Some said it was too ‘different’ for Tortola, some wondered whether they would like it, while others had no idea what to expect.
However, in every comment and reaction to the Highland Spring Horse and Pony Show, was the phrase “beyond our wildest expectations…”
Countryside Adventures predicted a country spectacle for all the family, not to be missed and the 400 visitors that took them up on that, and came out to Diamond Estate Farm and Country Centre last Saturday were treated to nothing less.
There was truly continual action on the competition side of the fence with classes beginning with The Boys Stables sponsored ‘Best Turned out Horse or Pony’.
Rodney Simmonds more at home on the race track winning the trophies, was on hand to present the rosettes at the end of the class, relying on the word of the judges including Mrs. Eileene Parsons, Mrs. Letty Hodge and Antonio Cordero.
Freya Childs and the pretty, bay mare ‘Shuffle’, won for their presentation ahead of some incredible looking outfits and work put into braiding, dressing and imaginative themes of nine contenders.
Next up was the ‘Best Led Pony’ class sponsored by Forbes Hare and judged by Dr. Laura Palminteri of Canine Cats and Critters.
These riders all young beginners, did a great job assisted where necessary by leaders. This class was won by Madison Smith on Chippy and the prizes were presented by Jose Santos.
The riding events began with competitors split into two age groups – the younger children being given a course to follow by the judge and marked on their ability to handle the pony, their confidence and technique.
The older riders were asked to do a slightly longer course, both at a walk and a trot.
The first prizes sponsored by Minines Plants and Landscaping and presented by Scarlett Steer, went to Owen Graham in the younger class and Tallulah Kinkead in the older group.
Both riders displayed determination and the skill to ensure they went the correct way around the ring and not the way the ponies wanted to go.
With the action building ringside, the crowd had grown and spectators were seen spread around the country centre enjoying the view and the refreshments on offer.
Gymkhana Relays were scheduled next. The relays sponsored by Nagico Insurances were a three team competition with four riders on each team.
‘Team Red’ captained by Tola Broderick took the centre lane with ‘Team Lady’, captained by Tallulah Kinkead on the left and ‘Team Chippy’ on the right headed by Darci Reich.
The races involving slaloms, spinning 360 degrees on the saddle, pole picking and apple bobbing were fast, furious and very close. Three rounds saw a win for each team and as such a tiebreaker was called for with just one rider from each team being picked to do one more run for the win.
‘Team Chippy’ with four very determined young riders took the first position rosettes at the end of the day.
The last action event of the afternoon had been long anticipated by some of the more able and experienced young riders as well as the adults that had spent their day making sure that the children and their ponies were safe and ready to go.
The ‘L&B Diamond Challenge’ with its own shiny perpetual trophy, was to be an impressive display of horsemanship from all that entered.
Against the clock and with penalties added if a mistake was made by a horse and rider, the course was a tight one with two jumps and two slaloms to complete, passing through the ‘gate’ on each change of direction.
In the teenage group with fractions of seconds dividing them, Tola Broderick and Millie Holmes rode their horses Red and Joey with attitude and some serious class.
Tallulah Kinkead back in the ring on ‘Lady’ who was definitely ‘feeling her oats’ on Saturday, smoked the course and took the first position away from the other two riders.
The adults turn finally came and although Lady reentered the ring with Scarlett Steer on her back to attempt a repeat performance, she took a penalty and just couldn’t quite keep the partnership of Jessica Broderick and Joey from the adult title.
Mrs. Letty Hodge presented the L&B Stables sponsored prizes and asked why we had to wait another whole year for the next show.
The last, but by no means the least award of the day, was the Canines Cats and Critters ‘Horse of the Year’ – awarded to the horse or pony that had won the most rosettes of the day.
This went to the black mare ‘Lady’ who had been in the ring with very small beginners with legs that could barely reach past the bottom of the saddle, to taking Tallulah on the ride of her life in the last event.
Clare Cottreau presented a special, hard backed book on horses to Tallulah and Lady - the now famous horse, was awarded a large bag of sweetfeed from ‘The Boys Stables’ for her performances.
Chippy took the Canines Cats and Critters Reserve Horse of the Year award.
The Boys Stables – Best Turned Out Pony or Horse
1. Freya Childs and Shuffle
2. Millie Holmes and Joey
3. Alejandro Santos and Storm
4. Will Holmes and Squirt
Tola Broderick and Red
Sebby Santos and Lady
5. Darci Reich and Chippy
6. Sebastian Esser and Ricky
7. Tallulah and Mento
Forbes Hare – Best Led Pony
1. Madison Smith
2. Jasmine Santos
3. Ben Wanambwa
4. Lorelie Esser
Minines Plants and Landscaping – Best Ridden
1. Owen Graham
2. Isaac Sutherland Pilch
3. Tom Bridson
4. Kavirajh Pertabsingh
5. Sebastian Esser
6. Felix Thorp
1. Tallulah Kinkead
2. Freya Childs
3. Millie Holmes
4. Tola Broderick
Nagico Gymkhana Relays
1. Team Chippy – Darci, Jolie, Owen, Sebby
2. Team Red – Tola, Millie, Alejandro
Team Lady – Tallulah, Tom, Felix, Kavirajh
L&B Diamond Challenge
1. Tallulah Kinkead / Lady
2. Tola Broderick / Red
3. Millie Holmes / Joey
1. Jessica Broderick / Joey
2. Scarlett Steer / Lady
3. Emma Holmes / Red
Alison Knights / Mento
Clare Cottreau / Shuffle