The Pony Club Mini-Major Thrills the Crowds at Olympia
The Pony Club Mini-Major returned to Olympia on Sunday 18 December, seeing Pony Club Members paired up with a top international rider in a thrilling competition to each complete a Show Jumping round in the quickest time, with the fewest faults.
Top of the tree this year was eleven-year-old Annie Gibson who teamed up with Anna Power to finish in 25.29 seconds; clinching victory by just 0.01 of a second. The long journey from Northern Ireland was worthwhile for Iveagh Branch Member Annie, who said: “The whole experience was amazing! I’ve never been to Olympia before and the atmosphere was incredible. I met lots of my heroes, including Nick Skelton and Cian O’Connor.” Annie went on to thank Anna Power for being ‘such a good partner,’ her family for supporting her and her coach Joe Sharkey. Special thanks also went to Iveagh DC Vanne Campbell who made the trip over to support Annie, despite being on crutches. “I’d like to qualify for the Dengie Winter League and The Pony Club Championships next!” commented Annie.
Annie has been a Member of The Pony Club for eight years and she and her pony, Lisboy Black Magic, have represented their Branch on numerous occasions. They qualified for Dublin Horse Show in July, leading to Annie receiving an Outstanding Sporting Achievements award from her school.
A last minute call-up proved lucky for runner up Harriet Birkby who rode alongside Lorenzo De Luca to finish in 25.30 seconds. Eleven year old Harriet, who is a Member of the Southdown Hunt West Branch, finished ahead of third placed Amy Morris (also eleven) from the Edinburgh Branch, who was partnered by Laura Renwick. They completed in a time of 25.82 seconds.
Members from all over the UK applied to be amongst the eight drawn to take part, and the lucky riders were selected at random to compete at Olympia in front of a sell-out crowd.
Mary Tuckett, Chairman of The Pony Club, said: “This year the Mini-Major kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Our Members and their partners gave it their all which resulted in some nail-biting moments and some very close finishes. I’d like to thank the team behind Olympia for inviting us to be part of this very special event, and acknowledge the tremendous effort of the families and helpers who support the riders; some of whom travelled for several hours to take part.”
A full set of results is available HERE