Vote For A Qualifying Story

1.Macy Dugdale and Lokie

This is my 2nd season with Lokie & I was meant to compete at Midland County Show buy my mum was taken into hospital unexpected and was in there for just under a week.  My mum arranged with my instructor to take me to Derbyshire for our Hoys class and she even managed to come along.  Apart from my weekly lessons I do everything myself and Lokie is my horse of a lifetime she simply is the best.  20 in the class and I was pulled in 6th in the go around, the individual show was quite hard but decided to give it my best shot.  I was very nervous but put nerves to one side and myself & Lokie did a foot perfect show – when they read out the results I couldn’t believe it that was my number 22 I had won and qualified for HOYS I was so excited to come from 6th to winning the class, next was the championship and I was still on a high from winning my class we gave it our best shot and got rewarded with Reserve Championship.  I am so excited and looking forward to HOYS it really is a dream comes true.

2.Tom Pearson and Collstone Mastermind

Qualified for the Horse of the Year Show 2018 Cuddy Supreme In Hand Championship at NCPA Derbyshire Festival on Saturday 9th June 2018. Tom Pearson works so incredibly hard and is so dedicated… It could not have happened to a more deserving Person! Tom Pearson is only 19 Years Old and he puts everything in to the Ponies he Produces… at NCPA Derbyshire Festival was the very first Cuddy Qualifier that he had competed in and he only went and took Champion with Collstone Mastermind and Qualified! Tom Pearson, at 19 Years Old is the Youngest Producer to ever Qualify for the Horse of the Year Show 2018 Cuddy Supreme In Hand Championship… A moment of History being made! Tom Pearson’s Work Ethic and Determination is unquestionable… and he thoroughly deserves this success! Collstone Mastermind is owned by Karen Lamont and Joyce Russell.

3.Sarah Oliver and Two Tone Arturo

Me and my 11 year old home produced coloured Two Tone Arturo aka Midget qualified for HOYS at our local venue Alnwick Ford Equestrian through Search for a Star. It’s the first time they have used this venue which was ideal for us not having to travel 2hrs plus for qualifiers. Me and my mum bought Midget from Ireland as a 3 year old and since then have always done everything ourselves. Midget is a superstar and literally turns his hoof at anything including dressage, eventing, showing and working hunter classes, he is loved by many for his easy going attitude towards life and we have had a great season so far this year with winning a O.D.E, 2 ridden Supreme Championships, 4th in Non Native ridden Coloured in HOYS Qualifier at Royal Highland Show and now we have CHAPS Championship and HOYS to look forward to.

4. Hope Fisher and Foalsyke Little Topper

Our fabulous Fell stallion Foalsyke Little Topper qualified for HOYS at the TSR spring show to the total shock of his 19 year old owner and rider Hope Fisher.  We spotted him for sale on Facebook and a few messages and a phone conversation later we took the risk to purchase him, crossing all available fingers it would work out.  He couldn’t have turned out better, he is a total gent and we adore him.  He lives at the bottom of the garden with his best friend and they both have our undivided attention.

We were absolutely devastated when his first season with us was cut short due to an unexplained injury, we just couldn’t get to the bottom of it.  After many months under the local vets he finally went off to Newmarket where he was diagnosed with a torn Manika tendon and was operated on to remove it.  His recovery has been slow, very frustrating with several setbacks.  He hated being left at home and Hope missed riding him so much.

We finally got back out at the beginning of this season, she cried as they both went in the ring for the first time some 14 months later.  He has an easy life at home just hacking about the lanes and mooching in his paddock, he is rarely schooled as we have nowhere suitable to ride but he loves to go out to competitions and is a real showman.

We were only in his 2nd qualifier of the season when his number was suddenly called out to win!  Hope was completely overcome, he had gone beautifully but it just came as a complete shock.  He went on to take the championship that day and had a beautiful photo and write up in the Horse and Hound, we have kept absolutely everything to look back on.

Whatever the outcome on the day it will be a very emotional trip for a girl and her much loved pony who has had such a rocky pathway, he deserves this so much.  We really thought he was never coming back.

