06 June 2011

British title taken by new face on Pony Eventing scene

I adore ponies.  My first equine was a tiny 12hh black point bay. She was a bit of a stinker but I adored her. She was my friend through thick and thin.  It broke my heart when I outgrew her. But until I did, she was the best friend I possessed.  Congratulations to Tor and Chit Chat! ~ed

Victoria Smith and Chit Chat III -  Adam Fanthorpe Photography.

Rising Eventing star, Victoria ‘Tor’ Smith from Oxfordshire, was crowned 2011 Charles Owen British Pony champion over the weekend at the stunning Shropshire location of Brand Hall near Market Drayton with Phoebe Russel’s pony Chit Chat III in a top ten which included several of the Gold Medal winning British team from the 2010 Pony Europeans.

Fourteen year old Victoria only started her British Eventing Pony Trial campaign this season, riding both Chit Chat III and also the more experienced Daraks Tonto in the Charles Owen Pony series. Victoria lead over the weekend from the dressage phase on a score of 36.9 and put in foot perfect cross country and showjumping rounds to take the title.

Riders contested the Three Day Event format competition under the watchful eyes of the British Pony Team Selectors in effort to gain a place in this year’s European championships to defend the European title.

Chairman of Selectors, Sarah Hancox said: “We were so delighted with the level of competitors this year, every rider was so professional and the general attitude around the competition was just so fantastic; parents and families all joined in and supported each other’s children which meant we had a lovely atmosphere as well as great competition.”

In an effort to encourage new riders to get to know the more established Pony trial competitors, Sarah organized informal teams of four to participate in a quiz on the first evening of the competition, then their overall scores were added together which helped simulate team competition and encourage riders to support one another.

Team selections for the 2011 European Championships in Poland at Jaskowo (26-31 June) will be announced later this week.

The Charles Owen Pony Program is both a competition and training programme to produce a team that will represent Great Britain as well as coach and develop riders for Pony teams of the future. Riders are aged between their 12th and 16th birthday riding ponies between 142cm and 148cm in height.

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