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Shildons Royal Affair nets HOYS intermediate present driving kind title

  • The unstoppable Helliwell show team from Cumbria took home the HOYS intermediate show riding type of the year championship at the 2022 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

    Lisa Kirkbride’s Tiger Attack six-year-old Shildons Royal Affair (Alfie) and 18-year-old Abbie Kirkbride headed the small class en route to the overall accolade before judges Barbara White (ride) and Joanne Griffin (conformation).

    “From the first moment he came into the ring he took my eye and I was eager to see him stripped,” said Joanne. “He was so true to type and was a proper young person’s pony. He never put a foot wrong; even in-hand he stood up well and showed himself off. He went beautifully in the championship, too. Barbara and I were on the same page throughout the classes.”

    Alfie joined the Kirkbride Family six months ago from the Reeves Family who kept him with Harrison Taylor’s yard in Lancashire.

    Earlier in the morning at HOYS, he’d placed in the top 11 in the 148cm show pony final with Abbie’s younger sister, Esther.

    “He was a really good boy,” said Abbie, who was winning HOYS for the first time. “Esther usually rides him; I’ve pinched him from my little sister. I don’t do that many shows with him. We qualified for HOYS at the NPS summer championships and then did a couple of classes at the BSPS summer championships together, so we’ve had limited outings.

    “He just sits up and goes. He moves massively, too. What he lacks in height he makes up for in his movement.”

    Co-producer Rachael Halliwell said: “He came up for sale and I knew he’d be the one. We decided to try an intermediate class just to see how he got on and he qualified for HOYS.”

    Reserve for the HOYS intermediate show riding type of the year crown was Poppy Carter and Danni Radford’s home-bred Ladies’ Man, another six-year-old who is also by leading sire Tiger Attack.

    Second in the small class went to Diane Stennett’s Dartans Valentine and Ellis Taverner Burns, while Issy Mears and last year’s champion Forgeland Hyde Park took second in the large division.

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