'Best' Christmas present as Hilda finishes in the Olympia ribbons
Thirty Eight Mountain and Moorland ponies came forward for the prestigious BSPS Supreme championship at Olympia Horse Show last Sunday. Three ponies from the South West put on a fantastic display to be rewarded with the Best of Breed sashes.
Molly Simpson rode Wendy Bridge's Holmedown Chicago to claim the best Highland sash and also picked up a superb ninth place, matching their success at this year's Horse of the Year show. Wendy, of Holmedown Stud, Exeter, said: "we are absolutely over the moon with how Hilda [Chicago] performed at Olympia. Qualifying for the final was our last dream to come true after we were second at HOYS last year, but to get a placing and best of breed was the best Christmas present. She was also the only owner bred pony to be in the top ten – Molly has done such a wonderful job producing her."
The pair qualified at the BSPS Heritage Championships, winning a huge semi-final class and have been incredibly successful in the show ring this year with championships at Devon County, Okehampton and NPS Area 10 (Devon) spring show where they also collected the supreme, as well as their HOYS ticket at the Three Counties show.
Hilda was one of only six mares qualified and claimed the highest performance marks in her Fells, Dales and Highlands section.
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Molly, who has ridden her for the last two seasons, said: "Our results at Olympia completely exceeded our expectations and we were thrilled to get the best of breed, but a placing as well was fantastic from this special Highland. This was our last ride in the ring together and I couldn't have imagined a more perfect ending."
Holmedown Chicago will now return to Wendy's stud to become a broodmare.
The popular Shetland, Sharptor Laser Red, owned by Julian Walters of the Sharptor stud in Okehampton, claimed the best of breed sash over his stable-mate, Sapphire Classic. Alice Barr, who has produced him for the past two years, was thrilled with her last ride on him, saying: "I chose to ride Lion [Laser Red] at the final because he will be returning to stud next season – he has been a joy to ride."
The delightful Exmoor mare, Blackthorn Blush Rose also collected her best of breed sash. Owned by Ann Nicholls, this seven-year-old was a winner at HOYS last year under Katy Marriott-Payne.