The Blundell Family Blue Riband Mini Champion
The Alva Champion of Champions Mini Supreme
By Jonathan Stevens

Photograph by Pleasure Prints

My mum went with my Aunty Tricia (Dr P.M.R. Smith) to Jerome Harforth's in November 2000 in search of a pony for 2001. We all decided that we wanted a 12hh SHP, but Jerome showed us Sammy a recently backed pony who he said was a saint! I rode the pony and I really liked him, so Sammy was bought and couriered home for Christmas.

Mid January Sammy returned to Jerome's to commence his show career, only to be hampered by the foot and mouth, so it was Gleneagles show at Rowallan before we could compete in the ring as a pair. Everything went fantastically well and we won and went Mini Champion on our very first outing. We then had to push on quickly if we were going to qualify R.I.H.S. and this was achieved soon at the North of England Spring Show. Next we needed a H.O.Y.S. qualifier. The winter B.S.P.S. Championship Show provided a 2nd and reserve champion but no ticket!

It was difficult to juggle getting my ticket, as it was my first and last year in 1st ridden show pony and not tiring Sammy, who was such a young pony. Anyway, after a few more placings - "Manners Made the Man" and he went Mini Champion and Supreme of Show at the North of England Summer Show. The pony and I then had a quick holiday before going to the Royal International where we achieved 5th. Then to Ponies UK, where we came 1st in the Prestfield Rosettes Cosford Promise and reserve champion and 1st in the novice first ridden show pony and reserve champion.

Next was the B.S.P.S. Championship show where I competed in phase 1 of the Blue Riband first ridden on Thursday. I was so relieved to get picked to go through to the phase 2 on Saturday. Then on Friday I competed in the Alva Champion of Champions were I managed to go through to the evening performance in the Vauxhall ring. I was so excited I couldn't wait! The evening performance eventually arrived and Sammy behaved perfectly and completed a really good show. Then to my amazement my number was called out 1st. I had won the Alva Champion of Champions. We received our cup and photographs were taken, everything was great! We trotted round and then everybody left me. At this point the clapping and the music where really loud and Sammy became frightened. He didn't enjoy it at all.

Saturday lunchtime was phase 2 of the Blue Riband in the Vauxhall Arena and Sammy was all chilled out again and behaved beautifully. Fantastically, we got through to the evening performance again. Bill Roache from Coronation Street came specially to judge us in the evening and four ponies gave a special show where marks are awarded; I couldn't believe it when I got top marks and Sammy won!

This time he was absolutely perfect and received all his awards and trotted down the centre line to 'Simply the Best' all on his own, really relaxed. This was a really great day and I will never forget it!

We would all like to thank Jerome and his team for their diligent, professional production and schooling of Sammy. Which I must say, without their help I wouldn't have been able to achieve such a high standard and results in such a very short time. Most of all I want to thank Sammy, for the great times we have had. I will always remember them and him. We love you Sammy!

Jonathan and Jamie Stevens