5. Rosemary Penn and Lovestruck

Starting as a 3 year old, Lovestruck won the Cuddy In-Hand qualifier at Sport Horse Breeding Championships in 2011.  She then went onto a ridden career and was Champion Small Riding Horse at HOYS. Seven years later, with her first foal at foot and her first In-Hand Show in her new role, she went to the Sport Horse Breeding Championships and won the Cuddy again!  The rest is now in the hands of the Gods!

6. Olivia Sheppard and J.A.C. Surprise Addition (Dexter)

Our journey to HOYS began on 25th September 2016 when we received a call to ask us if we were interested in buying a 148cm pony. As every pony bought was always a family decision we set off on masse with our flask, sandwiches and riding hat.

After trying and deciding to buy, it was all systems go. My grandad (Non) was a massive influence with my ponies and was always there to support and shout at me! Sadly, before we collected Dexter tragedy struck and my Non died in a tragic accident. He never got to see us work, train and get results but we included his initials in Dexter’s name to always remind us of the massive influence he had on my pursuit to qualify for HOYS – a dream come true.

Our qualifying rounds were at Cherwell. Dexter jumped the only treble clear to our delight, it was an emotional day and Non was defiantly with me every stride. This last year has been a tough one for my mum and I. Non would be delighted for us, and he would be arriving at HOYS with his flask and sandwiches to cheer us on!

7. Sarah Field and Humphrey

Well Humphrey as he is known at home,  came to me by pure chance. His old owner who happened to sell me another cob,  who I still have, wanted to find him a new home as she was giving up due to ill health and gave me a call. At the time I said no thanks as I already had a maxi and couldn’t have two horses plus I had another horse I hunted so three would have led to divorce . Anyway,  sadly my other cob got injured which meant he was likely to be out for this season and I desperately wanted something to play with  . In the meantime, the old owners of my hunter who bred him, begged for me to sell him back as they missed him so much and that meant I was down to one ! I recontacted Humphrey’s owner to see if he was still available and amazingly he was, so she agreed to loan him to me with view to purchase . I quickly realised that Humphrey was a very special boy and then purchased him soon after. His attitude to life is in incredible, he is the nicest person you ever care to meet. I never really planned to show him , but just to have fun at local level and to get me back jumping which he and I love. I only returned to riding a few years ago after a very long break and had never ridden in the show ring but I gave it a go with my other cob and I really loved it. I have made such great showing friends and have learned and continue to learn something new each day.

Someone then told me about Search for a Star (SFAS) and I thought yes why not! Wouldn’t. that be amazing to ride at HOYS. A childhood dream and at now middle age , time wasn’t on my side . So I decided to take the plunge and enter SFAS first at Osbaldeston. We got  some good feedback but I needed to improve some things.  I took it all on board, made the changes and tried again at Stretcholt. His 2nd ever show with me and we qualified! Excited doesn’t even describe how I feel right now. I cannot wait to experience it and will cherish every moment. Thank you SEIB for this amateur competition, this is the perfect opportunity for people like me to experience something many people can only dream of so I feel very lucky. Roll on October !

8. Theodora Hopkins and Hunky Dory

Dory is an 8 year old native coloured that has been owned by my riding instructor Claire Robinson since he was 4 and a half months old. She went with her friend to look at some foals and Claire came back with one of her own (what a top decision she made!)  She promised he wouldn’t make any mess (wrong!) and we would barely notice he was there (very wrong!). Dory makes sure he is noticed by everyone at the riding school!

Dory qualified for HOYS in the SEIB Search for a Star Working Pony class at Alnwick Ford. Initially this competition was something we gave a go as Dory was also competing in the RDA Search for a Star show horse which he also won and will be competing in the finals at BSHA Championships at Addington Manor in September with one of his RDA riders. Dory is a firm favourite within the school where he works with Askham Bryan College, Middlesbrough students and within Stokesley RDA Group with whom recently competed with 3 riders of varying ability down at the National Championships in Hartpury.  He showed his versatility competing in countryside challenge, tack and turnout and dressage both independent and on the lead rein including the fancy dress where he enjoyed showing off his outfit whilst demonstrating all three paces.

