National Veteran Horse of the Year 2016 Report

National Open Veteran Championships

hosted by the Veteran Horse Society

23-25th September 2016

Show Report

The 3rd National Open Veteran Championships opened with beautiful sunshine and very large smiles and that is how the whole weekend stayed.  Classes were very well attended and everyone began arriving on Thursday afternoon.

Classes commenced early on Friday morning, as always the unaffiliated dressage classes were highly attended and these took place on the dressage arena’s outside.  Inside in the main arena, the Area Qualifier was followed by the final Regional Final for 2016, rounded up the VHS 2016 season.   There were some stunning horses in both competitions and as this Regional Final held a ‘wild card’ 1st – 4th in each age category went forward to the Supreme Final on Sunday afternoon.

Friday evening was the un-mounted dressage presentation  Champion was Rebecca Davies riding 20 year old Major Tom, this presentation was followed by Strickly Fancy Dress-age which was won by  Clare Kinsley and 21 year old Rignell Auchentoshan.

After a brief interval, competitors and spectators were allowed the opportunity of looking into the art of Side Saddle and a costume concours d’elegance display, followed by ‘ask the judges’.  Thank you to all those who kindly gave their time and experience at no charge to the Society.

Saturday morning the atmosphere was electric and both competitors and organisers were hurriedly preparing for the classes.  To set the day rolling the Best Turned class began in the Main Arena, followed by the Ridden Show Horse Section and Equitation Classes.  One of the strongest classes this year was the Ridden Costume Concers D’Elegance, which was at this staged pre-judged and people had made such an effort with their costumes, it was a beautiful turnout and display and extremely colourful.

Side-saddle Classes were also very strong this year and the Society hopes to introduce a Supreme Final for Side Saddle in the future and this is becoming a very popular competition.   Carrie-Anne Ashbolt won both the Classical and Concours d’elegance with her own Shooting Star II. Best Side Saddle Horse/Pony went to Jackie Banks and Bizzie B

VHS Show Director, Clare Cameron, spoke from the VHS National Show Office earlier, ‘The show is just getting bigger and better each year.  I would like to thank our wonderful Members for making this such a happy and delightful Championship weekend.  We are also extremely grateful to those people for donating trophies, rose bowls and cups in memory of their veterans. Although it is tragic they have passed away, it is lovely to remember our beloved horses in this way.  Everybody is so good at returning trophies they have won the year before too .  Thank you to everyone who helps me from  preparing the schedule to co-ordinating the whole event.  We shall see you all again at Arena UK in 2017.

In ring 2, the day began with some beautiful Mountain and Moorland veterans, Beth Proctor and Fleurs Flight, aged 24, won the Large Ridden Breed and Oliver Thornhill riding the 20 year old Stockham Octopussey, followed by a very strong coloured section winning the pony class was Kelsey Bishop with Mrs Bishops Shemika Snip aged 16 and the horse class went to Jen Baldwin-Murphy’s 17 year old Haysden Nirvana.  The Coloured classes this year were much stronger at both the National and Scottish Supreme Finals.  The Society does hope to also introduce a Coloured Supreme in the future, as numbers are certainly growing.

The Younger competitors then were in the spot light and the first ridden class was won by one of the oldest ponies throughout the whole weekend, Mrs Hughes-Bell’s Rocky, a remarkable 30 year old and  ridden by her daughter Lily.

Ring 3, then began with the Grass Roots section.  Followed by the In-hand Sections.

The next 2 classes was won by a beautiful combination Mrs Ward’s Briars Armagnac and ridden by Jessica Ward. Winning Just of the Lead Rope and Best Child/Pony Combination.

Then In-hand class began with In-hand Childs Pony that was won by Caitlin Maccallaugh and Sanderson Wild Poppy, aged 23. Young Handler went to Macey Gladman and Plumtrees Princess, aged 17.  In-hand M&M was won by Previous Reserve Champion of Champions Lucy Taylor and 23 year old Ryanwyn Theoden, who was now going to defend her title again and go forward to the Evening Performance later that day.

Then the final qualifier for the Open Class was won by Phillipa Dawson-Coates and her 20 year old Aytounhill Midnight Express also gaining her place was Marnie Ansell riding her 21 year old The Artisan.

There was certainly and family atmosphere throughout the whole day.  Competitors were loving the happy and relaxed atmosphere and everyone, was chatting and making new and meeting old friends.

Ring 4 was dedicated to the Style and Performance Classes followed by the working Hunters. The Open Working Hunter was won by Milli Carreras riding 17 year old Maydays Cappachino.

Each of the 1st and 2nd winners then went forward to the Evening Performance and would compete in their relevant catagories.

