THERE was a large turn-out despite unseasonal weather in Exford for the annual Exmoor Pony Society Breed Show 2023, which is recognised as one of the highlights of the Exford Show.

The show was organised by the society, which has been guardian of the breed since 1921.

The significant number of entries and visitors underlined the demand for well-run, traditional shows such as this.

Society breed show secretary Millie Richards said: “Many ponies arrived from all over the country to compete in a wide range of different classes.

“The show bucked the trend of many shows around the country this year seeing an increase in entries from last year resulting in well filled in-hand classes, with 58 ponies pre-entered.

“With brood mare Bluebarn Nancy stealing the show as supreme champion and Blackthorn Poldark taking the reserve, it was a red letter day for their owners, Julian Walters and David Hodge.”

After a marathon judging session by Rebecca Hodkinson-Swift, she chose the supreme in-hand champion to be Walters and Hodge’s brood mare Bluebarn Nancy with her filly foal at foot.

Reserve in-hand champion went to the dry mare Ilkerton Saskia, owned and bred by Mrs V. Eveleigh and led by Mr J. Payne. 

Also joining them in the championship was the champion gelding Greystonegate Juniper and the champion youngstock pony Anchor Quality Street.

In the second ring, the ridden classes began with the Horse of the Year Show qualifier, being judged by Pam Cox and Shelia Dinsdale.

The winner was Dunkery Wigeon, owned by Mr and Mrs Richardson and ridden by Hayley Reynolds.

In second place was Blackthorn Poldark, owned by Julian Walters and David Hodge and ridden by Jessica Talbot.

In the ridden championship, Blackthorn Poldark galloped up the Exford hill to take the supreme ridden championship.

The culmination saw the supreme of the show being judged, where all three judges came together to decide on Bluebarn Nancy and Blackthorn Poldark.