Vote For A Qualifying Story
Vote for your favourite Qualifying Story!
1. Maddie Bennett and Melin Moldavite
My HOYS dream came true when my horse, Melin Moldavite (Harvey at home) and I qualified for the SFAS Series. At first I didn’t realise I had qualified until I read the sash, and from that moment I couldn’t stop crying. I was incredibly proud of our boy. We have owned Harvey for 3 years, since an unbroken 3 year old and we backed him ourselves. We took things very slowly and this is my first affiliated season with him. So far this year we have qualified for the Royal International Pretty Polly Intermediate SRT class and the North of England Pretty Polly £1000 supreme. The SFAS qualifier was my first attempt at an adult class on Harvey, and being a young novice horse I was thrilled with how well behaved he was for the ride judge. Harvey is kept at home and looked after by 3 generations, me, my mum and my grandmother. The whole family just adores him. My mum also competes him and she is kindly sharing him with me this year as I prematurely grew too tall for my 143cm SHP who will also be in our family for life. I have never ridden at HOYS before so I can’t wait to experience the buzz of waking up early to work in, and to ride in the big ring in front of lots of people. I can’t wait to get cracking on our HOYS preparations and to meet my fellow competitors and their lovely horses in October.
2. Harriet Wood and Summerrose Little Hawk
My family started showing miniatures in 2010, however I was the only one who didn’t show and thought that, unlike my sisters, I would never compete at HOYS. In 2016, the breeder of my sister’s HOYS Champion, Apollo’s Secret Agent, Wendy Edgar offered me Agent’s half-brother, Sol - their sire MB Apollo is a three time HOYS champion. Sol is a BMHS Miniature, eligible for RIHS and HOYS qualifiers who started to show very successfully. I was incredibly excited and started successfully showing Sol with dream to one day compete at HOYS. I also bought an American miniature called Jasper who quickly became a multi supreme champion at local shows.
Last April, I found Sol covered in blood in his stable after a young man had broken into his stable to stab him 16 times – 12 on her rear, 4 in his jugular. I was beyond heartbroken, and spent the next few weeks sleeping in his stable, washing his wounds with saline to prevent infection. Against the odds, Sol survived, but his showing days are over. After what I’d gone through with Sol, I felt my HOYS dream was over, but my family encouraged me to take Jasper to the The British Miniature Horse Society - BMHS Star Seeker final where he won his hardshipping rights and passed with 100%.
Jasper was my rock who got me through last year. He qualified for RIHS at The All England Jumping Course, Hickstead on his first attempt, and this year attended his first ever county show – Hertfordshire County Show where he went champion and qualified for HOYS, making what felt like my impossible dream, finally come true, with my best friend. The journey Jasper and I have been on has been unbelievable. He is such a loved member of our family and we will both be enjoying our first HOYS this year, flying the flag for Sol. No words can express how much I love Jasper - he is truly my horse of a lifetime. No matter the outcome in October, I will just enjoy being at the world’s best horse show with the world’s best horse.
PHOTO: SBM PHOTOGRAPHIC
3. Macy Dugdale and Lokie
As a home producer and amateur competitor, Lokie and I have been extremely lucky to have qualified for HOYS.
We are stabled on a DIY yard with a make shift school which when it rains it floods and when it’s dry it’s hard - there is no in-between. My mum drives a weekly 160 mile round trip for us to have our lesson with James Hunton who has taught me now for the past 5 years. Lokie is my absolute pony of a lifetime and she owes us nothing yet I owe her everything. She has made my dreams come true, qualifying again for the 3rd time running which is no easy task without the facilities that some people take for granted. Lokie and I spend a lot of our time at the beach and out hacking when not having lessons.
This was our 1st time at Aintree Show, in a class of 20 and we were pulled into top spot after the initial go around. I felt extremely nervous and worried as qualifying meant so much to me. The judge was lovely and made sure I understood what was being asked of me. The waiting for the results felt like a lifetime and I was so nervous. When they read my number out I couldn’t believe it. People think that because I’ve qualified before I should do it easily every year. No one knows how much hard work and determination it takes and praying for everything to come together on that day. Qualifying this time felt exactly the same as it did 3 years ago and I am just as excited and thankful to my mum and James for everything that they do for Lokie and I.
I can’t wait for October to go back and have the pleasure of riding in the ring at HOYS.
