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SPSS Young Dressage Pony Champs: Top Red triumphs

last updated on October 11, 2012 10:53

SPSS Young Dressage Pony Champs: Top Red triumphs

The young Sports Pony Studbook Society (SPSS) passported and British-bred stallion WFS Top Red (Top Yellow x Pilgrims Red) proved that he was well named when he was declared 2012 Champion at the third annual Young Dressage Pony Championships on the 30th September.

Four year old Top Red (pictured) was bred by Yvonne Wood and Sarah Steggall, who now owns him with Elaine Coleridge Smith. Top Red carries successful performance lines on both side of his pedigree, his sire and damsire both being German "Bundeschampions" and his sire also competed as an international dressage pony. Top Red was backed and produced by Alice Perry of Windmill Farm; however, as Alice had a second four year old entered, her trainer, Linsay Coleridge Smith, competed Top Red on the day. Alice did present Top Red at the previous day's SPSS stallion grading where he was also Champion. German grading judge, Hans-Heinrich Bruening, said he considered Top Red to be a "top pony stallion" and also a "prospective international dressage pony" and this proved prophetic when Top Red became the 2012 Young Dressage Pony Champion. Top Red not only gained the highest score recorded in the three years that this championship has been running but is also the first Champion to be British-bred. Showing how British Sports Pony breeding is improving, the next three ponies in the overall results were also British born and bred.

The Young Dressage Pony Reserve Champion was LE Chiffre (Caesar 171 x Donnerwetter), a five year old SPSS passported and graded stallion bred by Beverley Brown and owned and ridden by her daughter Samantha. LE Chiffre's sire, the SPSS Elite graded Caesar 171, is a past Pony European Championships Dressage Team medallist and a popular sire. Indeed, four of the ponies entered for the dressage classes were by Caesar. 2012 has been a great year for LE Chiffre. In his first year of competing, he has won both Elementary and Medium classes and qualified for the British Dressage National Championships at Elementary Open level where, ridden by Becky Moody, he was the only entrant under 16hh and one of only two five year olds.

Third placed overall was another five year old pony, the British bred gelding Johnny Cash, ridden by Fern Roach and owned by Noah Springall. Johnny is a SHB(GB) registered pony by The Bay Briar (TB) out of Macy Gray (New Forest) and was bred by Mrs C Springall. In 2011, as a four year old, Johnny was Reserve Champion ridden by Phoebe Peters as Fern, who had been producing Johnny as an event pony, broke her collar bone two weeks before the show. That Phoebe and Johnny did so well when Phoebe had only ridden him a few times was testament to Fern's work and it was great that Fern was fit and able to present him herself in 2012. A versatile all rounder, Johnny Cash also competed at the P(UK) Burghley Event Pony Championships with Fern in 2012 and with her older sister Poppy deputising in 2011. As Fern is too old for ponies at the end of the year, the ride on Johnny is being taken over by her younger sister, Jasmine, and they are entered in the SPSS Young Eventing & Jumping Pony Championships at the end of October.

Top Six Year Old Pony was the SPSS graded stallion, Rosewater I Claudius. "Claud" is owned by his breeders, Rosewater Stud's mother & daughter team, Sarah Eberle and Lucy Northcott and was ridden by Samantha Brown. Samantha used compete Claud's sire, the SPSS Elite graded dressage pony, Caesar 171 and is currently producing Claud for his owners. It is hoped that a suitable pony rider will be identified for him through the new mentoring programme, The Equine Sports Academy (T.E.S.A).

Special mention goes to the youngest rider at the competition, 11 year old Emma Bond. Emma was third in the 4 Year Old section riding her mother, Jane Bond's, pure bred Morgan gelding, Monnington Fresco. Bred by Monnington Morgans, Fresco is by the multiple World Champion Morgan, HVK Bell Flaire out of Monnington Artiste (by Monnington Verdi). Emma has backed and brought on Fresco herself with the help of her trainer, the late Laura Fry. This competition was the first time that Emma had competed without Laura's help and all agreed that she did very well in a class in which the majority were adult and professional riders.

The SPSS is very grateful for the support of British Dressage, which kindly donated vouchers to the highest scoring pony in each age group; Wish Bands who kindly donated a beaded browband to the Reserve Champion and discount vouchers to all competitors; the judges, Jennie Loriston-Clarke MBE and Rachel Hillier; and Bury Farm who hosted the event.

Full results from the event can be found on the SPSS website -

Photo credit: Hannah Owen