An exciting six strong jump-off saw 13 year-old Tabitha Kyle from Loughborough, Leicestershire with the 11 year-old bay gelding Gangnam Style take the Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year title, sponsored by Shaw Farm Stud, at the British Showjumping Indoor Championships this afternoon at Aintree Equestrian Centre.
The six that came forward from the field of over thirty all put in extremely competitive rounds but it was Tabitha’s early lead in a time of 35.07 seconds that proved impossible to beat having turned extremely tight back to a double before taking a stride out to the final fence. Alfie Miles was the closest to catching her when as the final rider to come forward aboard Quantum Light he broke the finish line in 36.82 seconds to nudge Elsi Jacques and Trevoulter Ladies Man into 3rd place as the only other clear with their time of 37.52 seconds.
Henry Squibb with Kilcurry Dawn took 4th when a touch at the last saw them pick up 4 penalties in a time of 37.87 seconds. Toby Fry, also on 4 penalties took 5th and Elsi Jacques on her second ride Dapple Grey Dew Drop finished in 6th.
For Tabitha it was the third win of the Championships which has seen her win the Pony Foxhunter on Friday and the 138cm Championships earlier this morning. Talking about her win with Gangnam Style II just after the presentation she said “I took the ride on from Nicole Lockhead-Anderson who is a lot older and taller than me so we had to try lots of different techniques with him but we have got there now. We have done lots of pole work at home, which was Dad’s idea, and it has really helped as we have a great rapport together now. He is quite a strong pony but as soon as we clicked I found that I just needed to keep the rhythm going and we now get on really well. He’s just the sweetest pony and the friendliest one that we have on the yard I think and he’s always looking for food!”
About the jump off round and her hopes for the future with him she said “I’ve been really lucky as I initially rode him whilst he was available for sale and I can’t thank Gordon and Su Hall enough as they bought him just before lockdown for me to ride; I’m so grateful to them. He is such a good pony as the scariest jump for me today was the big vertical with a turn just after it but he did it perfectly and then I knew I was taking a risk to the last when we took a stride out but he was so positive coming into it. We will continue doing JA classes and then hopefully also do the viewing trial shows as well.”