4. Chloe Chan and Mary (Waitwith Choice)
From possible Disaster to dreams… I am Chloe a 10 year old girl who year-after-year would sit mesmerised watching the wonderful horses and riders at the one and only Horse of the Year Show, wishing and hoping one day this could be me. My team consists of a very special 122 pony called little Mary, a Welsh section A mare. I have had the pleasure of owning Mary since mid-season 2018 so for us we are a new combination with this being our first season . A dedicated caring trainer Niki Horsley Gubbins and of course my mom! Like many we trained often throughout the winter and spring starting the season competing in multiple BSPS and NPS shows very successfully
Niki and I set my goal for me to enter the 122 WHP classes with the expectation to jump clear as these where tricky classes designed for adults. The day of the Three counties show arrived and we all got there in good time. We felt organised and calm, so we walked the course with about 20 minutes to go and then headed back to the lorry to tack up Mary. We then realised we did not have Mary’s bridle and I burst out crying as I thought the day was over, however, without delay we came up with a plan to purchase a new bridle in the time we had and hoped for the best ! It goes without saying this is now my very special bridle as we won our class of 32 riders – against a majority of adult riders - scoring 91%.
We were all overwhelmed and very excited- a day I will always remember. The much harder work now begins in our preparation for HOYS, but most of all we cannot wait for the fun of the day. For me, this experience has taught me that if you focus and work hard with passion and determination, dreams can come true. HOYS HERE WE COME!
5. Hannah Parr and Moelview Prince Charming
Anyone who knows me well will know that I have always adored Moelview Prince Charming. From the moment I saw him as a novice 5yr old under saddle at Lampeter Stallion show, he took my breathe away.
He was known as the ‘Bridesmaid’ for so long as he had gained no less than 11 seconds in HOYS qualifiers throughout his ridden career until finally at Stoneleigh Horse Show 2015, he got his golden ticket. It was whilst watching him compete at the 2015 Horse of the year show that I’d said to my Mother “if ever he came up for sale, I’d sell everything I owned to be able to buy him!” The following day, I couldn’t believe what I’d seen on facebook, Moelview Stud were advertising Prince Charming for sale! Surely this was a mistake? I read it again, and again, and again and even sent it to my friend Eiry Bonner to make sure I was reading it correctly. Moments later, I tentatively message Jane Jones of the Moelview Stud to enquire about his price. A week later Eiry and I set ff to Dolgellau, after work to try him and the rest as they say, is history!
2018 saw Prince Charming make my dreams come true by qualifying for HOYS at the Royal Welsh Show. He pranced around the ring able ridden by Eiry as I was on his younger brother Moelview Prince Llewelyn. That week is always a big week in our calendar as a family. My Mother trades at the Show, I commentate and compete whilst also celebrating my Birthday there. There was no initial pull so I was a blubbering mess as they were called forward as the winners and then went on to take Small breeds HOYS champion! This was our first HOYS ticket and to get it at our favourite show was unreal.
2019 saw Prince Llewelyn take the lead as this was his first open season. Prince Charming was enjoying his time covering visiting mares and having light work at home. We decided to enter NCPA staffs as his first show as Prince Llewelyn was already going.
Having arrived at the beautiful Catton Park at 6:45am after a 2:30am wake up call, it was time to get the boys off and ready for their class. I, once again rode younger brother, Moelview Prince Llewelyn who was obviously trying to get out of the class as whilst he was being lunged, he snapped his top rein. Thankfully, Danielle Garner came to the rescue and leant a set of plaited reins to allow Harry to compete. Eiry’s warm up was far less eventful as she took the reins of Prince Charming. Even though it was only 8:45am, it was blisteringly hot, and the sun was beaming down. Both boys performed a lovely go around to be pulled 3rd and 4th respectively.
6. Cheryl Mcvay and Ballinakill
Here is my horse BALLINAKILL , we had been trying trying to qualify in the weights section since 2012 , in 2017 we started our side saddle journey at the royal highland show. Fast forward to 2018 and only 4 shows under our belt side saddle we finally qualified in the ladies after 6 years of trying to get either ticket, we had an awful run up where my side saddle stopped fitting after a lot of stress, I very kindly managed to borrow one. The morning of our class Ballinakill was going amazing, he ate up the atmosphere and gave me an amazing ride however right at the end of our gallop my stirrup snapped .... game over. 6 years trying and we only got a little over 6 minutes in the ring, we were heartbroken. Never did I think we would manage again. However, my amazing horse won at the Royal Highland Show again this year , I was so shocked I kept waiting on the horse on front or behind to go line up, it took me a moment to except the steward was pointing at me! Tears all round, especially from my mum who is my number one support. We are so excited to get to try again , we have a new saddle and a new stirrup leather! And are working so hard to up our game this year.
