Irish Eyes are Smiling

A magnificent Connemara stallion won the BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by LeMieux. Sandra Burton and Joe Burke’s Banks Timber was bred in Denmark by Peter Bank Mikkelson, bought as a yearling from sales in Galway, Ireland, by Mr Burke, who had flown over for the day at Olympia, and arrived as an unbroken six-year-old at Mrs Burton’s Connemara pony stud in Lancashire.

The 10-year-old grey, by Teglstrup Duke out of Bank Squares Do Do, shuttles between here and Ireland for stud duties and has won at the Royal International at Dublin and was third and best of breed last year at Olympia.

“He’s the pony of a lifetime, an absolute treasure,” said Mrs Burton. “I’m quite lost for words!”

The full panoply of Britain’s native pony breeds – Welsh Sections A, B, C and D, Shetland, Dartmoor, Connemara, New Forest, Exmoor, Dales and Fell – were on view and made quite some sight as they filled the arena in Olympia’s Great Hall.

Reserve champion was Cadlanvalley Buzby, a Welsh Section B stallion by Russetwood Elation out of Stockham Domino, owned and bred by Hayley Grota and ridden by 13-year-old Liberty Grota in her first season with the pony.