Just three weeks after securing the national 128cm pony show jumping tile at Horse of the Year Show, Harry Charles, 12, claimed the top two places in the English Home Pony International 128cm grand prix. Riding his HOYS winner Murka’s Headmore Little Lightning into first place, he also took the runner-up spot with Murka’s Flinor Songbird. However, his younger sister Scarlett was not far behind, chasing qualification for this year’s London Olympia Horse Show (13-19 December), she secured her place with a faultless performance to claim sixth place overall on Murka’s Mathew’s Girl, whom Harry won this HPI title with in 2010.
Harry, a student at Churcher’s College, was one of 13 clears to make it through to a third and final round in the grand prix and went into the lead with Murka’s Flinor Songbird, who is known as Bambi at home. After that, he had to make sure he gained another clear in a fast time with Murka’s Headmore Little Lightning to ensure he stayed at the top.
“I did a turn on Lightning I didn’t try on Bambi,” he said. “It involved jumping at an angle over a fence half-way round the course and it worked.”
Some of Harry’s rivals attempted to do the same in order to beat him, but none could jump it without toppling the poles it was constructed from. The number of wins Harry has gained over the past 12 months now makes him one of the highest rated pony riders in the country.
Success for Scarlett
Scarlett had a different goal to achieve, qualification for the 128cm championship at Olympia, where the world’s top senior riders, including her father, Peter, will also be competing. She needed to jump three clear rounds in order to qualifier and this was her first attempt, and also the last chance for any pony riders, to do so.
“I did a few tight turns to make sure I was high enough up the order to qualify, but needed to make sure I stayed clear,” said Scarlett, 11, a pupil at Alton Convent. “I competed in a pair class with Dad at Olympia last year, but am very excited about competing in the 128cm championship this time.”
Harry is the current holder of the Olympia title, which he won last year with Scarlett’s 2011 ride Murka’s Mathew’s Girl. He will be competing Murka’s Headmore Little Lightning this year.