Attempting to qualify for HOYS at the time just seemed like a nice dream but whilst we were there at the qualifiers and wanting to support one in the north of England we thought we would give it a go. Dory exceeded all expectations from our little foal, to a 3 year old that wouldn’t lunge and couldn’t grasp the concept of going round a corner with a rider on for a couple of weeks he has made us beyond proud. We have had more success and enjoyment with Dory than we could have wished for and can’t wait for a picture with the HOYS logo!

9. Harriet Hunter and Ringside Galliano

Rodger and I qualified for Horse of the Year Sheow at our first ever show together and in my first ever HOYS qualifier. He gave me one of the best rides I’ve ever had and just floated all the way around Stoneleigh to win his class and take the Horse of the Year Show Junior Championship, which was just the icing on the cake. Rodger has also qualified in the Horse of the Year Show Open classes with his owner, Laura Rowe as well as the junior Large Breed Class. He is a real genuine, all round pony who takes to anything you ask of him. I can’t wait to have my first ride in that big arena.

10. Niah Lucas and Woodroyd Toy Boy

Niah Lucas was enjoying her last day as a 4-year-old when we made the long journey to the Scottish Horse Show, Woodroyd Toy Boy or ‘Nigel’ as he is known to his friends has been Niah’s ‘baby boy’ for almost 12 months now. At home Niah is learning to ride off the lead rein and independent of a strap, she enjoys jumping and hacking along with going to shows. At the Scottish Horse show Nigel went fabulous and Niah rode her heart out. As you can see by the picture we were in total amazement on realising that we had qualified for the greatest horse show in the world!!! The day after, Niah was still ecstatic about winning her golden ticket and even received one as a birthday present which she took to school to show her teachers! What better way to spend your last day as a 4-year-old! The passion and commitment Niah shows towards her ponies and her riding is truly inspirational, having the ponies at home can be hard sometimes but Niah always mucks in and helps out bathing the ponies ready for the shows! Niah has a true love for horses and enjoys competing along with general day to day duties at home. This will be Niah’s first time competing at the Horse of the year show and she is very excited about it after visiting last year she has been eager to get her ‘ticket’ then she can ride at that ‘big’ show too. Mummy and Daddy are obviously super proud of Niah and plan to enjoy every moment of her big day!

Photo courtesy of Sinclair Photography

11. Holly Rowbottom and Monty

“Hello is that Holly?” Skeptically I replied, thinking it was another one of those PPI sales calls, “Would you like to go to HOYS?”

Two months after coming 4th at Osbaldeston, the call came that qualification had passed down the line! I truly had butterflies, Monty and I were bound for HOYs, a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Monty was initially bought to event, however we turned a hoof to showing after being inspired watching my friend at the final the previous year. But it wasn’t all plain sailing, firstly somehow we got lost on route to HOYs, ending up in Stafford town centre! Secondly during the warm up, we had a wardrobe malfunction and my sports bra came undone! And last but not least, as they called us in, we strutted proudly into the arena to find I had stepped into the wrong class and was escorted out by the steward! My HOYs experience was memorable, wonderful and Monty gave me the ride of my life.

12. Harrison Taylor and Skellorn Prairie Starlight

I felt very lucky and honoured to be asked did I want to loan Skellorn Prairie Starlight for a couple of years, whilst his owner, Katy Seedhouse climbs the career ladder as a big time lawyer in London J

Our 1st ticket was gained at Royal Cheshire Show (home turf) which is my favourite show of all times!!!

Me and mum got star ready before the class and he looked a million dollars.   Well when he went into the ring, he performed to the best he probably ever has since being with us, and we got pulled top off the initial go round!!   I thought my head might explode with the pressure I felt at having to come out of the massive line up and perform our show…….   I had a word with Star and told him come-one now,,, Show Time – lets show them what we have……    He gave me the best ride, he was so balanced and fluent, and he honestly couldn’t have done any more for me J.     I had a good feeling about it, because my mum who is super, super critical, said it was a 48 show for her,, so I knew I had done okay, she usually has a list ready for when I get back in the line up to tell me what wasn’t perfect, or what could have been better, but she was pretty quiet which is a 1st!!

