Melanie and Gemma Stanford topped off a superb season with their Highland ponies when Ben Breac of Croila landed the overall supreme at the BSPS Heritage Championships at Arena UK last weekend (October 17-18).
Ben Breac, who won the Royal Windsor in-hand supreme two years running in 2013 and 2014 and the ridden honours last May, also collected his ticket for next year’s Royal International Horse Show. And for good measure, the Stanfords’ dun stallion Tower Clyde booked his place in the Olympia Heritage ridden supreme in December.
“Weekends like this don’t happen very often,” said Gemma Stanford, with admirable understatement. “Clyde won a huge Olympia qualifier at the Heritage Championships and will be joining Ben Breac there. He has redeemed himself after his big leap at Horse of the Year Show [he was somewhat over exuberant in his class]. And Breac wasn’t going to be left out so he was RIHS champion, Blue Riband winner and supreme of show.”
Landing the supreme is always an achievement, but more so here as the quantity and quality of entrants at the championships continue to rise.
Native pony specialist Sam Roberts landed the overall Heritage Blue Riband ridden pony of the year with the Welsh section D Rivervalley Flash Jack, who also picked up his Olympia and RIHS qualification. Among her other victories, Greendown Ozzy won three classes for the Lemieux family as well as a reserve and a championship. Birkinbrook Cello headed the novice working hunter ponies and was “red” champion; and Glencarrig Marble qualified for Olympia.
“We had the most incredible Heritage championships,” said Roberts. “It was absolutely amazing, what a show.”
For the Blue Riband, she beat another M&M producer, Sarah Parker, with the BSPS Summer Championships supreme, Menai Thomas. Sarah took 10 ponies in total and spent a lot of time rushing from ring to ring.
“It was a logistical nightmare, trying to make sure I was in the right ring at the right time with the right pony and wearing the right number,” she said.
Image: Ben Breac Of Croila, Real Time Imaging/Steve Dawe