7. Paula Smith and Littledean Morning Light
Team work makes the dream work!! I bought Fly as a 6 month old foal for less than £100. The plan was always for Fly to be my next ridden pony. Being a Welsh Section C, we hoped he would make at least 13hh. Sadly as the years went on we realised Fly wasn’t growing much and we would be lucky if he made 12hh.
This is when we started to think what job could we give him as he was a little bit small for the ridden M&M classes so we thought we will aim him at the M&M Workers. Even as a youngster fly used to gallop round the field jumping the tyres and barrels when playing. My best friend Emma Byrne has been riding Fly since Feb 2018. She was never supposed to be riding Fly but sadly I lost my other pony who Emma was riding so she ended up helping out with Fly in the meantime. She has slowly brought him on to the pony he is today. They are the perfect team in my eyes.
We set a goal to try some Royal International and HOYS qualifiers for 2019 but being based in Scotland as we only have 1 qualifier. We were amazed when Fly qualified for Royal International at his first attempt in April at NPS Scotland Spring Show. We then entered a couple of HOYS qualifiers - Three counties and Royal Highland Show. At Three Counties he jumped a beautiful clear round in awful conditions to finish 3rd 1 mark off the winner.
Friday 21st June is a day we won’t ever forget. Fly jumped a beautiful clear round with the highest style mark of the class. They called the results in reverse order just to keep us in suspense!! To qualify on home turf with all our friends and family there was just the icing on the cake! Especially as my mum who has not been well this year got to see him. We still can’t believe he has qualified and seems like a dream. HOYS HERE WE COME!!
8. Keiva Robertson and Broughton Tiffany
My name is Keiva Robertson. I am 12 years old and live in Shetland. I have been riding since I was 2, and for my eight birthday I was given my 9 year old Welsh Section A called Broughton Tiffany. Tiffany is my best friend; we have grown up together and we have a brilliant partnership! We ride in all weathers as we have no indoor facilities on the island. I am lucky that we have our own stables and a lovely surfaced arena outside my house.
This year has been a tough year as the weather has been against us in Shetland. The overnight ferry won’t travel ponies if it’s too windy, and when we were trying to get away in June for the BSPS Scotland Show and Highland Show, they wouldn’t let ponies travel due to high winds. We did eventually get off the island on the Sunday morning and travelled up to Inverness to Katie & Vicky Common to spend a few days having lessons.
We left Inverness on the Wednesday for the Royal Highland Show. Tiffany was foot perfect as always, everything was going well after our go round and we were pulled 5th . Rhianna Gilmour from Inverness joined me in the ring at this point to groom for me. The steward told us all what our set show was so I went over it with Rhianna and we realised the 10 strides of walk would be the most important thing to remember.
After everyone had been seen by the 2 judges and points were added up, the steward called out the first place winner, the beautiful Dartmoor pony ‘Pumphill Rasputin’. They then announced ‘Second Broughton Tiffany’. I couldn’t believe it! All I could hear was the screams of my mum and Rhianna behind me at the ring side. When I pulled in next to Holly McGauley on Pumphill Rasputin she said to me ‘Congratulations you’ve just qualified for HOYS’ – I couldn’t believe it, then the tannoy announced it! The tears were running down my face, what a feeling! We were sent away in our lap of honour and I will never forget that feeling as the crowd cheered when I rode past them, something I never thought in a million years would happen, and at such a big event like the Highland Show.
I am so excited for October, it will be the best day of my life, my dreams come true, riding around that HOYS arena with my best friend. We of course have a massive journey ahead of us, only 700 miles and a 14 hour ferry journey and a lot of hard work!
9. Shelley Jones and Noble Kings Speech
Our gorgeous boy Henry (Noble Kings Speech) was on his way to the Scottish Horse Show with his friends from Team Jinks.
Adam Forster rode him beautifully as always to qualify in the small riding horse class. The story however is how they got there!
The Team Jinks lorry had a blow out on the M6, and they managed to nurse the lorry to the nearby services. With 5 ponies on board, they seemed to be stranded, but the showing family went above and beyond. Adam said that Sarah Challinor and Rebecca Penny kindly stopped and collected two ponies, Adam and a collection of jockeys making sure that the team all arrived safe. Team Helliwell sent a second lorry with Julie at the wheel to pick up another two, and Kaitlyn Fairhurst and her family kindly brought the 5th pony to the show from the services.
Joanne Pybus took charge of the situation and looked after everyone.
