The Blue Chip Pony Newcomers Championship opened the show jumping at Horse of the Year Show on day two at the NEC, Birmingham, and it lived up to its reputation as an outstanding springboard for young riders.
First contested at HOYS 37 years ago, former winners include current world number one eventer and Olympic gold medallist Oliver Townend; the class once again delivered a thrilling spectacle.
It was a special day for Leicestershire teenager Tabitha Kyle, who completed a hat-trick of Horse of the Year Show titles. Tabitha claimed a double in the 128cm and 138cm pony classes three years ago, and a scintillating performance aboard Coppenhagh Khalessi, owned by her mother Tanya, put them way clear of the field.
A jump-off masterclass saw them clock 28.77 seconds, winning by more than three seconds from runner-up Ruby Barrs, riding Conella, with Fergal Holohan finishing third on Little Flexible. “My pony has never been in a ring like this before – nowhere with a big crowd – so I had no idea what to expect from her, but she went in there and jumped amazingly,” said Tabitha.
“She did everything I asked for in the arena. She turned when I wanted, she jumped when I wanted. I have accomplished a lot – there are so many people I want to thank – and it is always amazing to win at this show.”
It has been a fantastic week for Tabitha who had been crowned the 2022 Leading Pony Rider at this year's British Showjumping awards ball.