s. Kirtling-Tam-O’Shanter d. Millfields Solitaire

The legendary Connemara Millfields Sportsman was put to sleep in the arms of his owner of the last 20 years, Lucy Heygate (nee Cook), at her family farm on the 18th March 2020. It was a day of great sadness and tears for the whole family, with Lucy’s father Paul Cook, sister Alice Morley, her husband William and friend Eleanor Lyttle present to offer support and say goodbye.

Chubby, as he was affectionately known, had recently won two dressage tests with over 70%, making the bout of colic more upsetting. Bred by Anne Rolinson who sadly passed away some weeks before made this more poignant. She had become a family friend and always kept in touch with his many successes.

Bought by Lucy’s father Paul Cook from Pearl Underwood who often commented he won more than he ever cost! He was Lucy’s pony of a lifetime, bought just before her 14th birthday. Only 13.2hh he was a pony with lots of scope, pony characteristics, very correct conformation, with lovely paces and movement, he epitomised the best of his breed, a true Connemara pony.

He was the most genuine pony who always gave his best, ears forward he never once let Lucy down in the years they rode and competed together. They were a pleasure to watch, so happy, in perfect harmony together, giving the whole family so much joy over 20 years. His showing record was second to none, not only in results but longevity. Never shod, his limbs showed no wear and tear, his whole life a tribute to his conformation and the way he was looked after.

He won nearly every major honour, the two titles that eluded him were HOYS where he qualified eight years running. He was always placed, his best results being 2nd and 3rd, and Olympia where he qualified in the ridden mountain and moorland and SSADL several times. He won numerous Junior titles at the NPS, BCPS and PUK where he was Dalkeith champion. He won most major County shows, including winning the HOYS Connemara and New Forest class at the Royal Show three years running.

They won the Kingsford Novice Championship and later the Open Kingsford Championship at PUK. THE BSPS Heritage Supreme and one year every class and Championship he entered. He won numerous classes and championships at the BCPS Breed Show and was ridden champion on more than one occasion. His name engraved on many trophies, many times. He won the RIHS twice. The first time when all large breeds were together before the class was split. Placed each time going well and gaining such good marks. Lucy decided never to take him back again as she could never replicate that feeling.

After he retired from top class showing and between having her two children, Lucy competed in senior showing classes, qualifying for Olympia every year she entered. He was Supreme at the SSADL Championship Show. Only last year he won an enormous class at Royal Windsor for the second time, qualifying for Olympia again, also winning Royal Berkshire and the members championship at the SSADL at the age of 23. He lived every moment!

But that was only half story. Lucy loved riding him, hacking out together, never has a pony been looked after or cared for so well. Lucy loved and adored him and he did likewise. They had an affinity, he was her best friend and if upset she was often found talking to him in his stable and he listened to her every word. He was at her wedding and moved to her new home on the farm, where he had a stable outside the back door and could be seen from the kitchen window. Always having a kiss at bedtime! He lived with Lucy’s sisters retired coloured champion as his friend and companion.

He now rests in peace on the farm where Lucy can visit him. What a pony!

Paul Cook