Harriet Hodge’s dream came true last weekend, when she qualified for the prestigious Horse of the Year Show, which takes place at the Birmingham NEC in October.
The qualifying season for a place in this sought-after show, started last weekend when Harriet attended the first summer pony premier at Arena UK, near Grantham. From 87 starters, Harriet took the win on her pony, Charlie, in the hotly contested Newcomers class, after jumping three rounds, starting at 1.10m and finishing at 1.20m in the third round. Harriet‘s three clear rounds qualified her for the Newcomers Championship at the Horse of the Year Show, where she will compete against the best junior riders in the country.
Mr Hodge, Harriet’s Dad, said: “It has been Harriet’s dream to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show and it is therefore such a special, outstanding achievement for her and one I am so proud of, and indeed, one that every junior rider aims for.”
Harriet said: “It has been my dream to one day jump at HOYS. To win the first qualifier against the best riders exceeded all my expectations. With only four qualifying spaces available and with three riders left to go after me I knew I had to go for it. Charlie was amazing he gave me everything; I am so proud of him. Landing over the last fence and realising I had qualified was a special moment for me and a very emotional one.”
Below is the video of Harriet's winning jump-off.
June 2022 Update
Over the Jubilee weekend, Harriet was competing again at the Equestrian Centre in Cheshire where she secured three more qualifications for the prestigious Horse of the Year Show in October.
Harriet and her pony were on incredible form, with a unique treble win, in which she won all three of the major qualifying classes - Newcomers, Foxhunter and the pinnacle class, the Pony of the Year Showjumper. This has never been done before by one rider at the same show. What makes this even more of an accomplishment is that Harriet won the Newcomers and Foxhunter on a new pony, Queen Mac. The pair have only become acquainted with each other in the last three weeks, so this is a very new partnership.
Winning the Pony of the Year Showjumper qualifier was a huge step up for Harriet and her pony Charlie, with a starting height of 1.35m, increasing to 1.40m in the jump-off. Neither rider or pony had ever jumped a course of this size ever before. From a field of 26 starter, Harriet and Charlie were the only combination to achieve a double clear - a truly remarkable achievement for their first attempt!
October is set up to be a very exciting month for Harriet - watch this space to see how she progresses.
Photography courtesy of Phill Hillier - Landscape and Horses Photography