‘It all happened within an hour’: 12-year-old rider scores HOYS victories in two disciplines

  • For most riders one victory at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) would be enough to satisfy a lifelong dream, but this year’s show saw a 12-year-old lift two classes across different equestrian sports within an hour of each other.

    After winning the 128cm children’s riding pony of the year accolade on Lisha Leeman’s home-bred Kellythorpe Tiny Dancer (Gillie), Cate Kerr had to make a quick dash to the International Arena to ride three ponies in the 128cm showjumping championship.

    Not flustered in the slightest, Cate not only picked up seventh with HOYS debutante Marons Romeo, but jumped to win the class on her 10-year-old dun gelding Dunbarover IV (Yogi).

    Cate also made showjumping history by becoming the first rider to win the 128cm championship on the same pony two years in a row.

    “It is very special to win it again,” Cate said.

    “It all happened on the same morning within an hour,” said Cate’s mother, Lisa Kerr, who later watched her daughter ride Gillie into reserve position in the children’s riding pony of the year championship during the evening performance.

    Gillie is based with show producers Craig Elenor and Sara Parrott and was a winner at the Royal International with Cate in 2019.

    The Kerrs are based in Newmarket and Cate trains with Mike Maloney.

    “Yogi was bought from Ireland and Cate has worked very hard with him,” explained Lisa. “She’s up every morning before school to ride the ponies.

    “She loves the speed of the showjumping, but understands how important solid ground work and proper schooling is. Her showing experience definitely helps her jumping.”

    Cate had four ponies to warm-up before her classes even started on Saturday morning at HOYS.

    “After the show ponies, she had to quickly take out her pigtails and change out of her jacket into her bling for the jumping,” said Lisa. “We said after the show pony class that the chances of winning two classes at HOYS in one day are very slim, but here we are. It was a phenomenal day.”

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