Perfection steals the show

A four-year-old-novice show pony mare, Huntroyde Perfection, ridden by 12-year-old Rebecca O'Neill, was crowned Light Horse Champion and Champion of Champions at the Northumberland County Show.

A four-year-old-novice show pony mare, Huntroyde Perfection, ridden by 12-year-old Rebecca O'Neill, was crowned Light Horse Champion and Champion of Champions at the Northumberland County Show.

In the main arena Rebecca, sporting her Show Pony title sash, and her pony stood rock solid and unfazed in front of the best cattle and sheep champion exhibits.

This was the first time an equine had pulled off the overall county title since the 2002 bad weather show when at the time horse champions were unchallenged against agricultural livestock.

The title then went to Agricultural horse champion, local Humshaugh dairy farmer Mat Robinson and his two-year-old Clydesdale filly Cocklaw Lady Di.

Chasing Royal International qualifiers, Huntroyde Perfection co-owner Debra O'Neill said: "We've had a very good day. This is the pony's first season under saddle.

"The pony has now won four Novice Championships and two RI qualifiers including 13.2hh Show pony at BSPS Winter Championships.

"We now intend resting the pony before second phase of the Horse of the Year Show qualifiers."

Other Templeton-produced pony wins included the Cooper Corporation-owned Lead Rein Show Pony Champion Cosford Persica - a black five-year-old mare ridden by Supreme M&M Mini Champion Myles Cooper, who qualified for the RI at BSPS Area 1A.

Older brother Mike Cooper meanwhile rode 2005 RI winner, the grey Connemara Village Fayre, to bag the BSPS Heritage M&M Open Ridden.

Rebecca O'Neill rode the 13hh Show Hunter Pony Whalton Whizz Kid to take a Reserve Championship and qualify for the RI.

It is fair to say Bob Templeton is one of the leading show pony producers in the country with 16 HOYS winners to his credit.

The Templeton yard has 12 ponies of all shapes and sizes qualified for the 2006 Royal International.

In a good entry Ridden Hunter section, sister double act Louise Walby and Joanne Pybus bagged Champion and Reserve on their first County visit in several years.

Louise, riding her own middle eight-year-old dapple grey gelding, Ozier Hill, said: "I bought this horse a year ago coming from Border hunting country.

He won the Royal Show Ladies Hunter class and landed an eighth place at HOYS in 2005.

"So far I haven't done much with him this season apart from wins in Amateur Hunter class at North-East Counties and a Middlewight at Dabbs Equine Centre.

"I'm going to aim him at Ladies Hunter classes for the rest of the season but the ride will be handed over to my sister because I'm expecting a second child."

Reserve Champion sister Joanne rode Victoria Dowdeswell's Goodwill Hunting, a successful small hunter with a minor HOYS placing, in 2005. The owner rode this horse in the County Intermediate Show Hunter class to take third place.

Scottish ponies dominated both Open and Novice Working Hunter Pony championships.

The first Open went to 11-year-old Buccleuch Pony Club member Isabella Innes Ker and her all round 11-year-old bay gelding, Landswood Jack of Diamonds. by the sire Eyarth Rowan.

Her mother, the Duchess of Roxburghe, said: "The pony jumped a perfect round and gave a good show both in his class and in the championship.

"It's his first championship in three shows and I'm delighted to say they qualified for the RI Nursery Stakes at Kendal BSPS Area 1B show back in April."

Billy Moran's Hunter Breeding younstock were unstoppable again last week on their second 2006 outing, adding to the show's Champion and Reserve record built up over the last six seasons.

His home bred yearlings, the reserve Look North and Willow Park, were pulled in one and two.

The brown gelding Look North, by the sire Primital Proposal, was on his first outing as a yearling and credits as a foal included championships at Dumfries and Yorkshire Sport Horse shows.

A repeat performance came for his Louella Stud bred two year old's show champion Dewsberry Park and Arlington Park by the sire Primitive Proposal.

Moran said: "We bought them as foals and are both out of Irish draught mares.

"Dewsberry Park, a brown filly, was shown a couple of times last season and left to mature.

"It was good to get back on firm ground at Northumberland County after our worst ever first outing at Otley where our wagon was dragged on and off the show field in heavy driving rain.

"My two-year-old Arlington Park was pulled in at the top but conditions were so bad my horses were sinking in up to their fetlocks."

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