Exmoor Pony Star 2023 Nominations

Votes must be received by 11.59pm on Saturday 4th May 2024. To vote, please go to www.bit.ly/exmoorponystar



Badleybridge Ab Fab.  Molly, as she is known at home, not only holds a special place in the hearts of her owners/breeders, Sandy Wooderson & Madeline Haynes, she has set some amazing records for the Exmoor breed since starting her ridden career. To date she is still the only Exmoor Pony to have qualified for HOYS on the lead rein, something she has achieved for 3 consecutive years. This year, 2023, as in the previous 3 years, she was the only representative of her breed in the mini classes at HOYS and this year stood an extremely credible 5th.

She broke further records by standing open mini champion at the Royal International Horse Show in 2022 and was 3rd the year before that, the only Exmor to have been placed in the open minis at RI.

In 2023 she actually won 2 HOYS lead rein qualifiers and broke further records by standing Overall Reserve Supreme Ridden Champion at Suffolk County and Overall Supreme Ridden Champion at Royal Norfolk, again the only Exmoor to have achieved that. She was also selected to be in the final 6 of this year’s SEIB Showing Awards Native Pony of the Year, which was a great honour indeed.

Molly was born in 2014, the year Sandy lost her husband, and outstandingly she arrived late, on the day that would have been his birthday; a little ray of light on what was a very sad day for the family. She was the first Exmoor foal to come from Badleybridge Stud and the first out of their prolific stallion, Elsinore Alan Partridge. All through her ridden career she has been produced by Christina Gillet and Kevin Cousins, led by Christina, she was ridden up until 2022 by Jennifer Frost. Now out of the class Christina’s son, Lewis has taken on the ride and rode her throughout 2023.

“Molly is truly an amazing ambassador for the breed, she is the ultimate child’s pony, taking everything in her stride from Horse of the Year Show to a fancy dress class. We just couldn’t ask any more of her, proud doesn’t even cover it… she means to much”.


Cumquintyn (14/90) 1990-2023

I’d like to nominate this very special pony for Exmoor pony star. Sadly we lost her a few weeks ago, at the grand old age of 33 and a half, but she’s been a big, reliable, comforting presence in my life for many years and is definitely a star to me.

Cumquintyn – affectionately know to all her friends as The Beast – has been with me since Katie Adam and I drove to Cumbria in 2005 “just to have a look” (with our chequebooks) Peter Dean assured me that she was in foal but she kept me waiting until the very end of July the following year before Amelie appeared – a big, leggy, dark foal with all of her mum’s great qualities, if not her looks!

In the big scheme of things her life has been pretty simple but she made her mark on many people. Despite being almost entirely feral, Beast moved from Cumbria, to Peebles, to Turriff, back to Peebles and then to many places in Wales, looking after babies, (even the ones that weren’t hers) being a great companion, and once she got used to me, was always the first to come over for a sweetie. She was one of those ponies who could take your breath away. I can imagine she’d have done well in the show ring, and as a ridden pony if that was the course her life had taken! She didn’t give me a moments worry until these last few weeks and always lived her life exactly as she wanted (even if that did mean becoming quite pampered and having to have a headcollar on now and again)  I’ll miss her so very much. Rest easy my lovely girl. They broke the mold when they made you.


I would like to nominate the young gelding Darshill Yondu for the 2023 exmoor pony star award ridden by myself Jodie Jackson , owned by Chelsea fallows and bred by Mr Micheal Dewhurst, not only has this 6 year old gelding represented the breed so beautifully in his first open season , qualifying for both , royal international and hoys placing in the final 11 , being Michael’s first home bred to qualify and taking it all in his stride.

This pony has come so far from when I first started to ride him and he has taught me so much whilst learning himself. I have gained so much experience and couldn’t be anymore thankful to Chelsea for the opportunities that I have been given whilst riding Yondu. He has been completely home produced by our little novice team. Yondu was also champion in hand at Cheshire county show but behind the showing scene Yondu has over come so many of his fears and grown in confidence to take his novice owner Chelsea to her first ridden dressage test scoring a lovely 67.82% helping Chelsea grow with her own confidence and looking after her taking her out to her first summer Ford trip and hacks at home , I think Yondu is a true star is his own right and with love, understanding and patience transformed from a nervous , very scared little exmoor to a true bold , bright and confident little exmoor.


Dubbysyke (Bee) has been a trekking pony at Edinburgh University Exmoor Pony Trekking since 2018. I’ve known her since starting as a trek leader with the section in 2019. She’s our smallest pony at only 11.2h with the biggest personality. Bee has previously been advanced riders only due to her speedy and sensitive nature; she was always one you wouldn’t take out in the wind but was good fun for our trek leaders. She was sometimes a bit tricky to catch – as mares and Exmoor’s can be. However over 2020 and 2021 we discovered the trick to making Bee happy (and therefore catching her). Her favourite thing ever is to have scratches on her chest. After a few weeks of doing this in the field Bee learned that if you crouch down a few metres away from her she can walk up to you, and you’ll give scratches – she’ll even return the favour! This then developed into a bit of liberty work where she will follow you and run next to you after scratches. It’s such a fun trick to show new trek leaders and never fails to make us smile after a cold day up the hill.

