Four-year-old Lilly Ahern-Lee landed the biggest win of her showing career to date when claiming the £1,000 Leaventhorpe supreme mini pony championship at the North of England Summer Pony Show held at Arena UK on 9 July.
Her winning partner was the lead-rein Barkway Sweet William, who behaved like a trooper in very wet conditions. By Barkway Bubbling Fun out of Barkway Sweet Pea, he won the supreme accolade at the British National Foal of the Year Show in 2010.
Lilly describes him as “my best friend” and they made their debut at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) last October, when they won their section. The pair have enjoyed several wins this season and have already booked their return passage to Birmingham.
As Lilly is so small, Team Ahern’s sponsor, Black Country Saddles, developed a bespoke strap to go from one D-ring to the other on the saddle for her to hold on to when in the ring, an aid that is permitted in lead-rein classes. But it would be hard to find a safer pony.
“William has impeccable manners,” said Lilly’s mother, Alex Ahern. “We had such a fab day at North of England.”
Indeed they did: also riding for Team Ahern were Georgina Holmes and Wilderness Early Bird, who picked up the £1,000 Michaela Wood supreme pony title. The team’s total haul included the two supremes, one reserve and two HOYS tickets, as well as other placings.