The Queen ‘delighted’ to be ringside to see her home-bred Highland stand champion at Royal Windsor

  • The Queen was present to witness her home-bred Highland mare Balmoral Leia win her class and secure the Royal Windsor Horse Show Highland pony title, before going one better and scoring the Horse & Hound mountain and moorland (M&M) in-hand championship.

    Leia, a five-year-old by Balmoral Lord out of Balmoral Melody, was led by her producer Lizzie Briant during her class, but Henry Hird took the lead during the championship.

    This was the second year in a row Henry has led the overall M&M champion at Windsor; in 2021 he was in charge of Vanessa Clark’s Connemara mare Skargaardens Delicious Love.

    “Her sire sadly died of grass sickness, which was a great shame as he was stunning and greatly adored,” explained Lizzie, who has a team of Balmoral ponies here at Windsor. “We showed her dam, Melody, for several years and she was shown under saddle here at Windsor.”

    The Queen sat ringside in her Range Rover during the class and championship, and saw her ponies after their performances, also enjoying a debrief with Lizzie, who has been a long-term producer for Her Majesty.

    “Leia is very pretty and feminine,” Lizzie added. “Her Majesty said she is extremely delighted with the win, as we all are. The girls at Balmoral who bred Leia are equally delighted as they love her.”

    David Puttock judged the overall championship:

    “She is a lovely native pony with every characteristic she should have,” he enthused. “She was shown and presented beautifully, too.”

    Reserve was the Kilbey family’s 11-year-old Welsh section A stallion Springbourne Capricorn. The Kilbey’s mare Idyllic Guinevere was also reserve here last year.

    “I have judged the section A before and he is a super mover,” added David. “I also liked the Connemara and the Fell, but there were 12 super native ponies in front of me.”

    Leia is broken to ride and the hope is she’ll make a ridden prospect.

    The Queen’s yearling colt Balmoral Duke, by Balmoral Mandarin, was third in his youngstock class, handled by Henry Hird.

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