October 10, 2014 at 8:31 AM

mmridden2.jpgAlex Hawkins had an unlikely contributor - Star Trek's Dr Spock - towards her stunning victory in the NPS/Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain and Moorland Ridden Championship at the Horse of the Year Show. 

Alex, from Northamptonshire, won with her nine-year-old New Forest pony Marleydenes Shiraz, claiming a class that sees preliminary judging split into nine sections - New Forest; Connemara; Fell and Dale; Highland; Dartmoor, Exmoor and Shetland; Welsh A, Welsh B, Welsh C and Welsh D. 

And she revealed how a chance search of the internet led her to a pony that she drives 112 miles at least once a week to Bristol, where it is produced by Mathew Lawrence and Mark Northam, to see. 

"My husband was watching Star Trek The Movie at home one day, and I thought it was so boring, so I went on the internet and I saw a picture of the pony. I was so taken by him and his movement," Alex said. 

"I then arranged to go and see him and I also spoke to other people about him. I've had him for four years now. 

"I brought his schooling to a level, then I asked Matthew and Mark, and they do such an amazing job with him. 

"I can't believe it that I have won here. I am not aware of a New Forest pony winning this class before. 

"Last year, which was my first year here, I got quite nervous and before I knew it the class was over, but this year I thought we should just go and enjoy it and I was much calmer."

Lancashire rider Jayne Pimbley paid tribute to the "fantastic" five-year-old Deauville after being crowned Science Supplements Ladies' Hunter of the Year Champion at Birmingham's LG Arena. 

The combination shone on day two at HOYS, winning a class that sees an exhibition of horses being ridden side saddle in scenes reminiscent of bygone times. 

"That was the creme de la creme out there today, so it's a fantastic win," said Jayne, reflecting on her performance with the Lisa Clarke-owned Deauville.

Edinburgh university student Becca Macmillan made the long journey from Scotland worthwhile by landing the Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year class aboard nine-year-old Coathamdene Just-Dylan in the Andrews Bowen International Arena. 

Ponies are judged on the flat, and also over a course of rustic fences, while conformation is also assessed, and 19-year-old Becca could scarcely conceal her delight after taking top honours, while also revealing a late fitness scare during HOYS preparations. 

"I have been here just about every year since 2004 and never got better than fifth," she said. 

"All year we've been working hard, keeping him fit. I have been away at university, so it has definitely been a team effort to get him here. 

"But two weeks ago, we didn't think we were going to get here. He was lame after standing on a stone, so we were just praying we would get here. 

"When you are little, you dream about things like this. When the man in the arena came over and said what to do in the lap of honour - canter and then gallop - I said 'it's fine, I know, I have been waiting for this moment all my life. 

"Dylan is such a character, and his facial expressions are amazing. There is a picture of him at the Royal Highland Show, where the judges are walking away, and he  has got his tongue out!" 

The Topham Barnes Hack of the Year Championship, meanwhile, went to Wesswood Caste a Spell, owned by Vanessa Windsor-Phillips and ridden by Henrietta Windsor-Phillips, with the Vicky Smiith-owned Pearly King as reserve, ridden by Simon Charlesworth. 

Carriages were also under scrutiny today in the Harness Horse and Pony of the Year Championship, which was taken by Jessie Howell’s Aghaderg Stand and Deliver.



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