The results were called out in reverse order, which again is so nerve wracking… and when we got down to the final 3 I was thinking could it be possible …. But there it was 1st place, me and Starry boy, we also went onto get Champion, so there it was our 1st HOYS ticket for 2018.   2nd followed a couple of weeks later in the Open at North of England.  This pony really has been produced by the best and sometimes teaches me new things……  Star is now having a well-earned rest after gaining 2 RI tickets, 2 HOYS tickets, a 6th place at RI and a WIN and a CHAMPION at RI, can you imagine… I am still in shock at this!!

Bring on HOYS and in case anyway didn’t know… of course we are going for a win, we are not just going for the visit!!

13. Harrison Taylor and Skellorn Miss Ellie

I was very fortunate to be asked by Kerry Wainwright at the Skellorn Stud if I wanted to produce a section B for her.

Ellie came to us in approx. March 2017, I did lots of ground work with her to begin with on the long reins etc and was walking her around all over.  She was broken about 8 week later and she was a little diamond and took to it like a duck to water.  Within a week or so, we were walk, trot and canter and her canter has been amazing since day one!!

Ellie won the Picton Final at NPS Summer Champs in 2017, and if I am honest I felt like we had won HOYS then because I had produced her totally myself.

We decided we would try our luck for HOYS,   In terms of breed type, I would say she is a true to type B, with good limb and everything is put together so well on her, and her movement is so beautiful.   What makes Ellie extra special though is her nature and her heart, she is the most loving, genuine pony we have ever had.

We asked Grace Litherland if she would like to have a go at riding Ellie too in the Junior class too, and they look so picture perfect together and Ellie totally looks after Grace.     Ellie qualified at her 2nd show with Grace at Stoneleigh on Saturday 11th August.    They pulled off the most amazing show and won by a staggering 8 marks  – I am too excited to watch them in the TopSpec arena, it will be amazing. On the Sunday 12th Aug, the following day I took Ellie into the Open B Class, and was pulled 4th off the go round initially.Ellie as always give me a perfect ride, she never missed a beat all the way around and surprise, surprise she won – I am so delighted with this pony and also she has given me so much confidence to believe in myself and know that I have been able to take a beautiful pony from the field and produce her to this standard, not only for the HOYS standard but also to have her produced in a way that allows little Grace to ride her around and feel like the most confident person in the world!!Ellie really is a true diamond of a child’s pony with the biggest heart.

14. Roberta Baston and King Clover’s Pride

Well what can I say….qualifying for HOYS has been a dream come true. For many years following friends’ successes and watching my favourite producers at this prestigious event, sitting in the grandstand wishing that one day I would get the opportunity. Well I have and to say I’m excited is the least! When I bought Walter 4 years ago the thought that we would one day compete at HOYS was something like winning the lotto.  He was an unschooled skinny hunt horse who would shiver at the back of his stable should I even look at him.

 The next spring we decided to go for a few low key shows and we did a Search for a Star class where he came 6th! I remember Robert Oliver saying to me he needed to fill his frame “He’s a big horse who just needs building up.” So I took that on board and just worked on building him up and filling his frame, which is a mammoth challenge! He eventually started to put on condition and muscle, and look like a proper hunter!

I had a break from riding Walter for a few months at this point as I was going through one of the hardest times of my life losing my beautiful mother to cancer, she always understood my passion although not horsey at all.

Early this year I decided we weren’t going to do many shows but my friend encouraged me to enter another Search for a Star. When we eventually got there after lorry issues, we got ready and did our class and he went beautifully; he did not put a hoof out of place. Then as we were waiting for the winner to be announced I heard them call a number but didn’t realise it was mine until they said my name – I was absolutely in shock! I didn’t know if I wanted to scream, cry or do both! I looked over at my trusted groom and said “OMG!! we are going to HOYS? Eeeeeek!” It was the most amazing experience and I relished every second.

