Kellie Cook, the recipient of a Dales Pony Society bursary, with 14-year-old Redlea JP  TM pics
Kellie Cook, the recipient of a Dales Pony Society bursary, with 14-year-old Redlea JP TM pics

THE Dales Pony Society annual spring stallion and breed show attracted entries from across the north when it was held at Streatlam Farm.

Numbers were down on previous years, but there was still plenty to catch the eye during a day of keen competition.

Show secretary Kate Waite said the prolonged wet weather had taken its toll on owners, delaying their preparations.

“Everybody is a bit later getting out this season, but it’s good for the people who have made it.”

Ms Waite said of those present there were a number of new society members who had entered for the first time.

“There are a number of families local to Barnard Castle who have bought ponies and are looking to set up studs. It’s really nice to see some new faces. That’s a real positive.”

Among those new faces was 26-year-old Lucy Mulley, from Startforth, who had brought along three-year-old Westwick Jonjo, bred by Middleton-in-Teesdale’s David Eccles.

“I bought him in November and this is our first Dales Pony show,” she said.

“I just like the breed. They are versatile, they have a nice temperament, a lot of presence – a good all round pony.”

Her pony finished a creditable fourth in the section for geldings aged one, two and three.

“He was very well behaved – I can’t fault him really,” added Lucy.

“We would like to do more shows and just to enjoy him.”

Also enjoying the day was Kellie Cook, who had come over from Redcar with her pony, 14-year-old Redlea JP – otherwise known as Thomas.

Ms Cook was the recipient of one of two bursaries offered each year by the Dales Pony Society to young riders aged under 30.

“The bursary is to use to train in whatever discipline you wish and I used it for dressage.”

Saturday’s event was Kellie’s second appearance at a breed show with Thomas.

“He has taken to showing very well – I would not have shown him in-hand last year.”

Kellie was competing against the eventual gelding champion, 16-year-old Westwick Paddy, another horse bred by David and Alison Eccles.

The champion was shown by Joanne Owens, who has kept him since he was a four-year-old.

The breed show was Paddy’s first appearance in the show ring since he suffered a serious leg injury three years ago.

“I wasn’t even going to bring him, but he is a favourite of mine. He is very special,” added Joanne, from Stanhope.

“With this one, when he was in his prime we did everything – dressage, show jumping and cross country.”

Among those who had come along to watch the ponies being put through their paces was dale county councillor Richard Bell.

He had come to present a trophy in memory of his late uncle Robert Sanderson.

“This trophy is for the best in-hand pony bred within 30 miles of Barnard Castle,” he explained.

“My uncle was a breeder and he was a passionate supporter of keeping the Dales Pony breed alive in the dales.”