BD Young Pony Championships: bright future for young stars

  • Written By: Barbara Young
  • Published: Thu, 22 Jul 2021 08:43 GMT

The annual British Dressage Young Pony Championships took place at the recent Hartpury Festival of Dressage, Gloucestershire (07 - 11 July 2021). Designed for four, five and six-year old ponies not exceeding 149cm, this exciting championship proved the perfect showcase for pint-size young talent to shine.

Gemma Moss and Day Dream

In the four-year-old championship, Gemma Moss and her own 13.3hh black gelding Day Dream (by Dream On) - pictured above - impressed judges Maria Eilberg and Canada’s Cara Whitham, who teamed up to judge all three sections, winning on a score of 79.60%.

Bred by Dawn Watson, Gemma, who runs a competition yard producing young horses in Cheshire and trains with Calum Whitworth, has owned “Shrek” since a two-year-old and he is the first pony she has backed and produced herself.

“He was originally bred to be 17hh plus, but when I bought him he was very small, only about 13hh, so initially I was hoping he would grow,” says Gemma who backed him in two weeks with the help of a 13-year-old rider and Day Dream had only been under saddle for eight months before his trip to Hartpury.

“In spite of his size, he’s amazing to ride; he thinks and feels like a horse with a massive walk and an outstanding huge canter – he just keeps on giving and feels like a Ferrari.

“Shrek is a real yard favourite, super friendly, loves a fuss and is bold and brave and just lovely to have around.”

Gemma now plans to give Shrek a three-month holiday in the field with his friends before continuing to produce him with a plan to find him an ambitious young rider.

“He’s definitely a medal-winner so it would be madness to keep him for myself, but in the meantime we’ll continue to have fun together.”

Eilidh Grant & Charming Duke

Rider/trainer and BDCC level 3 coach Eilidh Grant made the 11-hour journey south from her base in Aberdeen to win the five-year-old championships with her own and mother Lorraine’s Charming Duke, a 14.2hh home-bred bay gelding by Caesar 171.

Duke (pictured above), a fine, elegant gelding who in spite of his diminutive size Eilidh describes as “feeling like riding a horse”, was the clear winner scoring 84.80%, gaining 9 for his outstanding canter and 8.8 for way of going and general impression.

“It was his first staying away show and he was a star,” said Eilidh, who trains with Carl Hester and Nicola Buchanan. “He’s got a super temperament, didn’t put a foot wrong and pulled it out of the bag. I haven’t produced a pony before and I’m not an overly brave rider, but he’s been easy and such fun I’d be very tempted to try it again!”

Elly Darling and Wadacre Fancy Pants

Elly Darling and Jeanette Matthews-Griffiths’ elegant 14.2hh chestnut mare Wadacre Fancy Pants (Fürst Romancier x Golden Dancer ) produced her best test to date showing off her super walk and floating trot to top the scoreboard with 79.00%.

Fancy Pants, who Elly describes as “a small horse who reminds me of a miniature Farouche”, also qualified for the gold section novice and elementary regionals.

“I’ve had the ride on her for the past year and I adore her,” said Elly, a BDCC Level 2 coach and trainer based in Suffolk. “She’s a real princess, a complete dream to ride and gives everything she’s got – she makes me smile every time I sit on her.”


1. Day Dream (Gemma Moss), 79.60%
2. WfD Just Dillon (WfD Just Dillon), 77.00%
3. Asterhof’s It’s Gino (Bryony Goodwin), 75.60%

1. Charming Duke (Eilidh Grant), 84.80%
2. Godrics Dionysus (Daisy Bullman), 79.80%
3. Champignon Sauvage (Annabel Hunter Blair), 79.60%

1. Wadacre Fancy Pants (Elly Darling), 79.00%
2. MM Carry Girl San (Naomi Maxted-Massey), 77.40%
3. Dypool Miami Reef (Frances Clare Turner), 62.60%


Photo © Kevin Sparrow