Evening Champions step into the limelight on day two of HOYS
Thursday’s evening performance at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) saw two very prestigious Championships play out in the Andrews Bowen International Arena.
First was the Topham Barnes Hack of the Year Championship where the first and second placed horses from the Mears Flooring Small Hack of the Year and Culford Lodge Commodities Large Hack of the Year earlier in the day showed off their paces once more in a final bid to impress the judges.
In the end it was the winner of the Culford Lodge Commodities Large Hack, Forgeland Hyde Park, who gave an effortless and foot-perfect performance to reclaim his Championship title from 2019. The 10-year-old gelding is by the prolific late sire, Kilvington Scoundrel, who has sired so many HOYS Champions. Isabelle Mears bought ‘Will’, as he is known at home, from Miranda Wallace last year and he was ridden in the ring today by Danielle Heath.
“We’d admired him from a distance since he was a five-year-old,” said Danielle. “He felt on fire in there; I could have done everything one handed.” Good manners, as well as an excellent way of going, are particularly important for a Hack.
The newly crowned Champion will be back in the ring on Saturday, this time with Isabelle in the saddle in the Oyster Wealth Planning 158cm Intermediate Show Riding Type of the Year. “He’s such a pro and just loves going to shows,” said Isabelle. “He has real star quality and I could sit on him all day.”
History repeated itself again as the Reserve Champion also retained his title from 2019; winner of the Mears Flooring Small Hack, Parkgate Royal Visit William owned by Nick Brookes and ridden by Rob Walker.
The first two days of HOYS are a Mountain & Moorland spectacular, and the prestigious National Pony Society/ Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony of the Year Championship on Thursday evening is a culmination of 10 class sections showcasing all 12 of the wonderful native British breeds.
Welsh Section D, Menai Eurostar thrived under the spotlight to catch the judges’ eye and be crowned overall Champion. Adam Forster has ridden the 10-year-old stallion since February last year but he was only lightly shown. A delighted Adam said: “This little horse deserves it like you wouldn’t believe. He’s amazing to ride and his attitude to the job is incredible. He thinks everyone is there just for him!”
Owner Karen Johnson spoke fondly of her super pony after the Championship: “He means the absolute world to me. I bought him as a foal from the stud and I knew one day he could win at HOYS, but this [the Championship] is something else.” While he has qualified for HOYS in the past, Karen said this year he has “just come into his own.”
Menai Eurostar adds his HOYS title to a string of impressive wins including twice Supreme M&M at the BSPS Championships and twice Champion M&M at Royal Windsor.
The winner of the Welsh Section A class scooped the Reserve spot – Hayley Grota bought Hoekhorst Example from Holland unbroken as a six-year-old having seen him shown in hand over here in the UK. Ridden by Libby Grota, the team broke him in and brought him on themselves with just four shows last year. “It’s amazing,” said Libby, who won the Championship last year on a different pony. “I forget he’s a stallion, he’s just so enjoyable to ride.” Libby will bring him out again next year and he will also cover some mares.
Show producer Katy Marriott-Payne had a very successful couple of days with three winners out of the 10 sections including the Welsh Section C, Welsh Section B and Dales.
The class winners in the National Pony Society/ Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Pony of the Year Championship were as follows.
Welsh Section D – Menai Eurostar owned by Karen Johnson and ridden by Adam Forster
Welsh Section C – Fencers Royal Addition ridden by Katy Marriott-Payne and owned by Mark and Liz Kilbey
Welsh Section B – Clanmill Leteika Miracle owned and ridden by Katy Marriott-Payne
Welsh Section A – Hoekhurst Example owned by Hayley Grota and ridden by Libby Grota
Dartmoor/Exmoor/Shetland – Westown Wild Fire ridden by Sarah Parker and owned by Sarah Weston
New Forest – Hilltop Ned ridden by Ellena Thomas and owned by Ellena and Karyn Thomas’
Fell – Wildhoeve Okidoki ridden by Claire Fitch and owned by Ruth Roberts
Highland – Lochlands Gypsy Baron owned and ridden by Tracey Milward
Connemara – Skellorn Deja Vu ridden by Harrison Taylor and owned by Kerry Wainwright
Dales – Tarbarl Major Tom ridden by Katy Marriott-Payne and owned by Mandy Jackson