Winners of The Pony Club Open Eventing League, generously supported by Likit, enjoyed learning top tips from event rider Ben Way when they visited his yard near Rugby in Warwickshire.
Ben and his partner Sarah Parkes treated Members to a yard tour where they introduced them to their horses and talked about tack, feed, training methods and performance. The winners, who were joined by a team of budding journalists known as ‘Likit Roving Reporters,’ then watched an interesting ridden demonstration before having lunch and receiving their prizes from Likit representatives. Prizes included training bursaries, rugs, rosettes and Likit products.
Former Pony Club Member and A test holder Ben represented the North Warwickshire Branch numerous times in Eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping. He now competes up to 4* level, and made his Badminton debut in 2016 riding Galley Light; finishing in 12th position and picking up prize for the ‘best first timer’. In 2016 he bettered his debut run by finishing in 12th, followed by his first senior Team GB selection competing at Great Meadows in the USA riding Willows Tipster.
Ben said: “We thoroughly enjoyed hosting the awards day and it was very encouraging to see such a strong team of Pony Club Members competing at Open level. I really do believe that Pony Club teams are a great way to prepare riders for national teams in the future. We hope that the members found it useful to get an insight into the workings of our yard. Our horses were also very pleased with the products provided by the series sponsor Likit.”
The 2016 League saw hundreds of horse and rider combinations compete at thirty events up and down the UK, but it was sixteen year old Safia Woodward who took the top spot riding Moonbeg Boy, also known as Podge.
Safia, who lives in Wincanton, Somerset, was delighted with her win. She said: “I was thrilled and a little shocked to have won the Likit Open Eventing League. There was no pressure at any of the events, and I’ll use the experience to step up to other Pony Club competitions.”
“Podge has a great sense of humour,” continued Safia. “He’s scared of everything and he loves food, especially his Likit treats and his ball which he uses to massage his back when he is tired.”
Liz Lyall, Chairman of Pony Club Eventing, said: “We’re really grateful to Likit for their continuing support of this hotly contested league, and we’re introducing new scoring options to make the 2017 Likit Open Eventing League even more exciting!” Liz continued to thank Ben, Sarah and Ben’s mum Mary for their warmth and hospitality in making the Presentation Day a huge success. “Everyone had a really enjoyable time and learnt lots of useful tips which will help them in the future.”
Based in Scotland, Likit manufacture a wide range of stable toys and treats. Brand Manager, Lindsay Gall, said: “We are absolutely delighted to continue to support The Pony Club and sponsor the Likit Open Eventing League, and we congratulate all of the amazing riders that took part in last year’s competitions. The courses are always extremely challenging; testing the partnership between horse and rider.”
Lindsay continued to talk about the Likit Roving Reporters, who were issued with packs containing information on interviewing winners, examples of good and bad photos and tips for writing up their reports. Lindsay said: “We were particularly impressed with the quality of the reports and photos from our Roving Reporters, and we hope to get more on board next year.”
Pony Club Branches whose events include an Open (1.10m) Class, are eligible to register for the League, and entrants can gain points for places and double clear rounds. The horse and rider combination with the highest number of points at the end of the season wins, with further placings being awarded to 10th place.
A full set of 2016 Likit Open Eventing League results can be found HERE