Unfortunately Since then, Walter hasn’t been 100% and I am hoping that he will be fit enough to attend HOYS in October. So our journey wasn’t easy  but we kept on going and trying our best. My HOYS class this year falls on the date I lost my beautiful mother, I know she will be watching down and looking after Walter and I. Whatever happens and wherever we come, this experience will make the worst day of my a little bit easier!

15. Jackie Worby and Pennys Gift

My journey to HOYS with Pennys Gift started because of a very dear friend, Penny Podmore, who sadly is no longer with us. Having suffered a serious stroke, Penny and her husband Martin had gone on the hunt to find a horse that they could aim for the working hunters at HOYS. They planned to place him with another rider and enjoy following them around the county show circuit. Penny had actually won the workers at HOYS in her youth.  Penny watched loads of videos of horses in Ireland and, eventually, Pennys Gift (PJ as he was known at home) was the horse she chose to buy. Very sadly, after PJ arrived in the UK, Penny was diagnosed with cancer and passed away; PJ was therefore her last horse.  Around the same time my own horse was coming to the end of his competitive career and so I was on the lookout for a suitable addition to the family. As a child I had spent all of my time, when not at school, with Penny and Martin. After Penny’s death I mentioned to Martin that I was looking for a new horse and Martin suggested I buy PJ, who arrived with me as an unnamed five-year-old. I named him Pennys Gift because Penny was such a gifted lady.  Since then PJ and I have had lots of fun and have evented at grassroots level but, as Penny never got to see PJ going out to shows, I decided to see if we could get to HOYS in Search for a Star. We came 3rd in the working horse class at Vale View last year and then this year we have gone one better and have qualified in the Ridden Hunters.

I hope Penny is watching and I can make her proud.

16. Kate Beney and Zoey

The story with Zoey aka The Magical Unicorn, is short. Only meeting in March 2018, we are now heading to HOYS 7 months later! That said, my personal story started years ago.

As many little girls, I badgered my parents, to ride a pony. Living near Saddleworth Moor, Dad took me to a rather steen lady who asked “Are you sure you’re six?” “Yes” I insisted, was dutifully plonked on a hairy thelwell pony and off we went, returning later with a few bramble scratches and, as Dad said, the biggest grin!. The obsession started and with the first of many trips to HOYS, watching my equestrian hero’s, the dream began… maybe, one day…!

Riding ever since, I found my love of show jumping in my early teens while riding at Deanswood, and competing at Towerlands, always supported by Mum (aka Lorry driver and lifelong groom) and with Dad dutifully watching from the sidelines, as I cantered, crashed, fell, broke bones and flew my way round various showjumping classes. 

As it does, life took over but a chance meeting with my old riding teacher Julia, in 2001 encouraged me to compete again. Supported now by working long hours running my own riding school and livery yard, I began searching for that one dream horse to fulfil my lifelong ambition.

Many horses and 17 years later, it was only earlier this year that I first met the gentle grey stallion Zoey, and my fairytale truly began.

Competing together since April, travelling out whenever work allows to compete, Zoey never putting a hoof wrong, amazingly notching up many double clears, and climbing the rankings whilst juggling the commitments of a busy yard, it was with many nerves and much excitement we attended the semi-final at Keysoe. The unbelievable happened, Zoey jumped beautifully into 5th and we were on our way, to The World’s Most Famous Horse Show – my childhood dream of competing at HOYS has come true!!

Thanks so much to Mum, Dad, my long suffering husband Steve and my friends for helping make this dream, with the Unicorn truly magical.

 

 

17. Lily Roberts and Queenie

Queenie came to my yard when she was 6 months old; when I first saw her, I said to her owners, that one day I would own her! That day came when Queenie was rising 4 and ready to back. We named her    “ The Drama Queen”, as you never did quite know what lay ahead, depending on Queenies mood! Although she was quirky, I knew she was talented. I just had to channel her in the right direction!

