The last day of Olympia, Sunday 22 December, will play host to one of the most prestigious Showing finals in the country, The BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by LeMieux. A place in the Olympia final is the most coveted prize within the native pony ranks and competition to qualify for Olympia has been greater than ever.
The 2019 final will welcome ponies and riders from around the country, including last year’s Reserve Supreme Overall Champion, Cadlanvalley Buzby and 14-year old Libby Grota. Following a hugely successful year, Libby returns to Olympia determined to go one better than 2018 and clinch the top prize aboard her family’s home-bred Welsh Section B stallion.
Libby will face competition from old rival Emma Boardman, owner and producer of last year’s third-placed Dyffryngwy Sir Picasso, a Welsh Section D who scored the highest performance marks at Olympia in 2018.
Competing at Olympia Grand for the first time will be nine-year-old Olivia Brightmore, with her home-produced Shetland Pony Lotuspoint Cassisus. The pair qualified at the BSPS Heritage Championships, where they also won the Restricted Open Ridden Small Breeds and the Open Ridden Small Breeds, an astounding feat given it was the young rider’s first attempt at open level. Following her qualification, Olivia described her debut at Olympia as “beyond exciting”.
Another to make her debut at the Show will be April Gilmartin with her home-produced Gems Malt Whiskey. Blackpool-based April, a beautician, and her mother Kathleen, a former champion ballroom dancer, bought ‘Malty’ as a two-year-old, and form the ultimate amateur team, producing the Welsh Section C at home. Qualifying for Olympia at the BSPS Heritage Championships on their first attempt was extra special for the team as it will provide trainer Pam Prickett, who is battling cancer, the chance to tick off a major event on her bucket list.
Also taking to the Olympia Grand for the first time will be Skellorn Royal Anniversary, the Welsh Section B star of the Netflix series ‘Free Rein’, owned and ridden by Victoria Oakes. Conversely, it will be the last-ever appearance under saddle for Lynda Calcutt’s Dartmoor stallion Shilstone Rocks North Westerly, as the prolific winner will retire at the Show. Ridden by regular partner Chloe Chubb, they recently won their final class at Horse of the Year Show and will hope to bow out in style at Olympia.
The Final of the BSPS Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by LeMieux will take place on the afternoon of Sunday 22 December, alongside 5* Show Jumping action and displays from The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and Jean-François Pignon.
Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “The quality of the National classes at Olympia is improving year-on-year, and really adds to the Show. It’s a privilege to see the next generation of riders coming up through the ranks and be able to provide a unique opportunity for them to be able to compete amongst their heroes at a 5* Show like Olympia.”
In addition to the National classes, spectators can also expect top international action, as the Show hosts three FEI World Cup™ competitions across the seven-day event, in Dressage, Driving and Show Jumping, alongside an exciting array of international display acts and competitions. New features, such as the ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ masterclass, will join old favourites such as The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National and classes such as The Cayenne Puissance and the prestigious Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix to provide entertainment for the whole family.