Without the kindness and generosity of so many people there was absolutely no way the team would have made it to the Scottish Horse show to compete. As Adam says, it is heartwarming to know that the showing world when needed can pull together and make things happen in a crisis. We are really grateful to everyone who helped to give Henry the chance to compete and to get his golden ticket for the second year in a row – he is a complete gentleman in every way and we count ourselves very lucky to have him and Team Jinks in our lives
10. Grace Clarke and Brookfarm Davinci
Christmas day 2017 was the day Santa left a little coloured pony tied in the garden to be found by a 6 year old little girl as her very first pony. Little did we know 18 months into their story in their very first season, we would be welcoming a first season jockey and a very rare coloured show pony to join the ranks of the big guys at the show pony first ridden final. They where watched on at qualifying by her whole family who had decided to have a lovely day out in the Kent sunshine at a beautiful local county show.
Pip Squeak and Grace have an undeniable bond and both trust each other completely, each making the other better and every first has been together. They are members of Essex Hunt North Pony Club and are regularly seen with her best friend and her pony or hacking round the Essex countryside and through Epping Forest. Pip is more than a show pony he is a little girls best friend and everything a true first ridden pony should be.
This novice pair will enjoy every moment spent in the ring at the horse of the year show with all their beautiful friends and family who are all coming to watch and support. Grace and pip thank everyone who has helped and supported them in the very first time they make the journey to the NEC with special thanks to Team Baxter who have made a little girl feel like she owns the world.
11. Rose Cassapi Paskins and Westfirle Golden Oriole
HOYS has been a dream from the minute it became apparent that Rose had a love for ponies and a keen interest in competing. There is no doubt that achieving that golden ticket is hard work. I have a full-time demanding job before I can do anything with the horses, so time is precious, and I have lost count how many people have asked how I fit it all in.
My biggest challenge has been living in constant pain following a serious riding accident in 2007. Over the years the arthritis in my ankle has worsened and in May 2018 my Consultant advised me to have my ankle fused and he held my ankle to demonstrate what that would feel like; basically, no movement but no pain either. I broke down in tears and showed him a picture of me leading Rose on her pony. "It’s not an option!" I told him.
I have fallen in the ring twice when my ankle has failed me, and I have cried countless times when the pain has become unbearable. When you have led an active life, it is hard to accept you can no longer do all the things you used to. Rose works very hard and always mucks in. She understands my limitations and recognises when I am in pain, and does what she can to help. Seeing her smile and the enjoyment she gets from it makes it all so worthwhile.
I cannot begin to describe how it feels to not only win that golden ticket to HOYS but to do so having led your own daughter makes it so special, it is just beyond words. To be in that ring at HOYS with Rose is going to be a magical moment that we will never forget. In the words of the great Tim Stockdale, “there’s no such word as can’t” and I genuinely hope that someone else out there reading this will be inspired to believe that they can achieve that golden ticket too.
12. Millie Simpson & Kiltartan Moonlight
The season had started Cant wait to get going, Off we go, For months of showing. A great start is had, A few good wins, Mum behind the camera, For her nerves a few gins. On a roll oreo gets ill Vet bill on Bill the weeks roll by, Missing the shows, I want to cry. Recovered pony we set out again, back on the road, No pain no gain. Lesson on lesson, mile on mile, Uni studies and work, The dream still brings a smile. Everything good or so we think, Round the corner, Theres always a sink. A twisted shoe, a nail in the sole, 10/10 lame, Will we ever reach our goal. Not as bad as it seemed, Only a few shows missed, A few days at the spa, And it's back to our list. The HOYS have now started, We are Jumping Great, 2nd place it is, We'll qualify at this rate. We keep on going Bank balance looks grim 2nd again, At home we would sing. We want it so much, Mums life long dream, We carry on, Helped by our wonderful team. Our training is endless, Our coach can hardly speak, It's taken its toll, "Get your bum in that seat" again we stand 2nd Were on a roll it's TRUE, we want a red, instead of the blue. We cant do the last one, Stoneleigh it has to be, What would fate have in store for me. Fence 1 I fly, It feels pretty good, Put 3 in the double, Hear his feet thud. I give him a flick, Wake up come on, Happy no poles had yet gone. Down to the last, I can hardly breath, We're up were over, What a relief. I stand in the line up, Heart beats out of my chest, They call out his name, That feelings the best. I can hear mums screams, As I collect my rosette, Tears roll down my cheeks, A moment I'll never forget. Kiltartan Moonlight You've made dreams come true, None of it possible, Without you.
