Memories are made in the Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrications Ltd Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year Championship

Memories are made in the Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrications Ltd Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year Championship

History repeated itself on day two of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) when Amy Smith and her 12-year-old Connemara gelding Laburnum Richard was crowned Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrications Ltd Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year; a title the pair last claimed in 2017.

This time was made all the sweeter, as Amy had her sister Vikki Smith by her side in the Championship, after the pair scooped the top two spots in the Exceeding 143cm section earlier this morning.

Amy has had Pedro, as he is known at home, since he was three and she produces him herself, fitting  this around her full-time job as a hairdresser.

“This [win] is just as good as the first time around; it still means everything, particularly on a pony that means so much to me.

“He jumped the best clear today that he ever has. He was at the top of his game.”

Vikki rode her eight-year-old Connemara gelding JP Corbally.

Reserve Champion was the winner of the 122cm height section. Carmilo Magician, or ‘Hopper’ is a 19-year-old Shetland pony owned by Mandy Shepherd and ridden by 21-year-old daughter Beatrice Shepherd.

Beatrice has ridden him for the past 10 years since she was 11. This is Hopper’s ninth visit to HOYS but his first win, and he made no fuss of the bold, up-to-height course designed by David Cole.

It was a particularly poignant win for Beatrice as she has been suffering from ill health this year and postponed surgery to come to HOYS. She said that she’ll be dreaming of this win when she goes in for the surgery. “It means the world,” she said. “All the hard work year-round is for this moment.”

Beatrice also competes in eventing with her Connemara and New Forest ponies and Mandy has a team of racing Shetlands who Hopper hacks out with back at home.

Speaking after the class this morning, Beatrice said: “He’s about 20cm smaller than the next pony in there, but I think his heart is 20 times bigger! It was a big track this year but he just carried me round and looked after me.”

Two other height sections took place in the TopSpec Arena earlier on in the day, making up the overall Championship.

A relatively new partnership in their first open season scooped the 143cm section; Mollie Mae Jeffrey riding Wayne Jeffrey’s Woodfield Jovial Joker. 14-year-old Mollie Mae has been riding the Connemara gelding, Jack, for 18 months and, at just seven years of age, he was the youngest pony in the field.

Mollie Mae is no stranger to the TopSpec Arena celebrating her second win at HOYS having claimed the 122cm section title in 2015 on Doylan Chilli Pepper, a pony who she also turned from a novice to a HOYS winner in little over a year.

Reflecting on the win today, she said: “I wasn’t expecting that at all! It’s amazing; he is so sweet and tried so hard.”

A nine-year-old rider clinched the 133cm section on her first time at HOYS. Ila Wingrove was given her pony Milford Fair Honeybee, or ‘Honey’ for short, on her fifth birthday and the mare is owned by her grandmother Gill Callaghan.

The 13-year-old Welsh Section B is entirely home produced; Ila rides after school and enjoys doing a bit of everything including Pony Club. She started out on the lead rein on Honey and has come on in leaps and bounds to claim one of showing’s most prestigious wins.

Speaking about Honey, Gill said: “She’s the perfect child’s pony. The smaller the child, the more she looks after them.”

Honey finished ninth in the same class at HOYS back in 2013, ridden by Xanthe De Wesselow.

Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrications Ltd are one of the country’s leading companies in the aggregate sector, supplying the 5 leading multi-nationals with a “one-stop-shop” of design/fabrication and installation in Quarries/Concrete and Asphalt Plants with anything from repairs & maintenance, inspections through to full plant design, fabrication and installation.

For information on Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrications Ltd, visit

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