WINNER: Emma Eccles, from Middleton-in-Teesdale, with her dad David;s pony, Westwick Polly, the overall spring show supreme in hand pony
WINNER: Emma Eccles, from Middleton-in-Teesdale, with her dad David;s pony, Westwick Polly, the overall spring show supreme in hand pony

IT was all systems go for officials at Richmond Equestrian Centre last month when two Dales Pony Society events were held at once.
Covid-19 restrictions meant the Dales Pony Society annual spring and stallion show couldn’t take place in May, so it was run alongside their new summer festival on Saturday, June 26.
Grey clouds threatened for most of the day, but rain held off with just a slight drizzle, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the hardy dales folk.
Rene Bradley, Dales Pony Society secretary, said: “The weather was kind to us and everyone seemed to be smiling and happy to finally be back out doing what they love.
“We had four rings running incorporating 46 classes which included all spring show and festival classes.”
First into the ring were the affiliated classes where judge Colin Turner, from Lancashire, found his NPS Picton winner with Abigail Gotts’ four-year-old Carrock Comet, beautifully ridden by usual jockey Sarah Field. Affiliate ridden champion was also found here with Anna Metcalf’s Castle Hill Crystal taking reserve.
The Horse of the Year Show Mountain and Moorland ridden pony of the year qualifier had previously been part of the Dale Pony Society’s summer show but was moved to the festival.
“The standard of the ridden ponies put forward would not have been out of place if they had been in the lineup for the prestigious HOYS final,” Ms Bradley added.
Judges Amanda Wallace and Colin Turner gave the golden ticket to Mrs Lynda Johnson’s Tarbarl Hogmanay, ably ridden by Vikki Smith.
Later in the afternoon there was a high standard of ponies on show in the affiliate in hand classes. Mr and Mrs R and F Longstaff’s Lowhouses Lisa was named Youngstock Champion with Theodora Hopkins’ Ridgelane Raven as reserve champion.
In the senior section, the weekend ended on a high for Claire Crow, whose broodmare, Castle Hill Rose III, had already picked up Overall Supreme in hand Dales Pony at the Royal Cheshire County Show. She took the championship and also went on to finish the day as overall affiliated in-hand champion as well as HOYS in hand semi-final qualifier.
The reserve champion and NPS in hand Silver Medal rosette went to Tina Morro’s Lowhouses Clover.
The Dressage Prelim and Novice classes, judged by Sarah Farrand, were clinched by Lynda Johnson’s Tarbarl Hogmanay, who stable name is Charlie. The win qualifies Charlie not only for the Horse of the Year Show, but the NPS Dressage finals to be held in 2022.
“Lynda was over the moon as she normally rides Charlie herself for the dressage,” added Ms Bradley.
Second in both class was Linda Gray’s Rowhurst Rosie, who will also be off to the dressage finals as both first and second placed competitors qualify.
Judge John Elliott Jnr found his champion in hand pony in the unaffiliated classes after lunch, with Grace Snowden’s Tudor Primrose. Ridden champion was Rebecca Stewart’s Westwick Rudy and reserve champion Kate Wilson’s Carrock Beauty.
The spring show in hand classes are always hotly contested with some of the best examples of the breed coming forward. Judge for the day was Jill Graham. Taking the top spot in the in hand section a youngstock was Kate Wilson’s Carrock Fashion with reserve going to Mrs J Pennell’s Nipna Polly.
David Eccles’ Westwick Polly won the senior mare class and overall in hand champion. The reserve spot was taken by second placed mare from the senior mare class, Everett Hayes and Sarah Noble’s Stuffynwood Beauty’s Magic.
Ms Bradley said: “Both of these ponies were ably shown by junior members of the family. Emma Eccles handling Westwick Polly and Stuffynwood Beauty’s Magic shown by Everett’s young son Jim.
“He said it was ‘epic’ to be beating his dad who was also in the ring with another pony. These two youngsters really are a chip off the old blocks. Move over dads as the kids are taking over.”
Roger Muttitt made the long trip north from Hampshire to judge the geldings and section mares. Christine Lambert’s Tudor Raven was gelding champion with Laura Pennell’s Nipna Napoleon in Reserve.
The spring show traditional ridden classes were judged by Claire Crow. Champion spot went to Tina Morro’s Lowhouses Clover with reserve champion going to Kate Wilson’s Carrock Beauty.
She added: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our judges, stewards and officials for all their hard work before and during the event. Richmond Equestrian Centre was an excellent venue, and we hope to be back again there next year for the 2022 Festival.”
The society is looking forward to the summer breed show which is scheduled to take place at Streatlam, near Barnard Castle. on August 7 when it is hoped all pandemic restrictions will finally have been lifted.