West Hants Branch of The Pony Club remain the team to beat at Mounted Games with a triple success at Horse of the Year Show.
Following their first-ever Prince Philip Cup title last year, West Hants entered the 2019 competition as one of the favourites and they lived up to that billing with a stunning display throughout the event.
The team of Katie Upshall (12), Megan Pink (13), Libby Hawkins (15), Aimee O’Hara (15), Bella O’Hara (13) and Courtney Morris (14, non-riding reserve) enjoyed early success in the Thistledown Developments Cup, narrowly edging out Sir W.W.Wynn’s Hunt by a single point. They also tasted victory in the Stable Cup, awarded for the highest scores in tack, turnout and stable management throughout the show.
No team had retained the Prince Philip Cup since 2012 but West Hants stepped up their game when it mattered most, winning all four of their sessions to progress to the final. The other three final spots were closely-contested and went right to the wire, but just missing out were Sir W.W.Wynn’s Hunt (54 points, 5th) and HOYS newcomers Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt (45 points, 6th).
With double points available in the final there was no room for complacency, but West Hants extended their lead to take the title with a winning score of 127 points, ahead of Atherstone Hunt (95 points, 2nd), Strathearn (85 points, 3rd) and Staff College and Sandhurst Hunt (83 points, 4th).
The next target for West Hants will be their third title in 2020, a feat not achieved since Eglinton Hunt’s five in a row from 1992-96. Based on this year’s performance they will certainly be tough to beat.
The Pony Club Mounted Games is a competition requiring courage, determination and all-round riding ability. The concept of the competition was first introduced by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT, who suggested that Cavalry competitions could be adapted for young riders on ponies in an entertaining and visually engaging format. The first competitions were held in 1957 and the winner received the coveted Prince Philip Challenge Trophy.
A full set of results for the Prince Philip Cup is available here.