Yesterday (11 November) was an exciting day for the Rufford branch of the Pony Club, with its members being crowned champion and runner-up in the Search for a Star finals at Your Horse Live.

Larchgrove Isabella and Emily Elliott (pictured top) took the SEIB Search for a Star Pony Club First Ridden Championship. The 20-year-old Welsh section B, known as Issy, performed an obedient individual show and the judges were very impressed with her conformation.

“She’s a really smart pony,” said judge Chris Hunnable. “She’s 20 years young and still in beautiful condition with no lumps or bumps. She’s really mannerly and has a real, ‘Look at me’ about her.” Fellow judge Katie Jerram-Hunnable complemented the mare’s “nice attitude” and said her jockey Emily “did a super job”.

Issy is a true all-rounder competing in all Pony Club activities, including hunter trials, showjumping and dressage, and was not phased by the exciting atmosphere and large audience at Your Horse Live.

Runner-up in this competitive class was Desabre Sparrow Hawk ridden by Lucia Cable from the Puckeridge branch. Sparrow Hawk went in a beautiful outline and judge Matthew Lawrence was impressed with his “polite way of going”. Third went to Nerwyn Leonardo and Annabel Fraser of the Cumberland Farmers Hunt North branch. Katie was pleased to see Annabel looked “completely happy” aboard Leonardo, who performed an impressive show, complete with a one-handed canter.

All-rounder Elvis takes top spot

Credit: SMR Photography

While fellow Rufford branch member Millie Croft and Welsh section A Black Osprey were runners-up in the SEIB Search for a Star Pony Club Lead Rein Championship, the premier position went to Thistledown Elpaso, ridden by North Warwickshire Pony Club member Emily Hiscox. Known as Elvis at home, the talented all-rounder pony. Katie was pleased to see Elvis’ handler was not interfering and Emily was “doing a great job”, even completing a round-the-world at the end of her individual show.

Matthew said Elvis was very true to type, describing him as a “very tidy pony who screamed Welsh section A at you”. The pair looked very at home in the show ring, but also enjoy lots of activities outside the arena together, including farm rides, tetrathlon, and Pony Club camp.

Millie and Black Osprey (Ozzy) also produced a beautiful individual show including a serpentine. Chris and Katie noticed that Ozzy’s handler was not having too much influence, allowing Millie to ride her “really lovely” pony freely. Third was Clearfell Bumblebee ridden by Florence Milczarek from the Wheatland branch. Katie said it was “really lovely to see” how much Florence enjoyed riding the Welsh section A.

Obedient and versatile

Credit: SMR Photography

Mid Surrey branch member Helena Kitchener won the SEIB Search for a Star Pony Club Open Championship with Cavan Mick. Mick produced a foot-perfect performance on the morning of the show which earnt him his winning place.

“He’s a really nice pony who could turn himself to anything,” said Katie, who was impressed with the gelding’s obedience in his individual show. “She didn’t ask too much [for the extended canter] and he obeyed. He did everything asked of him, he didn’t go crazy but went at the pace she asked for.”

Runner-up was Battlestown Jenny and Isobel Radford Jones of the Woodland Hunt branch. Katie complemented the grey mare’s easy way of going, and said she could see her doing dressage and if she jumped, working hunters. Third went to Phantoms Masquerade and Grace Adams of Ryburn Pony Club, who impressed the judges with her use of the ring.

The judges added that they were impressed with the high standard of all the Pony Club combinations, with ponies beautifully turned out and riders showing great performances.

Lead image by SMR Photography. 

Read our report from the Search for a Star in-hand championships here, featuring the first Shire at a Your Horse Live final, a former international showjumper and a working Highland.

Further reports from the Search for a Star Championships at Your Horse Live to follow, including today’s (12 November) Supreme Final.

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