During 2017 showing season, as a 4 year old, Queenie did some Novice shows, we had even entered some Hoys qualifiers, but then in September, a freak accident happened. Queenie ran into the metal handle, of an ajar field gate and the handle speared her shoulder. There was so much blood, that I feared the worst, that she would have to be PTS and my dreams of qualifying for the M&M WHP at The Horse Of The Year Show, would never be!

My fantastic Vets had the task of putting in lots of drains and carefully stitching her up. The wound was 3 inches deep and about 6 inches wide! But Queenie being Queenie wasn’t the best patient and the stitches soon burst open, so they had the difficult job of stitching her back up again!

In January this year, we were given the all clear to start bringing Queenie back into work. Slowly, she became physically stronger, week-by-week and was back competing by April. We did some Royal International qualifiers, where she was placed each time, so thought we would give the Hoys qualifiers a go. Each Show Queenie became better and better, having being placed in her Hoys qualifiers; we finally were 2nd at Stoneleigh and gained the golden ticket!

The 4 year old that we thought was going to be PTS or a least a field ornament, came out as a 5 year old and made my dreams come true, for myself, my family, my trainers and my team at home! HOYS 2018!!

 

 

18. Megan White and Thunderbolt Fairy Robin Bambi

Thunderbolt Fairy Robin Bambi and I won our HOYS Junior qualifier and took champion at the Royal Highland show. He is a 7yr Gelding, totally home produced from a just backed 4yr by myself. Royal Highland has been my favourite show since I first contested there in 2017 coming 6th in the HOYS. To have won with a crowd and a grandstand at my favourite show left me in tears. This was mine and his first time qualifying for HOYS. As I left the arena at walk, the crowd gave one lasts round of applause and after already pulling myself together once, I was once again brought to a flood of uncontrollable tears. There’s nothing like achieving your dream on the pony you know you have put blood sweat and tears in to and have produced yourself.

The dream then continued 3 weeks later at Monmouth county when I, out of no where, won the HOYS open Connemara class after pulling off the set show rather well. It was a surreal moment, as if we had done it…again!!! But our success didn’t stop there, we went on to win our second HOYS juniors and took champion. This time there was no tears… just giggles of disbelief.

At home Robin is the perfect pony. He is incredible on the ground and is the most mannerly pony to ride. He’s not spooky or phased by anything yet still a forward going, light , responsive ride. If he doesn’t do what is asked it’s because he doesn’t know how to do it. He’s so easy to have around, mainly because he’s always asleep so causes no trouble. Even if he’s not the most top class pony, he’s so hard not to love due to his personality and kind, loving attitude. He’s a true alrounder, he will hack out, jump anything and carry kids about and then go and win me 3 HOYS qualifiers!!!

I can’t wait to see him rise to the occasion at HOYS and give me a lovely ride round the ring… twice! Placing or no placing, I get to experience the most prestigious horse show on a pony who I know will give me 110%! What a surreal season. We are going to HOYS!!

 

 

19. Jenny Crane and Murthwaite Windrush

We started Windy’s journey to qualify for the Horse of the show back in 2013, when on his 8th show ever, he qualified for the prestigious for M and M ridden final at the Fell pony society breed show.  This is the very year that he won HOYS and stood reserve champion.  This is a moment that none of Windy’s connections will ever forget, we still watch the video and never a dry eye is had.  As a former stud stallion he was broken in 2012 at the age of 11 and Windy remains to this day the only grey Fell to ever qualify.  Windy has qualified every year since, usually coming home with a good place each time.

Well this is just the beginning of the story.  Last year we decided to turn Windy’s hoof to something else at the ripe old age of 16, he took the novice M and M worker championship at the NPS summer championships.  This year we decided to up his game, now at the tender age of 17 he has qualified for the M and M worker final at HOYS at Stoneleigh. He is still beautifully partnered by the same jockey that won with him in 2013, Steph Peto.  Windy is so many things to so many people and has been nominated in the Showing World Veterans awards this year.

So the little grey fell, that spent most of his life on the fell, now competes at HOYS as a Working Hunter Pony, outlining how versatile a Fell Pony can be.  He competes at HOYS along with his Fell stable companions, Greenholme Caitlin, in the junior section and Murthwaite Alfie in the Open ridden, which is a massive achievement for Steph Peto’s small yard.

