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HORSE OF THE YEAR SHOW - PAST EXPERIENCES

As part of the HOYS 2013 experience we are featuring past members who have been to HOYS with the AHPPC Team and who are still involved with the Pony Club at any level.

First up is the one and only JANEY SURMAN - team trainer of the current Team.

JaneyJaney started in the AHPPC juniors in 1996 and was in the winning team at the Championships in 1999. Janey went on to attend HOYS in 2004 as a rider and then again in 2009 as the youngest Team Trainer at HOYS ever! Janey continued with her Pony Club activities attaining her B Test and continued to train the Senior B team and then the A team following Jane Smith's retirement after winning the Prince Philip Cup in 2007.

Janey continues to ride in MGA (Mounted Games Association) and has been the World Individual Champion in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

What are your BEST MEMORY OF HOYS?
"Riding into the arena - waiting in the tunnel - it's a magical moment - tense, exciting and nerve racking but something I will always remember."

Why would you recommend PPC mounted games to parents and children?

"it's a real team sport - which is unusual in the equestrian world. You have to rely on others, work with others, get on with others. It sets you up with lots of life skills while you are having fun at the same time. It's skilful, requires riding ability and most all FUN - I just LOVE it!"janeygrey

Why do you train the team?

I love Pony Club - it's given me so much - I stay involved and I think I can give something back!

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Our second interview in the run up to HOYS 2013 is with our DC – Andrew James.

AWJSome will be wondering why our DC is featuring but Prince Philip games are close to Andrew’s heart. It all goes back to 1988 when Katie (4) and William (5) joined the Pony Club and first went to show jumping rallies at Francis Attfield’s where the Dad’s were roped in to painting the show jumps.


The introduction to games came when Katie started in the juniors in 1992 which was the first time Andrew went to HOYS at Wembley to watch the Atherstone on Sunday evening. However, they didn’t qualify that time so he didn’t get to see them! – Andrew’s recollection of 1992 was “sleeping the one and only time in a tent at the Championships at Shepton Mallet”.

In 1993 Andrew was recruited as Triathlon Manager and quickly moved to Treasure in 1995 and then to DC in 1999.
Andrew’s next visit to HOYS came 5 years later in 2004 as a spectator again attending on Sunday but once again the team didn’t qualify missing out by 1 point. In the team was one Janey Surman!

Then a quick four years out of five 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, the Atherstone were back at HOYS with Andrew in attendance for the week with the team. And now again in 2013!

winningWhat’s your best HOYS memory?

Winning the Prince Philip Cup in 2007 – it was more of a relief – we were the firm favourites and had won every competition that year – it was just wonderful for everyone and so well deserved!”

Why would you recommend Pony Club mounted games to parents and children?

“Two reasons – it teaches the children to ride and it’s a team event – have to work as a team, you can’t be an individual”

Why are you so keen on the Mounted Games section?


“Well it’s derived from the initial introduction to Pony Club. I wasn’t particularly horsey which probably resounds with many dad’s so when I first came across mounted games through Katie, it struck me that games was a discipline where the first across the line was the winner – simple and easy to understand! Now I understand the other disciplines after years of being involved but the games stay as a firm favourite.”

So what does a DC do at HOYS?

The Pony Club expect the DC to be at HOYS. Years ago only the team trainer and the DC or representative would go with the team. Today we have the parents and children and other support personnel which will make up nearly 20 people living for a week in the car park of the NEC. The Prince Philip Cup is a showcase for the Pony Club, it has a Royal patron and been part of the show for 62 years, so the DC is there to represent the branch and keep everything in order”

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Continuing the HOYS 2013 theme our next interview is with a Father and Son combination, Tim and Will Thirlby.

We have to go back 32 years to 1981 when Tim was 11 and had just broken onto the Atherstone Hunt PPC team scene. He was there to stay for four years and make three visits to HOYS at Wembley (1981, 1982 and 1983) and managed to get on the GB team in 1984.

“Anita Barber was the team trainer and things were a little different to today’s commotion” remembers Tim, “it was very different in some ways back in the eighties but the same skills we’re required and the same games were played in the main. We had a lot of fun – going to HOYS at Wembley was just fantastic! – I remember going back to school after the week at HOYS feeling so low from such a high”

What’s difference between then and now?

“It’s more competitive now, so many more good ponies – same old pony clubs at the top with a few additions but it just seems more competitive than ever.”

Why did you get Will into it?

“I thought Will would enjoy it and I wanted him to have the chance to have the fun I did when I rode for AHPPC. I wanted him to go to HOYS. I also think that the mounted games are an entry into horse racing, produce a competitive spirit and a will to win.”

What do think the highlight will be?

“It’s been Will’s dream to go to HOYS since 2009 when we went to watch the AHPPC team. He has always wanted to take his pony Tinky (who he has ridden since the age of 9) - Now he has achieved that, so I guess the highlight will be - being there! However, I have always considered PPC unfinished business as we only managed 5th, 3rd and 5th on my three visits. I never won the cup, so I think Will has a very clear objective!”

We were able to catch up with Will and ask him what he was most looking forward to next week? 

He replied “Can’t wait, can’t come soon enough. I just want to win!”

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Our last pre HOYS interview is with Matt Clingo - 6 years ago, Matt and five others were sitting in the NEC car park preparing for HOYS 2007. Matt had been to HOYS the previous two years and had been runners up on both occasions. In 2007 they were the firm favourites having won every friendly competition that year.

Today Matt still rides in MGA (Mounted Games Association) and is the Atherstone Junior A team trainer. He and his co trainers and organisers are an essential ingredient in the production of AHBPC HOYS teams of the future. Matt's visits to HOYS, his riding and Pony Club activity remain a very important part of his life today.

When catching up with him, we asked: What are your best memories of HOYS 2007?

He was quick to respond "crossing the line at the end of the big sack race and winning the Prince Philip Cup. The Prince Philip Cup is everything you have worked for all year (and many previous); to get hold of it, is just a great achievement. It was a relief in 2007 as it was the last opportunity for many of us in that team. It's the best achievement of my equestrian career to date!"

 


What would your advice be to the current team sitting at HOYS tonight?

"keep relaxed - the teams with the least mistakes will make the finals on Sunday, it's a small arena so it may well suit them. I just wish them all the very best for the coming days and hope they can do it. They are good enough to bring that cup back to the Atherstone"

As Matt is working with the under 11's, we asked him why he would recommend Mounted Games to young children and families?

"it's a great team sport and you make friends for life! I know that's what they say about the pony club, but it's true I still see the people I used to ride against years ago and those we beat at HOYS back in 2007!"