Rachael Fear leads the tribute

Exmoor ponies lead tribute to the Queen at Somerset County Show

The iconic Exmoor pony led a tribute to the passing of the Queen at Somerset County Show (Sunday 18 September), having been invited to the show for the first time since the three-year break for the pandemic. Team member Lizzie Raspin played ‘The Last Post’ as the entire showground fell silent as a mark of respect to Her Majesty.

The morning’s Exmoor pony show was organised ExieFest and the Exmoor Pony Society. Jenna Payne, who was part of the organising team, said: “As soon as we heard the sad news about the Queen, our team knew we had to do something to mark her passing.

“We were honoured to be able to pay tribute to our Queen with a parade of Exmoor ponies headed up by Rachael Fear carrying the Union flag whilst riding her own ‘Horse of the Year Show’ bound pony, ‘Mystical Master Bee’. It was very poignant to see all the ponies standing so still; it had such an impact upon onlookers. The Queen was incredibly passionate about her ponies and was a great supporter of the rare breeds. I think she would have been proud.

The showground came alive again after ‘Reveille’ sounded out on Lizzie’s cornet.

The ponies forward represented all types of Exmoor from the youngest, Jade Bailes’ 2 year old gelding ‘Blackertor Sinbad’, and Vicky Long’s recently licenced stallion ‘Farleywater Professor’, to two outstanding representative’s on the leading rein with their child jockeys, Jade Bailes’ ‘Anchor Bufo’ and Vanessa Moody’s ‘Anchor Kryptonite’.

Jenna Payne added: “It was tremendous for us to be able to access such an opportunity to showcase the ponies to a large audience and we were pleased to have so many ponies support our new venture. Lots of people attended our showing classes and the ‘utility pony’ classes were especially popular where competitors undertook a range of obstacles to test the versatility of their ponies. The highest score of the day went to Maria from the Moorland Mousie Trust with their pony ‘Tom’ who also participated in the main display.

“After the parade and minute silence, we were able to showcase each pony individually before judge Michael Dewhurst made his choice and awarded his supreme champion in front of the large crowds that had gathered around the main ring. The day concluded with some utility pony demonstrations.”