Header photograph by Victoria Eveleigh
Exmoor Pony Breed Show
All photography by kind permission of Peter Yates.
The Exmoor Pony Society’s Breed Show is a calendar highlight for any enthusiast of our special mealy muzzles and this year was yet again, a true showcase of beautiful ponies from across the British Isles. The supreme championship was awarded to the Welsh born stallion, Coedywern Nimrod. Owned and bred by Ruth & Dai Thomas, Nimrod stayed fresh throughout the day to clinch the title ahead of the HOYS bound, Blackthorn Panther, a 6 year old gelding owned and ridden by Lisa Curant. Lisa was delighted to head up the strong class and secure the pony’s first visit to Horse of the Year Show.
The in-hand ring was awash with quality ponies and the day began with the Gelding Championship being presented to the moorbred Tawbitts Euan, owned and bred by Gill Langdon and Jackie Ablett and the reserve went to Rachael Fear’s Mystical Master Bee, a 3 year old, bred by The Please Family and recently purchased by Rachael who hopes to ride him in the future. Rachael said: “I’m really thrilled, it’s taken a long time to get there as he’s a handful, so I’m going to take it [his riding] very slowly but I’m super excited about his future”.
The mare championship was headed up by Wendy Vint’s 14 year old homebred Dunkery Pratincole, produced and shown by her daughter, Joanna Webber, with Fiona Dickson’s 9 year old, Nereid Cosmic, who was 2nd in the senior mare class, taking the reserve championship. Joanna Webber’s day continued to get better as not only did the Dunkery ponies win both of the mare classes but Dunkery Black Grouse also headed up the yearling class before standing Youngstock Champion and then going on to stand Reserve Overall In-hand Champion only beaten by Coedywern Nimrod, the handsome stallion bred by Ruth and Dai Thomas who went all the way to take the Supreme of show title.
There were some lovely ponies forward in all of the Youngstock sections with the 3 year old class winner, Finchcroft Mabel, bred by Jackie Wharton and owned and shown by Jen Bacon taking the Youngstock Reserve Champion prize. Mabel is another pony destined for a ridden future with Jen saying “I’m so proud of this little filly today, she’s been setting a good example to her travelling companion [yearling filly Seomar Karoo – bred by Jen and her friend Penny Beattie] and is finally now taking everything in her stride after being quite a handful as a yearling and a 2 year old! I’m hoping to back her next spring but I’m not in any rush – good things come to those who wait!”
The riddens were well supported all day with the HOYS line up looking particularly impressive in front of the moorland backdrop (see header photo). Blackthorn Panther, ridden by Lisa Curant, gave a great performance secure their golden ticket with second place being awarded to the new partnership, Bemborough Tia Maria and Suzy Pound – a combination that is certainly one to watch for next year! Proving Exmoor ponies really can make the most outstanding children’s ponies, moorbred Tawbitts Golden Toffee Two won the leading reins with 6 year old Lowenna Payne and was then piloted by Harry Payne to win the first riddens. Eight year old Harry had only started riding again five days before the show when both him and Toffee Two went off the lead rein for the first time, Harry said “I had to be really brave to do it, but I’m proud of myself that I did”. Lowenna climbed back on for the championship where Toffee Two was awarded the Moorbred Championship and Reserve Ridden Champion to Blackthorn Panther.
The show also played host to the Annual Young Judges Competition. Now in it’s second year, the competition attracted competitors from far and wide who had qualified in regional rounds for this final. The competition was won by Robyn Westcott with Charlotte Matravers winning the junior section. Robyn, who’s family own the Herd 1 Exmoors, is a keen enthusiast of the breed and not only won a fabulous trophy & rosette but also collected a cash prize from the EPS’ Pam Ney Legacy which she is going to put towards starting university in September.