13. Olivia Swailes & Griseburn Honey
I bought Honey in April 2017 from Griseburn stud. Honey was in a field with two other mares when we went to view her and we had a choice of any of the 3. This was a difficult decision, we had never had a dales before and wasn’t sure what to look for in one? We watched the ponies trot over the field and Honey seemed to use herself correctly and work from behind, she impressed us with her natural ability to cover the rough ground. Once home we soon realised it would take some time for Honey to trust us and did think to ourselves “ what have we bought” . we wasted no time and started to handle her straight away, she was generally a good girl but we did have to brush her at arm’s length with a sweeping brush at first. From then on Honey has been my best friend, I have backed and schooled her on myself with my mum doing lots of ground work as she really enjoys that side of things. Honey had a great season last year qualifying for two classes at the RI and then was turned away. This year Honey has qualified for two classes at RI but never in a million years did we think we would get a HOYS qualification, we qualified at TSR and I was last to do my show in a dales only class. Honey did a lovely show but with the weather being hot she didn’t gallop the best she could and I felt there was room for improvement but was happy with Honey because she really tried, she always does for me. I couldn’t believe it when my number was called, I actually thought I was 10th and was pleased to be pulled forward. The judge asked if I had already qualified and then it hit home, I had won! Something I have dreamed of for the last ten years and pure determination and hard work has got me there, I feel like I’m living a dream. I’m so proud of my girl Honey.
14. Rachal Fairbairn & Delilah Rose
Two years ago I lost my heavyweight hunter Highlane Riley just after HOYS. I searched all over the country for a middle weight hunter gelding with no luck and I had lost all confidence in riding . My dressage instructor asked me to help sell her coloured dressage mare and I went along to take photos and videos for her. I was persuaded to have a ride and I instantly fell in love with her. I rang my mum and dad who where on holiday to tell them I had found my new horse and where surprised that my new middle weight hunter gelding was in fact a flashy coloured dressage mare called Delilah Rose. Tory Carr who bred Delilah out of her own coloured dressage mare trained and competed her in British dressage where they won at the British dressage nationals. I started to compete Delilah in showing classes at the end of 2018 and introduced her to the side saddle over the winter . We took a chance on an un-shown horse that had never had a side saddle on and She has amazed us by qualifying for HOYS as both a coloured and as a ladies horse. Delilah has a fantastic temperament and She loves going to shows. She is always admired by the ride judge as an amazing ride thanks to all her dressage training. She really is our horse of a lifetime and i can’t wait to ride her at HOYS.
15. Darcey Foss & Ilston Brave Dancer
We found Buster just over 2years ago, his advert wasn’t all that and I wasn’t sure but my Mum was determined he was the pony for us, even when she had a fall and broke her leg the evening before we were due to view him, while awaiting the ambulance she insisted that I ring the lady with the Welsh to say “we won’t make tomorrow but please don’t sell him-we are serious” We travelled up to see him 2 weeks later with Mum laid up in the back of the lorry. As soon as I sat on Buster I knew he was coming home with us! He was the most powerful pony I’d ever ridden and immediately bounced the double mum asked to be set on a pony 1 stride distance! Buster had been rescued along with many other ponies neglected and Georgia who had taken him in as a 2 year old recognised his talent and bought him hoping to find an ambitious teen to take him through the levels in showjumping. I’m so lucky that we found him, we have had such an amazing time together starting out at 80cm when he was rising 6years old through to qualifying for HOYS in May as an 8yr old. He is the best pony in the world and always tries his heart out. I had never jumped the height of the Newcomers second rounds and was actually just going to see what it was all about thinking we might be ready next year but Buster jumped clear in the first round, clear in the second round and got through to the final jump off along with 8 others. We went into the ring and Buster sailed the first, I planned to take one out to the plank at 2 but we were just too far off it, little Buster tried but just tipped the plank so I knew we had to go for it, We turned tighter than ever before and Buster answered all the questions we flew home the fastest 4 faults to come 4th and qualify for the Bluechip Newcomers Pony Championship Final at HOYS!
16. Lauren Haddlesey & Severnvale George
After nearly a year of searching for my perfect pony I found George in May, we went to try him I absolutely loved him & he came home the following week!! We don’t have any facilities or an arena so lots of hacking, lessons & dedication but a much quieter life for George’y boy!! A very last minute decision to take him to Stoneleigh horse show for me to try get some confidence giving a Hoys qualifier a go before the end of the season. Saturday night we took him home to bath him outside the house as we don’t have running water at the stables then bring him in the garage to dry him off & keep him warm before snuggling him in his stable for the night. The hard work & 4am start certainly paid off!! We were initially pulled 2nd, I was crying at this point as I’d not been pulled in a Hoys qualifier before I was shaking just hoping I could pull off a good show and conformation I was over the moon no matter the result......... The results are in, over the tannoy our names were called out we the winners I couldn’t stop crying an ultimate dream had come true we’re off to Hoys this means the absolute world!!! I couldn’t do it without all the help & support of my family & friends. Roll on HOYS 2019