VHS National Awards & Gala Ball
2024 date will be held in November again the final date will be confirmed in the New Year and ticket sales will open in the Spring.
2023 VHS Annual Ball & Awards.
Congratulations to all our winners.
Performance Awards 2023
Pre-veteran (aged 15-19 years)
1st Edward Cairns & Basford Ballerina (19)
2nd Bodie Wellens & Lyncathbury Going Gold (18)
3rd Alexandra Naylor & Shirleys Downtown (17)
4th Jenny Welham & Jays Remembrance (17)
5th Karen Perkowski & Maccallumdene (18)
6th Wendy Winney & Elmway Charlie Cool (15)
Veteran (aged 20-24 years)
1st Liz Kelly-Hunter Shannondale Saor (20)
2nd Alicia Houlanhan & Tina (23)
3rd Tia Hulse & Ulrixt (22)
4th Oscar Wellens & Dolrhedyn Bronson (20)
5th Jackie Willis & Templedruid Jadeite (21)
6th Lean Stutt & Just Shane (24)
Diamond (aged 25 & Over)
1st Samantha Norris & Maesglas Lili Wen (29)
2nd Ailsa Macdonald & Storm Dancer (26)
3rd Caroline Ward Sparks (32)
4th Laura Kenyon Brodie & Maysong (26)
5th Arnia Stott Mr Marcus (28)
6th Sarah Tucker Olanta (27)
Champion Samantha Norris & Maesglas Lili Wen
Reserve Champion Alicia Houlanhan & Tina
Groom of the Year
1st Nicola Smith
2nd John Boothby
3rd Harry Crisp
4th Glen Martin
Most improved Competitor of the Year
1st Paige Smalley
2nd Edward Cairns
3rd Xanthe Banks
4th Harry Crisp
Judge of the Year
1st Nigel Vale
2nd Steven Follows
3rd Christine Senior
4th Luke Rees
You've been VHS'd (Photo competition)
1st Karen Perkowski
2nd Emma Taylor & Carey Knox
3rd Alexandra Naylor
4th Harry Crisp
All winners who were not able to make the awards, please send a large self addressed stamped envelope with a large stamp to Head Office receive your award. The address is on the 'contact us' section of the website.
Veteran Horse or Pony of the Year 2022.
Finalists for the National Awards
Virginia Draper and Diamante Del Rey (aged 18)
“I can’t believe it” is now my catchphrase of the year…Mr D has been shortlisted in the Top 6 Veteran Horses with Showing World, thank you VHS for this opportunity. Please could you take a moment to read our story and vote for us, choose Veteran Horse Society Horse or Pony of the year, select Diamanté Del Rey, then submit:
Diamanté Del Rey “Mr D” is an 18yo PRE Fusion gelding I met on a riding holiday in Spain at Los Olivillos Chums. Mr D was born in a village in the Andalucían mountains, a non horsey man bought a PRE mare to ride in the local fería’s and months later along came Mr D, they both lived in the garage at the side of his house. Los Olivillos bought him as a youngster, he was their handsome breeding stallion and then a much loved trekking horse; and from the moment I saw him shaking a paw on my holiday it was love at first sight.
Los Olivillos could see our connection and after many riding holidays in the Andalucían mountains together he came to live with me in England in 2016 when he was 12 years old, since then we’ve enjoyed 6 amazing years competing, hacking and enjoying life. Mr D is my first horse and we have learnt so much together, from introducing arena work with success in British Dressage, to participating in Iberian Demos, proudly representing the Iberian Horse.
Mr D loves attention and we compete in Foreign Breeds, Veteran & Concours d'Elegance showing; we’ve had great success and lots of fun, I also learnt to drive a trailer and for the last four years have competed under the spotlights at the VHS National Championships.
Diamanté Del Rey translates as the King of Diamonds, but he’s the King of my heart too; I am forever grateful to him for making all of my dreams come true.