 

 

20. Lauren Church and Birchgrove Ross

It has been quite some journey to HOYS for Lauren and Johnny (Birchgrove Ross).

A chance telephone call introduced us to him in October 2015 and immediately I could tell Lauren was smitten!  We had a quiet winter getting to know him then disaster struck in March 2016 when a lame Johnny came in from the field.  Oakham Vets discovered a large blackthorn. They did a wonderful job removing it but his road to recovery didn’t go to plan!  Thankfully it was just a matter of time and whilst they’d missed the season it was great to bring him into work that Christmas.

He returned to the show ring late spring 2017.  We had no expectations just the thrill of having him back so when they were called first at the Kent County HOYS qualifier in July many tears were unashamedly shed!  A first HOYS ticket for both Lauren and Johnny, a first photograph in Horse and Hound and Showing World Magazine…truly the things dreams are made of.  But from high to extreme low, as just a couple of weeks later on 14th August 2017 Johnny had colic.  It was agony seeing him in such pain.  Everything happened so quickly that day and before we knew it he was in surgery.  HOYS dreams shattered and heartbreak for Lauren not knowing if he would pull through let alone compete again.

…so roll on to 2018 and Johnny is once again back!  It has been an incredibly challenging couple of years and Lauren contemplated hanging up her hat on more than one occasion. Thankfully she didn’t. This year he rewarded our patience and love with a ticket to the RI and then at NCPA Staffordshire, round a challenging course, the most wonderful clear to win a magic ticket to HOYS.   Until they step into the ring on the 5th October I don’t think we’ll believe it’s really going to happen but everything is crossed that it does and in the meantime we can’t thank enough the wonderful team of people who have helped get Johnny back to where he deserves to be.

21. North Warwickshire Pony Club

North Warwickshire Senior Prince Phillip Cup Team made their dreams come true when they qualified for HOYS this year all 6 riders are between 11 and 15. On the 19th August 2018 in Cheshire this team battled against over 22 teams to win and qualify for a coveted place at HOYS. For the last few years this team have worked tirelessly sacrificing many weekends ,weekdays and battling all weather conditions and the highs and lows to reach their goal. Not forgetting the parents, Grandparents and supporters who are the driving force behind this team. Who fund , drive and look after these ponies 24/7. We are hoping everyone will get behind the mighty yellows and come along to support the team at HOYS.

22. Nell Stephens – Nell Stephens and Gryngallt Pretty Picture

Nell and Lily’s (aka Gryngallt Pretty Picture) journey to HOYS is unlike any other competitors.

A chance phone call to Lesley Hillard, of the Gryngallt Stud, when we were looking for a pony last summer was just the start. At the time Lily was busy being mum and so we were lucky enough to take another Gryngallt pony home, the gorgeous Gryngallt Paros(Archie).

Earlier this year Lesley very kindly offered Nell the ride on Lily, she would be returning from maternity leave after having a gorgeous colt foal last summer and Lesley’s granddaughter Amie had outgrown her.

The logistics are rather testing. Lesley does not have a little jockey so every now and then we make the six hour round trip, just under 300 miles from Wiltshire to Carmarthen for Nell to ride Lily. Lily is so amazing that she hardly gets worked or ridden in between. One lesson with Debbie Thomas before their debut show, the Royal Welsh, and they won on their first HOYS qualifying attempt!! This goes to show the temperaments of the Gryngallt ponies.

Nell, age 7, has had minimal experience at showing, she is more likely to be found out hunting all winter with Archie and we are sure her little tweed jacket will be the only one in the class that has hunted with three different packs last season.

What people won’t know is that Nell is painfully shy, her riding and time with ponies is her comfort zone, she has had to move school this year due to bullying and as yet, she still has not told a sole that she has qualified for HOYS. Without Lily and Archie everyday life for Nell would not be a happy place. She has never been to HOYS and would never of thought she was good enough to be there, thanks to Lesley and Lily this is a day she won’t forget in a hurry.

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