby’s ride will be Llanai Renaissance (Rio). Their ticket to the 133cm working hunter pony class was courtesy of the TSR Wildcard. Welsh section B Rio was purchased by Lucy in April 2021. “He came to us having done very few unaffiliated shows. Ruby has spent so much time building his trust. We have taken it steady with him and he has repaid us with an RIHS qualification and HOYS wildcard! Rio has taught her so much and progressed her riding unbelievably. He is her heart pony and it means the world to us that they are able to go to HOYS. Both ponies are only seven years old and their best is certainly yet to come but I am unbelievably proud what they have achieved as well as Ruby.” HOYS will be Ruby’s last competition with both, “which makes it even more special.”

Ellis Priestley has owned Connemara Blakehill Rebel for three years and has brought him on herself. This year, the pair qualified for the RIHS in the 143cm mountain and moorland working hunter pony class and later qualified for HOYS at the National Pony Society Championships. “I have tried to qualify for many years,” said Ellis, adding, “I did my first qualifier on the lead rein at four years old and I’m now 28, narrowly missing my ticket on several occasions so I am thrilled to have finally qualified! I’m most looking forward to competing at HOYS with its incredible atmosphere; Mum and I go every year to watch and every year we say, ‘next year we will qualify,’ so I’m so excited to finally be able to ride there as it’s been my dream for as long as I can remember!”

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