Family celebrations in the show ring on the penultimate evening of HOYS 2023

Family celebrations in the show ring on the penultimate evening of HOYS 2023

Show producer Jerome Harforth’s homebred five-year-old mare Swan Lake won The Andrews Family Partbred Pony of the Year Championship with Sophie Staveley in the saddle on the penultimate evening of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

By Llanarth Top Cat out of Dance All Night, Swan Lake has a number of HOYS connections to her name. She was shown by Jerome as a yearling and took reserve twice in the In-Hand Horse of the Year qualifiers, while her dam, Dance All Night, won here back in 2012 in the Children’s Riding Pony of the Year with Lucinda Elliott.

After a quiet season last year, Sophie started riding Swan Lake this season in a couple of early novice shows and then continued on to get her HOYS ticket and take the win here today.

A delighted Sophie said: “I’m quite shocked. We knew she was good enough if she wanted to play ball; but she absolutely has and she just loved it in there. She came in on springs; it’s unbelievable.”

Reserve Champion was Stephanie Fitt’s bay mare, Cleapatra, by Strinesdale Matador out of Fairfax C. 

The prestigious Harrod and Coles Family Cob of the Year Championship culminated in a nail-biting finale in the Andrews Bowen International Arena, judged by Charles Le Moignan and Lucy Killingbeck.

In the end it was the Lightweight Cobs who dominated the prize giving. First placed Copenhagen was crowned overall Champion; a huge success for owner Rowena Stevenson after the grey gelding had been knocking on the door of the Championship for so long with various placings.

Ridden by Simon Reynolds Copenhagen has had a very good year going Champion at the Royal International and now at HOYS, but Simon did not let the pressure get to him this evening.

He said: “You don’t feel a lot of pressure on him because he gives you a lot of confidence; he holds himself together really well and enjoys it. He likes going to the fun fair, so to speak, and he doesn’t get excited. He’s always a pleasure to ride.

“He consistently keeps giving 100% and I think that’s a rare commodity.”

Reserve went to the second placed Lightweight Cob, Lisette Roberts’ Randalstown Aristocrat ridden by Jayne Ross. Jayne is having a superb HOYS with two horses already through to tomorrow night’s Supreme.

She said: “He’s a novice, he hasn’t gone to that many shows and he’s just grown in stature during the season. He’s such a fabulous mover and was just wonderful in there.”

Debbie Harrod’s grey gelding Randalstown Cromwell won the Heavyweight section ridden by Ryan Anderson.

The final showing Championship on the penultimate day of HOYS was the British Show Pony Society Children’s Riding Pony of the Year Championship. Ponies and riders had been competing in the TopSpec Arena since dawn, but all eyes were on the final six to reach the prestigious championship in the Andrews Bowen International Arena.

The 128cm winner Ardenhall Blenheim (Joules) wasn’t ready to give up his title from last year and did more than enough to retain his Champion crown.

The 14-year-old has been a much loved part of the Harker family for nine years and has proven to be very consistent. He is ridden by Lola Carabine and is by Ardenhall Party Piece out of Ardenhall Champagne. Joules is from the same stud as Charlotte Dujardin’s first top pony who won this Championship at HOYS back in 1994,  Ardenhall Royal Secret.

Speaking after the Championship, Victoria Harker said: “He’s absolutely faultless – as soon as he walks in that ring he’s a showman. He just loves it.”

Lola has had a very good week herself. She also rode Diana Leeming’s Welsh Section A, Thistledown San-Siro to the Colne & Sweet Dreams Show Confectioners

Mountain & Moorland Mini Pony of the Year Championship and both ponies are now through to the Supreme Products Supreme Pony of the Year tomorrow.

Reserve Champion was Patrick Ahern’s eight-year-old bay mare Colbeach Caprice ridden by Lilly Ahern-Lee. For the last two years Caprice has been second in the 138cm class and this year she finally scooped the red rosette as well as the Reserve honours.

The mare has been with the family since she was a four-year-old and this is her third season at HOYS.

Alex Ahern said: “As a riding pony she’s just exquisite and doesn’t touch the ground.

“When she moves, she’s phenomenal. She rides like a little hack and Lilly loves being on her.”

Winner of the 148cm section was Anne Thornhill’s part bred Arab Dibynn Miss Congeniality ridden by Scarlett Doswell.

Share this post


Don’t miss a thing. Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest on competitions, news and events.

By clicking submit below I understand that I will receive marketing communications from Grandstand Media in accordance with our privacy policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.