It’s every show rider’s dream to be one of the lucky ones chosen to visit Santa Claus at the world famous, Olympia Horse Show. Since the BSPS took over the qualifying system in 2012, there are only a handful of direct qualifiers available to the M&M Final held in London in December. For the rest, Olympia Semi-Final tickets must be won which entails a trip to the BSPS Heritage Championships held in Lincolnshire.
At the Heritage Championships there are a range of classes that enable qualification to the finals, the Exmoor breed is guaranteed at least one pony represented at Olympia with a breed-only qualifier which for this year was won by Dunkery Wigeon. It is not very often the Exmoors have more than one representative forward, but this year, Sweetcombe Sunmaker was one of the rare ponies to make it through after picking up 3rd place in the Dartmoor, Shetland & Exmoor qualifying class along with two other ponies of different breeds (1st & 2nd places).
Let’s find out a bit more about the Exmoor ponies that are London bound…………..
Sweetcombe Sunmaker 215/39
Sweetcombe Sundew x Heineken
Owned by Vicki & Clare Casey.
Ridden by Vicki Casey.
Vicki told us that Sweetcombe Sunmaker, known at home as ‘Spike’ is “a little legend!” She goes on, “I got him in January this year, he’s previously been doing a bit of everything. He’s qualified RIHS as a flat this season but I didn’t take him, only because I’d never been before and had also qualified my Connemara so [I] took him instead.” Spike has was originally purchased to be Vicki’s Mum’s pony and he’s spent this summer building up her confidence to be able to return to the show ring. Vicki has also taken a shine to Spike and has enjoyed jumping him and also taking him to shows where he always aims to please. Vicki says “The Olympia Semi-Final was our first serious class together; to qualify was amazing! He felt incredible and gave me the best ride! I’m kicking myself for not doing the HOYS with him but I think the best is yet to come. He’s got a HUGE personality with the biggest heart and he’s our superstar!”
We wish Vicki, Clare and Spike all the best of luck at Olympia!
Dunkery Godwit x Dunkery Corn Bunting
Owned by Maureen Richardson.
Ridden by Hayley Reynolds.
Maureen told us that Wigeon is a very special, a once in a lifetime pony for her and her husband, Paul, that makes dreams come true. “He [Wigeon] went overall champion at the Royal Highland Show this year, which was a big shock to everyone. He has been to HOYS three times being placed 3rd and highest placed Exmoor this year and he has also qualified for Olympia three times along with three visits to the Royal International” says Maureen. Wigeon has provided Maureen’s Buttondown Herd of Exmoor Ponies with some lovely offspring, and she plans that he will come home to cover some more mares in the spring.
We wish Maureen, Hayley and Wigeon all the best at Olympia!