Jodie Hall-McAteer claims the top two places in a hot pony showjumper of the year
The pony showjumper of the year is a one title that has eluded Jodie Hall-McAteer – until now. In her final year before she bows out of ponies, Jodie won it in fine style, underscoring her talent to lift the top two places with the feisty, scopey and utterly brilliant Tixylix and the ultra-careful The Little Squire.
“I was second in 2013 and 2014 and has a fence down last year, so I was quite determined this year. Tixylix is phenomenal. This win is definitely up there in my career, and it was extra special with Little Squire, I’ve brought him through [the grades] from the start,” said Jodie.
It is the first time since 2005 a rider has taken the top two places – William Whitaker achieved the same feat with Indien De Here and Colton Maelstrom.
Seven of the 25 finalists jumped initial clears over a tough track to access the jump-off, with Jodie’s two joined by last year’s winners Robert Murphy and Rainbows Mocha and 2016 European pony individual gold medallist Jack Whitaker on Zodianne Van De Doevenbree.
Emma Crawford and Moonflight set the standard in the opening draw but they were soon relegated by Jodie on first ride The Little Squire, wiping more than three sec from the time.
Robert on Rainbows Mocha chased hard accompanied by encouraging shouts, but the game pony pushed out the front bar of the final oxer to finish an eventual fifth. And it wasn’t Jack Whitaker’s day when Zodianne hit an early fence to put him out of contention, the pair finishing on a total of 10 faults.
It was Jodie’s day. She set the ever-eager 18-year-old alight at the first fence and negotiated tight turns at the gallop, taking a flyer to the last to cross the beam 1.15 sec faster than her round on Little Squire.
“Tixy just loves her job. Every time she goes in the ring, she knows it’s a big occasion. She can be difficult in the warm-up – she does her own thing – but when she sees the lights and the crowd, she knows it’s time to do her job,” said Jodie, 16.
Emma held onto third place with Moonlight Flight and Allana Clutterbuck eased Sue Evans’ Sultan Du Bary into fourth.
Robert had to settle for fifth this year with Rainbows Mocha. Georgia Blakemore’s final drawn round on Toy Story III incurred four faults at the final fence for sixth with Jack and Zodianne seventh.
Photos © Jumping Around