Claire Hazeldine and Taking the Biscuit (aged 23)
We’ve all heard the expression horse of a lifetime, the one horse who you are completely in tune with, changes the way you think and makes you want to get up in a morning. Some people may already have found that horse, some still waiting. I’m fortunate, because my horse of a lifetime is Patchy, and I’ve known her all her lifetime and most of mine. Patchy, or Taking The Biscuit – the most aptly named pony ever – was a well hidden Christmas present from my late Father to my Mother, but I’ve always partnered her as she did not make the 15hh she was supposed to… This is probably lucky, because there’s a huge amount of sass and attitude in Patchy’s 13.1 and a bit body, her in 15hh would be unbearable! Patchy is a highly strung racehorse stuck in a chubby patchy body, and she won’t be told she cant do anything. I could write about her many successes throughout the years, from showing and Working Hunter, affiliated Dressage and Show Jumping and even some side saddle classes, but that’s not why Patchy is so special to us. It’s her zest for life, the aforementioned attitude and her ability to make you smile through tough times. In 2020 Patchy was badly injured, and while her sparky temperament helped keep us motivated, it was also a curse. She regularly escaped from her stable whilst on box rest, then when allowed in a small paddock she jumped out of that, and weeks of hand ‘walking’ around the village made Patchy a local celebrity! In December 2021 she took a turn for the worst and we nearly lost her.
Even prior to her injury Patchy suffered from PSSM, Cushings and as a result laminitis, but none of this has ever stopped her. Despite all the odds she has returned to competition this year, the culmination of her season saw her stand 3rd in the ridden supreme at the VHS Champs. She’s a pony that is difficult to describe, because the words for what she has done for and means to our family do not exist, but please do vote ‘Taking The Biscuit’ for Veteran Horse of the year in the showing awards and help us celebrate a remarkable little pony and her outstanding zest for life.
Laura Kenyon-Brodie and Maysong (aged 25)
Thank you VHS for giving us this opportunity not only for the showing awards but to keep doing what we all love best with our veteran and bringing us together.
Well done to everyone who got through there is some amazing horses and ponies in the line up … but if you think Maisie deserve a vote please could you follow the link and give her one
Maysong or Maisie, is more than just a horse to me she’s my best friend, taking me to places I could have only have dreamed of, after buying her as a school mistress aged 13, to ‘teach me the ropes’. Maisie was a former show jumper and eventer, eventing being her favourite and mine too. She was as brave as a lion out on the cross country course and always got me home safely and definitely within the time!!!
We quickly formed an incredible partnership where she’s taken me competing in Working Hunters, Dressage , show jumping and riding club and even safely carrying my mum around the hacking tracks at home.
I truly believe that I have been incredibly blessed to have a horse like her in my life, so I count my lucky stars every day that she can still keep me on my toes from the spooking at the dock leaves, to always putting her best beautiful foot forward in the show ring. She is so precious to me that she is no longer allowed to compete in her beloved eventing but thoroughly enjoys lighting up the showing ring.
All she needs now is your final vote please could you click on the link below ,go to the Veteran Horse Society Veteran Horse or Pony of the Year section and select Maysong 25 if you think she deserves the crown
Congratulations to everyone else who got through , all the horses and ponies are amazing and a real credit to the veteran world.
Tia Hulse and Silver Henrietta (aged 30)
It's such an honour and a privilege to be representing the VHS as one of the top 6 in the showing world awards.
Silver Henrietta is a 30 year old Irish draught she's been with me for sixteen years. Hettie came to me as a grade A show jumper. She took me from a non-jumper to jumping around a course of 1.60. We then decided to give puissance a try, which we continued to compete in until she was 24 years old, winning her last jump and clearing the 1.80 wall.
I was involved in a very bad ridden accident three weeks before our first time qualifying for the VHS national supreme championship so unfortunately we were unable to compete. Hettie help me regain all my confidence with hacking, schooling, jumping and competing again. Hettie finally got to go the championship at the age of 26 winning the working hunter championship which she is the oldest horse every to do so.
Hettie placed 7th in the Diamond Supreme which again was a huge but delightful shock. Unfortunately after ending the showing season on such a high we had the worst news imaginable, Hettie has cancer, nearly a year after losing my dad to the same illness.
