Feature: 3rd Year’s Darcy, Bobby the Pony and the Show Jumping Championships

Last weekend, Darcy Wilson from 3rd Year competed in The Winter Show Jumping Championships in Gloucester. She’s been involved in the sport since the age of four and has been riding and competing ever since.


Darcy’s mum, Tara says she is ‘extremely dedicated’ to the sport, getting up early each morning to feed and muck him out before school: “She has formed a very strong natural partnership with Bobby and I think the two of them will go far!”


Here, Darcy explains her love for the sport, the training involved and the exciting future it holds.


Bobby the Horse


“Wilma Bobby is my seven year old Bay Connemara gelding. His name comes from his mother, a Connemara pony, who was called Doe Wilma. He was bred in County Meath in Ireland and was transported to England for sale when he was around three years old. We bought him in Dorset when he was four and brought him down to Cornwall.


He was young and inexperienced when we bought him, having never jumped or competed before. Over the past two years, with help from my brother Jake and mum Tara, who are both equestrians themselves, I have produced Bobby to National Show Jumping level. I’ve never been taught by an instructor, as my family have always helped train me.


Bobby has had a varied education of riding out, cross country jumping and competitions, hunting, dressage, One Day Events (winning Pony Club competitions), Working Hunter Pony competition wins and many Show Jumping wins. These events are all designed to instil confidence in him through a variety of different situations and competition types and to make his life fun.”


Bobby’s Forte


“Bobby is widely talented across these equestrian disciplines; however Show Jumping is his real forte and my great love, so I am very lucky! We now focus on Show Jumping and Working Hunter Classes for competition, aiming at qualifying in both for the Horse of the Year Show and The Royal International Show at Hickstead next year, plus many other County and National Level competitions. For example, we are entered into the West of England Pony 1m20 Open Show Jumping class at Royal Cornwall Show this year.


After an increasing number of wins and places in Devon and Cornwall in Show Jumping, Bobby and I qualified both last year and this year for the Blue Chip National Winter Show Jumping Championships at Hartpury, Gloucestershire. Unfortunately we could not attend last year due to an equine viral outbreak in the area so this year, having qualified again, I was determined to go.”


Training for the Championships


“Bobby and I trained very hard in the run up to the Show Jumping Championships. My aim was to keep him fit for such a big event, since he’d be jumping two days in a row in a number of different classes in the main indoor arena. This is a flashy arena with a crowd of several thousand. It was also the first time either of us had seen anything like it. Luckily we have good facilities to be able to do this.


After school, I’d come home and either do flatwork (dressage), a hack out (on the roads, lanes and through fields) and do jumping practice at least once a week before the show. This involved different jumping exercises and then a course and a jump off. I felt confident we could do well providing we both stayed calm and focused and did not let the nerves of such a big occasion get to us.”


The Big Day and the Future


“I need not have worried, however, as Bobby took everything in his stride. He stayed calm but responsive and did everything I asked of him. We were up against serious competition; 16 year old riders on some of the country’s top ponies. We even got to jump three special fences which were in the London 2012 Olympic Show Jumping competition! We were placed twice, coming 21st out of 124 starters in the 95cm warm up class. We also came 13th out of 68 starters in the pony 1m05 speed class. Although this was Bobby’s first time in such a big arena he didn’t seem to be phased by anything!


These results in a first National Championships with him are extremely exciting for the future. Bobby is still young and I have almost four years left to compete him in junior British Show jumping affiliated competitions. Who knows, if we keep training hard we may even make European or International level in that time.”


Head to our Facebook page for more photos of Darcy and Bobby.