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Willowcroft Regal Bronze dies aged 20

  • Millbry Hill Stud’s influential stallion Willowcroft Regal Bronze has died aged 20.

    Willowcroft Regal Bronze, who was known as Skippy at home, was bred by Margot Maitland, and was the first British riding pony to be imported from Australia. He was by Urubula Regal Promise out of Willowcroft Saphire.

    Jerome Harforth bought Skippy after visiting the Willowcroft Stud in Australia. Jerome had judged at shows throughout the country and had placed Skippy’s full brother, Willowcroft Regal Emblem, at the top of the line on several occasions.

    “Amongst a herd of around 20 colts and geldings, in a paddock spanning 150 acres, one horse in particular caught my eye,” said Jerome. “This colt turned out to be Skippy.”

    Skippy arrived in the UK in February 2004. He was shown in hand as a youngster with much success, lifting the part-bred champion at the Royal Welsh, among others. As he was 25% Welsh, all of his progeny are eligible for over-stamping, and a few years later, Skippy’s daughter, Love Affair, lifted the same Royal Welsh title.

    Skippy also competed under saddle and was a Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) finalist under saddle with Lucinda Elliot, who also campaigned him at novice dressage.

    “One of the first things that really impressed so many visitors was his flamboyant, light elastic movement, a wonderful feature that he very much passed onto the majority of his progeny,” Jerome said. “Skippy was an absolute pleasure to have at Stanley Grange, always having his ears pricked when you approached him. He enjoyed nothing more than showing himself off to visitors with his amazing extravagant trot; he knew he had it! He was the kindest, gentlest, and most polite pony to handle and a real true gentleman.”

    Some of his offspring include HOYS winners, DJP Royal Heir, Westerdale Regal Max, Bankswood Jacaranda and Moluccas Bengal Beauty. He also sired the Royal Windsor and Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) riding horse champion Times Square, as well as RIHS show pony winner Rotherwood Royal Flight. This year’s Royal Highland Show hunter supreme champion Double Mocha is also sired by him.

    Skippy became known for stamping his progeny with “ground-covering movement”.

    “He was a dear friend from down under, that has left a legacy in the UK,” said Jerome.

    Skippy lived out his days at the Millbry Hill Stud, which still has his frozen semen available.

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