This was certainly and glamourous evening and with all the glitter and glamour the prize winning veterans were beautiful presented to the judges.  To open the Performance the VHS Opened the Evening.  Percy who is now 28 gave us display to show why, he has been our Patron for over 3 years and is a stunning tribute to veteran horses throughout the UK.  Percy was ridden by Mel Gibson in the blockbusting Film Braveheart, and is still out competing and representing the VHS.

Champion of Champions went to Beth Proctor and her 24 year old Mountain & Moorland Fleurs Flight and Reserve went Sophie Blanchett and 25 year old Vagan.

(photograph Champion of Champions)

After all the glitz and glamour it was time for some much needed, ‘time out’ for our judges and everyone sat down to enjoy the Saturday night dinner and entertainment.  The very popular raffle and auction started at 9.30pm and really everyone who came, had donated a gift to raise funds for the charity.  The Raffle alone raised £122.00 and the auction was yet again a huge success and raised £423.50, a mass thank you to everyone who not only donated gifts but brought raffle tickets and joined in the auction.  The top prize was our ‘mystery gift’ and this was auctioned at £120.00.  Next year we hope to be able a fantastic top prize again, but you have to be there to win, so sorry no telephone bids are accepted!  Thank you to Russell, Gillian and Squeak, who gave us all a huge amount of fun and entertainment.

Next morning, everyone was busy preparing for their supreme finals and the place was electric and everyone was preparing for a very exciting day ahead.


M&M    Champion – Shaun Mcdermott with Yyrcoedback Flach (21)

Reserve – Christina Brooks with Guards Jester (17)

Open     Champion – Heidi Bull  – Arlekin Ts (21)

Reserve – Marnie Ansell – The Artisan (21)

Young Rider Champion – Chloe Burbury – Cracker (30)

Reserve – Beth Proctor – Fleurs Flight (24)

IH Diamond Champion – Sophie Blanchett – Vagan (25)

Reserve – Claire Burrows – Breamish Angelo (27)

IH Veteran Champion – Anne Sears – Longmeadow Charles (20)

Reserve – Cheryl Mills – Cigeons Golden Opportunity (23)

IH Pre-Veteran Champion – Milli Carreras -Maydays Cappachino (17)

Reserve – Lucy Ashworth – Randall IV (18)

Overall Champion went to Anne Sears and Longmeadow Charles her 20 year old minature Shetland and Reserve went to Milli Carreras and Maydays Cappachino her 17 year old coloured.

Ridden Diamond Champion – Katie Driver – Maesmynach Nibby Cae (28)

Reserve  – Sophie Blanchett – Vagan (25)

Ridden Veteran Champion – Heidi Bull  – Arlekin Ts (21)

Reserve – Joe Mace – Lady in Red (20)

Ridden Pre-Veteran – Angela Conner Bulmer – Versace (19)

Reserve – Carolyn Walter – Atlantic Traveller (18)

Overall Ridden Champion Angela Connor Bulmer riding her own 19 year old Morgan Horse Versace

Overall Reserve was Katie Drive riding her beautiful 28 year old Maesmynach Nibby Cae



Anne Sears – Longmeadow Charles

Angela Conner Bulmer – Versace

Mr Russell Marks one of the Supreme Final Judges, spoke about the Championship  ‘The overall quality and condition of this years finalists is a true credit to the owners/ carers of these wonderful oldies.

‘Classes were very supported and with the standard so high, it gave Nigel and myself lots to cast our eyes over and mark accordingly.

Performance and suppleness played a huge part of the marks we gave and eventually our champions came forward.

Congratulations to ALL that entered’



The team

Finally a massive thank you to all the judges and stewards who gave their valuable time throughout the whole weekend.  To Clare Cameron, the VHS National Show Secretary, Nigel Vale for co-ordinating the judges, Rob Aston for the music and meet and greet, Squeak for the auction and Stable Managing, Madeline Heath for assisting Clare and for organising the Dressage classes, Louise Francis for the videos and photographs for facebook and promoting the event and managing the website.  Mandy Brimson for helping with merchandise, Membership (amongst most things!), Anna Durran for the help with the results through-out the year, Supreme and Senior Judges, Nigel Vale, Russell Marks and Kevan Baskefield.   Allen & Page for their continual support both with welfare and with Showing & Dressage and their helpful team, plus all the other sponsors.

Finally a massive thank you to Paul and his team from Bury Farm, we will certainly miss them next year as we move to Arena UK on 29th September.  Lets hope that we will have as much support there and we look forward to meeting many more northern members and seeing those who were at the Championships this year.

For those who support the Society please don’t forget our range of merchandise is now available on our website and would make a great Christmas gift.

Thank you all for a wonderful Championship.


05973-SBX2 06434-SBX3 07287-SBX2 08292-SBX1