Smooth as silk
Horse & Hound|April 22, 2021
A part-bred mare reigns in a breed role, last year’s supreme novice is recrowned and an Exmoor turns heads
TRICIA JOHNSON

BSPS Winter Championships, Arena UK, Lincs

TWO days of superb competition in glorious weather concluded with a masterclass display in the restricted winter supreme.

Judge Teresa Stratford had eight worthy finalists to consider, but there was no doubting the sheer class of Sharon Harrison’s home-bred mare Sarison Heavenly Silk (Lily) as she glided her way to the top spot as if on oiled wheels, beautifully ridden by local producer Lucy Glover.

Having earned her place in the supreme via the restricted part-bred section, the elegant bay mare oozed style, unhurried rhythm, and superb cadence throughout her individual show, leaving Teresa in no doubt of her result.

“It was poetry in motion,” said Teresa. “An absolutely beautiful animal with quality, balance, and presence from the moment it entered the ring.”

The daughter of Kilvington Scoundrel, out of the successful hack mare Royal Silk, has remained in restricted part-bred ranks after being unable to contest her final at Royal International (RIHS) in 2019 due to injury. Since Lucy is now out of intermediates, the aim for this season is hack and part-bred classes, before Lily is put in foal next term. This was their second outing of the year.

“I was gutted that I missed my final [intermediate] season on her last year [due to Covid], but I couldn’t wish for a better partner to go into horse ranks,” enthused Lucy, who also headed the RIHS part-bred section with Lily. “She always gives 100% and is a total pleasure to ride.”

“IT FELT VERY SPECIAL”

A FITTING champion emerged in the UK Ponies and Horses (UKPH) native section too, when Lynda Crayston’s magnificent Highland gelding, Balmoral Merlin, won strong intermediate and young rider amateur qualifiers and then collected the title for home-producer Sophie Barker, who has the 13-year-old on loan this term.

“He was bred by The Queen so for him to win today, on the sad weekend of the funeral of the late Duke of Edinburgh, was like a fairy tale,” said Lake District-based Sophie. “It felt very special.”

Team Forster/Jinks started the party on day one when the Caulfield family’s five-year-old show hunter pony Romanno Spot Of Distinction stood winter novice supreme champion for the second year running.

Due to Covid, some of last year’s prestigious winter titles were contested during the summer championships in August, and this was when Charlotte Caulfield’s 143cm contender first occupied the supreme novice spot.

However, despite this being only his second outing of the year and sixth in total, he did it again, impressing judges Simon and Natalie Reynolds this time to beat off six other supreme finalists in a fiercely fought contest.

“Our supreme was a supertype,” said Natalie. “It couldn’t be anything other than a show hunter pony. The jockey came out and really wanted to win. In her show, she captured our attention by galloping first, showing a smooth acceleration. The rest of the show was full of energy and covered the ground, and another gallop to finish sealed the deal.

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