A team of five children and their ponies from the Morpeth Hunt Pony Club have achieved their dream this year and qualified for the prestigious final of the Prince Philip Cup Mounted Games, held in October at the Horse of the Year Show at the NEC, Birmingham.
This year, the Morpeth team of Tillie Ball, Max Kirby, Hannah Jane Lunny, Charlie Parker and Lauren Robinson and their lovely ponies Jimbob, Socks, Monni, Secret and Chips won their place at the Zone Final held last weekend at Overton near Lanark. They competed against teams from as far away as Orkney, Ireland and Lancashire and finally won through in a hard-fought, tense and exciting competition, beating the Strathearn Pony Club by just two points after the final Big Sack race.
Morpeth Hunt Pony Club has only once before qualified for the Horse of the Year Show – 24 years ago, when, in an amazing coincidence, Louise Kirby – mother of 11-year-old Max Kirby who qualified this year, was one of the team members. His pony Socks has been to HoYS three times before – being on the winning Percy Hunt team in 2009.
Lauren Robinson’s pony Chips is also a HoYS veteran. He has been kindly lent to her by his owners the Swann family, whose son Jacob rode him at the Pony Club Championships last August, where the Morpeth club were unlucky to just miss the last HoYS ticket, coming 3rd by just three points.