Lockdown purchase proves his worth with showing win

A prolific show hunter pony was among today's showing champions at the Prenetics Royal International Horse Show.  

Class 129 winner - Zara Brookes Merrycorner Mister Bui 2

Merrycorner Mister Bui was crowned the winner in the Leeman Family Supreme Show Hunter Pony Championship today at the Prenetics Royal international Horse Show.

The 153cm victor, who had originally been called in third in his class but who got moved up to win, was expertly ridden by Zara Brookes.

“We bought him about a year ago – he was a lockdown purchase," said Zara. "COVID has been a blessing in disguise for us, because it gave me time to get used to him. He’s such a bigger, more powerful horse than I’m used to – it’s a big difference from ponies – but he’s really nice to have around.”

It was a first Hickstead championship title for Zara. “It’s amazing in that arena,” she says. “I’ve only ridden in there once before, and that was five years ago – I always remember that I made a mistake in the gallop. So this time I went in and I was ready for it.”

In the Pure Bred Ridden Arabian Championship, the reigning HOYS winners Rafeekah and Kimberley Bates got the nod, adding a Royal International win to their tally. “He’s such an amazing performer and he loves a big occasion, and he’s a real family horse as well,” said Kimberley, who works for show producer Katy Marriott-Payne 

“We bought him as a four-year-old, and mum and I broke him between us. We’ve taken it slowly with him and he’s just been really easy to do. He’s a lovely boy and so intelligent. He hasn’t really done many big shows like this, so he’s quite inexperienced, and I’ve never ridden in there before so to do it on my own horse is just amazing.”

The UKPH Young Riders mountain and moorland Championship went to Grace Litherland and the Connemara pony Thunderbolt Fairy Robin Bambi, ahead of Nipna Invictus and Caitlin Hamilton in reserve.

Grace scooped the title after demonstrating, with some one-handed riding, the pony’s exceptional rideability. Though the move impressed in the ring, it’s the kind of reliable showmanship that Megan has come to expect from the consistent superstar, who she inherited from her best friend last year.

“He’s just amazing, every day,” she said. "He just lives out in the field, comes in, eats his food, and lives the life of Riley! Then he comes to shows and he’s just perfect.”

For all showing results, click here

Tickets for the Prenetics Royal International Horse Show (21-25 July) are on sale now, costing £15 per adult, £10 concessions and under-16s going free. Visit the Box Office. 


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