Newmarket’s Julia Woods said it ‘all came right on the day’ after she rode Glen Paddy to Supreme Championship glory earlier this month.
After advancing through the heats at the National Pony Society Dressage Championships, it was a routine played to a compilation of Dolly Parton songs which won them the title in the finale.
“I took two ponies to the event and if you won your class then you went through to a ride-off,” explained Woods.
“The 16 class winners had to perform to dressage music which were all judged by independent judges, and you were marked on your music too.”
Woods returned for the evening finale to compete with both Paddy and her other pony Aodhan, which saw the Newmarket rider claim the top two positions.
“I used new music that I’d done which was a Dolly Parton compilation,” she said.
“I didn’t know how it was going to go, and the final marks were very close.
“But I think the high score which I got for my music choice was what got first place.
“We’ve been saying it was Dolly that won it for us!”
The winning pony, Paddy, who was brought up by Newmarket breader Sally Fuller-Lewis, has been backed from scratch by Woods.
And after a nervy finish waiting to hear the final results, Paddy became the first Connemara pony to win the competition.
“When they announce the final positions they call out 16th, then 15th, 14th,” recalled Woods.
“It got to the top 10 and I was thinking I’d be happy with that. Then it got to the top six and when it went down to the final two I knew I’d won.”
More than 300 ponies entered the event, with around 20 competing in each of the 16 heats that were staged.
“I had not done a music dressage on Paddy before but it all came right on the day,” Woods enthused.
“I’m busy all summer, as I mainly ride for Sally we’ve got four home-bred ponies who are young and now starting out on their careers.”
It was a memorable day for the Connemara breed, with the two teams finishing in first and second out of 23 teams in the preliminary event.
Woods featured for the winning team, The Connemara Connundrums, who also had Debbie Boylan White on Kippure Norma, Sonya Fitch Peyton on Corrigeenroe Connor and Amy Boaler on Celestial navigation in their team.
The St Flannans team finished just behind them, while in the novice team the Conundrums came third, and the St Flannans eighth out of 18 teams which entered the competition.