New Pony Champions are crowned at the Blue Chip Show Jumping Championships

Monday 08 April 2024

New Pony Champions are crowned at the Blue Chip Show Jumping Championships

New champions were crowned and one lucky rider retained her title in the exciting Pony Finals at the Blue Chip Show Jumping Championships at its new home, Addington Manor Equestrian Centre, Buckinghamshire.

Emily Flockett gained the Blue Chip Pro Sparkle JC/JA Championship with one of only two double clears on ESM Equestrian’s Silver Scott in the feature Pony Final.

“He’s such a calm and gentle pony and loves jumping,” said Emily, who thanked ESM Equestrian profusely for the ride on her current National 1.10m Restricted Rider champion, the Irish-bred 15-year-old Silver Scott she has ridden for two years.  “He’s so friendly and loving, he loves people more than horses.”

Twenty-eight competitors initially bid for the title over a 12-fence 1.15/1.20m handicap course with 10 posting clear rounds – five JC ponies pitted against five more experienced JA ponies.

Poles fell as riders chased the clock attempting to set a fast target and it was left to Lola Thulborn to take an early lead with a clear round in the JC section on Tempo 2 Stroke.  However, Emily found the shortest route over the raised JA track with smooth, deceptively quick lines to wipe 1.40 seconds off the leading time and claim the title.

“The fences were tight off the corners, you really had to ride forward on the track all the way, but in the jump-off, although there was only one double clear before me, I knew I just had to go for it,” said Emily, who will aim for the Summer Pony Premiers this season.

Hollie Gerken wrapped up the annual five-day event with victory in the Bliss of London Coral Winter Championship with the highly-rated Livewire IV, a surprise birthday present in November.

Nine of the 36 entries forward contended the jump-off over a 1.10m 12-fence course, Hollie taking advantage of the eight-year-old mare’s ground-eating stride to win with 2.77 seconds to spare. Ruby Birchenough second place on Lord French with Zea Adams filling third spot riding Lyndhurst Apache.

“I angled the first fence and knew she’d turn straightaway and I got in a couple more tight turns and took out a stride to the last – that won it,” said Hollie, 14, who has high hopes for this mare and will target Pony Newcomers and Foxhunter Second Rounds this summer.  “At home, she’s buzzy but in the ring, she concentrates on the fences.”

“I had my plan and knew I had to go for it, there were so many in the jump-off,” said Sienna Palin, after retaining her Bliss of London Pony Sapphire Winter Championship on Agharanny Chloe Clover, won last year riding Kado D.

Twenty-three from a field of 61 returned for the jump-off after posting a clean sheet over the 12-fence 1m track, Sienna setting out her intentions to the letter to win by 0.58 seconds.

The nine-year-old mare from Cavan Sales, Ireland, and carrying Boherdeal Clover x Poetic Justice bloodlines, joined Sienna, 16, in the early part of 2023.

“We met problems at first – she wouldn’t go forward and kept bucking.  We had tests done but they couldn’t find anything wrong with her at first, then we found out she had ulcers and needed a tooth extraction.  We eventually got going late last year,” said Sienna, who hit form in the winter season of 2024 and qualified for the Royal International JC Final.

Tabitha Travis executed every conceivable ultra-tight turn on the twisting jump-off track to take the Eskadron Pony Discovery title on Starflower.

Twenty-one from the original field of 86 made their way into the jump-off with Tabitha and Starflower outpacing all rivals by 2.78 seconds.  Mia Stathopoulos slotted Killea Tina into second and Rachael Stewart slipped Coldwell Brennin DDU into third.

The 18-year-old mare Starflower (Templebready Fear Bui x Puissance) joined Tabitha six months ago through friend Bizzy Loffet. 

“She’s an ex-eventer and Bizzy thought showjumping would be an easier life and we would give her a lovely home,” said Tabitha, 13. “She’s very keen and loves jumping; she’ll bolt into the arena.  She’s more settled at home but can be wild in the field, she just enjoys her work.”

Daisy Newman celebrated in style in the Pikeur Pony Novice Championship with Party For Cornflakes, making her Blue Chip debut a winning one and recording her biggest championship win.

A huge entry of 107 were whittled down to 27 for the jump-off over the 90cm course but Daisy found all the shortcuts to command victory by almost three seconds.  Pip Loveman eased Blakeneys Boy into second ahead of third-placed Gracie Maw on Creggaun Sparrow Dun.

The German-bred seven-year-old has been with Essex-based Daisy for a little over 12 months.

“He can be fresh, cheeky and gets very excited at shows but always helps me out, especially when I miss a stride and she always tries her best,” said Daisy, 13, who relied on trainer Ronnie Jones’ advice – “Turn as tight as I could and keep my leg on.”

Image credit: Hoofprint Photography

 
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