The 2012 Pony European Championships held in Fontainebleau, France at the end of July saw some brilliant performances from British bred ponies. The event consisted of the FEI European Pony Dressage, Eventing and Jumping Championships and GB sent teams to compete in each of the disciplines. There are also several British bred ponies that have been receiving awards in young pony classes across the disciplines.
At the 2012 Pony European Championships, the winners of both the Team and Individual Gold medals were Millie Allen (age 14) with Peter Allen’s 9 year-old bay mare Song Girl. Although Song Girl’s breeding is not recorded, she is thought to have been bred in the UK. Millie and Song Girl also won the CSIOP Grand Prix at Fontainebleau in April and were in the winning Nations Cup team and 2nd in the Grand Prix at Hagen in June.
The top (confirmed) British bred Jumping pony at the Championship was the Individual Silver Medal winner, Rock Dee Jay, ridden and owned by Lisa Nooren of the Netherlands. Lisa has been riding Rock Dee Jay for less than a year as he was a key member of the 2011 Silver medal winning Irish team and then finished 11th individually ridden by Max O’Reilly Hyland. Rock Dee Jay was bred by Sharon Quigley and is out of Sharon’s now deceased Grand Prix dressage mare, Dee Jays Rio Grande. Rock Dee Jay is by the top jumping stallion, Arko III (who represented GB at the 2004 Olympics as well as being number one show jumper in Europe for 3 successive years), and is registered with the Anglo European Studbook (AES).
The 2011 Pony Europeans Jumping Champions, Beth Vernon and the British-bred Sports Pony Studbook Society (SPSS) Elite graded mare, Falaza, have also had a successful season, winning the Pony of the Year JA Grand Prix for the second year running. Falaza is registered with Sports Horse (GB) and is by Libro out of her breeder Jane Fowles’ competition mare Chatter (by the Irish Draught, Embla George).
Members of the Silver medal winning British Eventing team at the Pony European Championships were the British-bred mare, Bandalera and her owner and rider, Essex based Madeleine Taylor. (Hooked on Horses very own columnist) Bandalera, who is by Ski Dancer out of Lodor Wenci (a Welsh Section D by Corston Comet), is a 17 year old liver chestnut part bred Welsh pony who also competed with Madeleine at the 2011 Pony Europeans when they finished 8th individually. Madeleine now hopes to breed from Bandalera.
Among the young British-bred event ponies showing potential is the 6 year old Carnsdale Sunnyside, who was the Sports Pony Studbook Society (SPSS) Potential Eventing Pony Champion in 2011 ridden by 12 year old Ant Woodbine. “Sunny” was bred by Mr A E Bewley and is an Irish Sport Horse by MJ Fine Art (Irish Sports Horse) out of a TB mare by Looking Glass. Sunny’s sire, MJ Fine Art competes at Grand Prix dressage and has won over 500 British Dressage points. Another potential eventing star, the SPSS graded mare, Bernwode Nairobi and owner/rider Alice Jones would have competed at the 2012 Badminton Grassroots Championships had it not been cancelled. Nairobi was bred by Bernwode Stud and is by Nibelungenheld IV out of Bernwode Mandy (who is by the Thoroughbred Apslau xx).
Going against the fashion for German or Dutch bred ponies in Dressage this year has been the British-bred native pony, FEH Tirpentwys Del Boy. Del Boy is a 7 year old Welsh Section D gelding, by Thorneyside The Godfather out of Tirpentwys Lady Valerie (by Poundy Brenin) and he was bred by Mrs & Mrs V Powell in Wales. Ridden by Jessica Wade, they started the year by becoming the Pet Plan Finals Elementary Open Championships (competing against horses and adult riders). They then represented GB at the International Pony Dressage Competitions at Addington (UK), Moorsele (Belgium) and Vierzon (France) where they finished 7th in the Pony Team Test.
Another British bred pony succeeding in dressage is the young (just 5 years old) Sports Pony Studbook Society (SPSS) graded pony stallion and BEF Futurity graduate, LE Chiffre, who with rider Becky Moody has more than held his own against horses and qualified for the British Dressage National Championships (at Elementary Open) in his first competition season. LE Chiffre was bred by Bev Brown of Leamside Equestrian and is owned by her daughter, Sam. He is by their SPSS Elite dressage stallion Caesar 171 out of a German-bred mare whose ancestors include the famous sire and competition pony, Dancer.
More information about the Sports Pony Studbook Society (SPSS) can be found at www.sportpony.org.uk The SPSS’s aim is to encourage the breeding of successful competition ponies in the UK and as well as supporting breeders, also sponsors Championships for Young (4, 5 & 6 year old) dressage, jumping and eventing ponies.
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