The vets we're torn on what would be the best outcome of treatment due to her being 26 and it being a nasty tumour in her rectum. The vet's decision was to treat the cancer with chemotherapy. She had three lots of chemotherapy, two weeks after each session she would have had an operation cutting away the dying tumour. On the fourth operation the vets were happy that they could remove the whole tumour, which left a hole large enough you could fit two hands in.
This was to be washed out with peroxide twice daily. Hettie then unfortunately caught Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which then pushed her further back with her recovery. A few months had passed and she had the all clear and thankfully she was fit and healthy again. A week before this we had a letter from the VHS telling us Hettie had won the performance award, in the Diamond category and overall performance award champion, which was the news we needed at this point, Hettie then came back to the national championships and placed 4th overall in the Diamond supreme championships. I don't think I stopped crying for a week, I was so happy. At the age of 28 she had officially retired for jumping winning the 1m working hunter in Aintree. She has come back every year to the champs and at the age of 29 was the highest oldest placed horse is the diamond Supremes to place. Hettie competed in her last ever national Veteran championships this year at the grand age of 30 and has now retired from showing.
Hettie has lived her life to the fullest and shows that age is truly a number, she is a true definition of a veteran horse who had competed in every discipline as an older horse. She is the oldest horse to be nominated by four years, which with the age gap is a lot. I would love Hettie to receive as many votes as possible because how many other horses have lived the life she has and are still standing strong. She is the Queen of the Veterans.
Good luck all the other Veterans who have been put forward.
I know all six horse deserve this but what an amazing end to Silver Henrietta last year of competing
Leanne Shadbolt and Knavesgreen Honey Pippin (26)
Leanne has owned Pippin for 11 years and started off as a loan owner to Pippin with a very close friend, Lynn, who had owned her from a foal. Very sadly Lynn was diagnosed with Cancer a year later, and when Lynn passed away in 2013, Pippin was left to Leanne in her will.
Since owning Pippin, Leanne has taken it upon herself to tick off outstanding things on Lynn’s bucket list that she never got to complete. One of these things was side saddle, and this year at the championships, Leanne and Pippin competed in the style and performance class side saddle against all other competitors who were astride to take the win! In their 11 years as a team, they have competed in showing, dressage, show jumping, eventing, and side saddle, and she still loves to do all of these now, competing on the British Riding Club show jumping team and also competing working hunters side saddle.
Unfortunately the past 18 months has been very difficult for the pair as Pippin had 2 separate occasions of impacted colic, nearly losing her on both occasions, but being the strong feisty mare that she is, she fought through both and is still with us fitter and stronger than ever and coming home with some of her best results out competing.
Millie Bowles and Cottrell Riverdance (aged 25)
I am so honoured to have been nominated for the showing world awards. Ronnie aka Cottrell Riverdance has had the most fantastic season, winning at Windsor, a Championship at VHS champs and great results in his finals, 2nd at RIHS and qualifying for pretty much every veteran final possible!! But much much more than that and the reason he deserves your vote is the sort of pony he is and all he has done in his 25 years. He was a games pony in the early days, and still looses his head when we get the bending poles out! He also did eventing and show jumping. Then he was an all rounder with a family we are friends with and then did dressage and a bit of low level showing with my longtime childhood friend, who we then brought him from. So we have known and loved him for a long time, and he has a line of happy children who he’s taught to sit tight and ride! The win would not be just for us but for all those he has been treasured by. He is still teaching little ones to ride on the lead rein at home, and he is a lot better behaved for them than me! I will never have a bond with another horse like I do with him, we do tackless jumping and cantering in the stubble, and although he definitely likes to test me sometimes I trust him with my life.
In 2016 he had a horrible hock injury in the field, chipping the bone in three places, and the on the scene vet thought he would have to be put to sleep. But incredibly he made a full recovery and is completely sound, but till has one chip of bone in his hock somewhere. So every day is a blessing.
Ronnie you continue to make my dreams come true more and more every day, even at 25. What a pony of a lifetime there will be no other like him.
I’m so grateful to showing world and the Veteran Horse Society, SEIB and Showing World for this opportunity and to everyone who nominated us. Well done to all the other finalists all absolutely lovely ponies and true legends there.
Please vote for Cottrell Riverdance!