The Highland pony that’s living the high life . Find out more about Gromit!
What a season for the Highland Pony Glenmore of Roisbheinn ( Gromit ) and his rider Sue Chapplehow-Lacey (Full time Mum aged 36yrs). The 12yr old gelding owned by Sophie Beaumont stands at just a mere 14hh but his height has shown him no restriction on taking his breed to new heights in terms of qualifications for some serious classes in the uk!
Before we give you the list of what they have achieved what makes this a rather special story is not only because of the breed of the pony but of how Sue and Gromit became to be such a partnership.
My mum had met Sophie in the supermarket and that she had bought this pony that had a bit of a “wicked sense of humour” and that he kept decking riders or bolting with them!, So my mum said Sue might have a ‘go’ with him. I went and tried him and he to set off with me intially which i soon put a stop to then he went to stick his head between his knees which made me laugh as he hasn’t got the power of a warmblood or the sharpness of a thoroughbred! I gave him a big kick and he realised he had to behave and he was grand after that.
Sophie ‘Gromit’s’ owner, who is suffering from a terminal cancer, was originally given 6months to live and Sue was just less than 12 weeks pregnant when she took over the ride in 2015! At first, Susan competed in flat showing, then progressed to working hunter classes. Sue’s passion has always lied with Eventing and so Sue approached his owner Sophie
One day I jokingly asked: ‘Could I event him?’” “Sophie said: ‘If you think he can and you’re happy, go for it’. And that was it.
The 2017 season was their first season eventing for them but was obviously cut short due to the pregnancy but they put in some great performances in that season winning as well before the incredible year of 2018!
The 2018 season started off at Northallerton where they were 6th in the be80 then onto Frenchfield where they were 3rd in the be80 so with two good starts they headed off to Floors Castle for a be90 where things didn’t quite go to plan and an unfortunate fall for them in the showjumping put an end to that event for them. They soon put that behind them and went on to win their next event at Warwick Hall in the be80. Then the season stepped beck up to the be90’s and they started to excel throughout the year resulting in an astounding list of achievements not just in the eventing!
This season, the combination notched up a BE80(T) win as well as two victories and two fourths at BE90 in preparation for the regional final
came fifth in their regional final at Skipton on 4 August to secure their place at the BE90 final next year.
“I love Skipton but wasn’t sure it was the event for him and did’t think he would qualify at because I knew there was a long slow hill in it and this doesn’t tend to suit him! Luckily he had a decent dressage of 18.3 then unfortunately had one showjump down; he can be a bit lazy over poles which has cost me two HOYS worker tickets this year as he’s had the last one down. I wasn’t going to chase the for the time on the cross country, I ride him according to how he feels on the day as sometimes he’s enthusiastic and sometimes not – typical Highland! I didn’t look at my stopwatch until two fences from home, and we had plenty of time.”
This gained the Mitsubishi Motor Cup Qualification for Badminton Grassroots Championships in 2019. Sue has previously competed in the grassroots Badminton event on her own horses and is looking forward to returning, but ‘Gromit’ the wonder pony is believed to be the first Highland to qualify for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton!.
Sue and ‘Gromit’ only competed in one other Scottish event other than Floors Castle (which we won’t mention again!) in 2108
At Dalkeith we had a really good Dressage thankfully as we had 12 faults in the Showjumping yet we still ended up 3rd so I got my ticket for 2019
The Blair qualification works that if you are in the top three then you qualify for the Scottish Grassroots Championship which is held at Blair Castle.
This season the combination of ‘Gromit’ and Sue Chapplehow-Lacey have qualified for :
HOYS 2018 whp : Had a pole down with his tail!! Dropped from 3/4th to 11th!
Badminton grassroots BE90 2019
Blenheim arena event 2018 : 3rd place
Blair BE90 2019
Blair NPS 143 whp ticket : finishing 10th (two poles cost him dearly)
Blair : Reserve Champion in the Highland Working Hunters as he won the Open.
NPS Malvern 143 whp ticket: we unfortunately decided not to attend due to an already busy schedule but will hopefully re-qualify next year and make the trip
BSPS champs Summer and Winter – unfortunately unable to attend
NCPA pony of the year
BD Native pony champs in Novice and Elementary – missed due to the rider injuring a non equestrian related injury
Petplan Dressage : Novice and Elementary – which they missed due to other events in the schedule.
Many of us would be very happy with just one of those qualifications but She also said Gromit’s success has proved a tonic to Sophie, whose cancer is terminal.
It keeps her going because it’s something else to plan for and aim for, the consultant thinks it’s helped keep her here; we keep qualifying for things and I keep saying to her: ‘well, you’ve got to be there then, you can’t miss it.
The plan over winter was just to keep him ticking over then he will be aimed at Oasby Horse Trials in March.
Sue thanked her friend Trudy, who grooms for her and looks after her children, all of whom are aged under four, adding
“without her I couldn’t do it”.
Thank you to all the team mum Anne, Sophie, Trudi, dad, Clare, my husband Gareth and of course my amazing children Neive, Angus & Georgia.
We look forward to following their progress on the build up to Badminton!
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