27-year-old mounted video games pony ticks main title of his bucket record

  • A mounted video games pony who had received titles around the globe has lastly ticked the Prince Philip Cup off his “bucket record” aged 27.

    Gemma Hopkin’s 12.2hh Welsh pony Merlin, ridden by Jasmine Willis, was a part of the North Herefordshire Pony Membership crew that took the honours on the Horse of the 12 months Present (HOYS) final month. The crew additionally received the Naylors Cup.

    Monmouthshire-based Gemma purchased Merlin, a longtime mounted video games pony then competing for England, 14 years in the past and through the years he taught her two sons, Ben and Sam, to trip.

    “Ben was solely seven and folks couldn’t perceive why I used to be shopping for him, however I knew if I didn’t the chance wouldn’t come up once more,” Gemma instructed H&H.

    “For 18 months I took Ben and Merlin to the using college each week and Ben realized to trip and leap. When Ben was about 9 they began competing with the Pony Membership.”

    Ben and Merlin grew to become those to beat in mounted video games. Over time they received six particular person world titles, six world pairs titles, and plenty of European wins. They have been additionally a part of the successful Welsh crew at Royal Windsor.

    Ben’s youthful brother Sam took over the reins in 2018 and loved a lot crew success with Merlin, earlier than the pandemic struck. When competitions restarted Sam had outgrown him and younger rider Jasmine now has the trip.

    “He’s received nearly every little thing and we’ve travelled all around the world with him, however the Prince Philip Cup was the one we nonetheless needed to tick off the bucket record. Ben and Merlin have been second with Monmouthshire Pony Membership in 2017, so for Merlin to lastly get the win is de facto particular. It felt like he deserved it,” stated Gemma.

    Merlin is managed for PPID [pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction], however at 27 Gemma says he’s the “image of well being” and “appears to be like one million {dollars}”.

    “He’ll compete subsequent 12 months, however we’ll drop him all the way down to Pony Membership stage. He’s such a personality and he loves life, he simply thrives on it. He was bouncing behind these purple curtains at HOYS ready to return out. He loves these lights,” she stated.

    “It’s not the top of the highway for him and he’s nonetheless completely flying. However he doesn’t owe us something. He has a coronary heart of gold and the center of a lion.”

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