This year with Bee we’ve accomplished two major things. We’ve worked to ‘beginner proof’ bee and she’s started taking beginner riders on lead rein for the first time ever. We’re all immensely proud of her for this as she has been so patient and brave with the children. She also attended the Scottish area EPS show with me this year. Where despite not having been in an arena or on a busy yard for 5 years she excelled at everything we asked of her. She didn’t win 1st place on anything but was calm and relaxed and took everything in her stride and was a positive influence for her companion (Danelaw Bjaesk). For these two accomplishments this year I’d like to submit Bee for both North Star (Bee lives in the Pentlands Midlothian through term time and Glendevon Perthshire through summer) and Exmoor Pony Star. Over the years of knowing Bee she’s developed from a nervous spooky pony into a pony who would genuinely walk through fire for her rider. Bee is the pony of a lifetime and is so loved by all our trek leaders (me especially).

All of our Exmoor’s are special to us trek leaders – a lot of us will attest that we would not have gotten through university without them. I’m coming to the end of my degree and while life has changed dramatically over the last 4.5 years Bee has been a constant throughout. She’s been a fluffy shoulder to cry on, an escape from deadlines, and a friendly face to cheer me up. She even got me through a global pandemic (despite throwing me off into a reservoir and stealing my lunch). She’s taught me so much and is the reason I fell in love with riding.


I first saw Muffin advertised in the Horse and Hound in early 2006, and I went to look at him. The pony they dragged out the field looked like the Thelwell pony characters, he was very round, hairy and muddy. In March he came home and that’s when our journey began.

For his first outing in May I took him to a local show and before I had even got in the ring he had bucked me off three times. The judge said I should stop feeding him! Needless to say we didn’t venture out anywhere else that year and concentrated on getting to know each other.

In 2008 we discovered Muffin’s love of dressage. We entered our first Prelim tests and won both of them. The judge even got out of her box and commented in true Strictly Dancing style “Fab-U-Lous!

We have had the most amazing 17 years together, we have attended the UK Riders National Dressage Championships six times, British Dressage Petplan Area Festivals 5 times, BD Native Championships four times and BD Veteran Pony Championships 3 times. We have competed up to Medium dressage and Freestyle to music Elementary. Muffin has won awards at Endurance and Showing and was the pin-up for the Exmoor Pony in Liz Wright’s book “Beautiful Horses: Portraits of champion breeds preened to perfection”.

He has taken me hunting and Drag hunting with Cambridge University Drag Hounds, I don’t think I have ever been so fast and for so long, about 3 hours.

2023 – Muffin is 25 years young and has started to find the traveling quite uncomfortable. We did our last competitive dressage Freestyle to Music elementary in May and got a massive 70% so that was the best ending we could have hoped for.

I had always wanted to retire Muffin in style and have a party with all my family and friends who have been a big part of our journey. So in front of an audience of about 30 family and friends we performed our Freestyle to Music and Muffin loved all the clapping and cheering. I then untacked him in the arena and walked him out, it was very emotional and well-deserved.

Muffin is now enjoying his semi-retirement and still loves his hacking.

Muffin is my heart pony and best friend, we have been places I would never of dreamed of together and made the most amazing memories and friends along the way.

Happy Retirement Muffin x


Bubbles has shown her superb temperament and love of people and adventure throughout 2023.

She has taken a lovely young person under her wing and taken Chace Rene Smith to her first ever show, Great Yorkshire and behaved perfectly in the ring to a creditable 2nd at Chaces first ever show. The pair moved on to Equifest and won their class. She has taught two other young folk how to groom her and lead her and taken first baby steps wearing an Inky Dinky saddle and a two year old who loves her. Chase showed her at Gransden Show and then Bubbles went on to spend the rest of the day show casing the breed in the Rare Breeds tent, where her golden temperament, cheeky expression and love of being out and about made her a lot of friends, young and old alike. She is pretty much the perfect pony, loves people early to catch groom and easy with farrier and vet. An excellent ambassador for all little Brown ponies. She is companion for my newly weaned Clevelands and beloved of my landlords little lad who won’t go to bed without visiting her.


I would like to nominate Elm for the Star award for 2023. This is because he was show as a foal at foot then turned away and then pulled off the hill as a 6 year old by Rob and Sarah Taylor (his breeders) and shown initially at the EPS spring show, then numerous shows throughout the summer of 2022. Before being broken to ride in December 2022 and has been ridden for the whole of 2023!

My self and Charlotte went over to Rob and Sarah’s a few times to let him get used to us, as he was a little nervous of new people, but once he got to know us he was very comfortable letting us handle and tack him up. He went from never having his feet touched or picked up to being very sensible to shoe, once he realises who the farrier is again! In October it was time for his first clip, he was practically asleep whilst I did this.

It was the start of January 2023 when he was semi broken in and came home for us to produce and bring on, he went on a few solo rides before we stuck him in the deep end and started proper hacks! Once he had learnt the basics we started increasing length and speed. He may not have had much schooling but he certainly knows how to navigate bridlepaths and obstacles!

He has done so many different things in this past year in which he has excelled at: fun rides, hacking, and his favourite – hunting.

April was his first 10mile fun ride after only 3 months of being broken in and he behaved beautifully, it was as if he had done it before.

We went to a fun ride in August, this once however didn’t go plan – 2 miles in he was having his girth done up and decided to start bronking and I came off! Luckily there was a pen at the top of the moorland track so we caught him again in that! This is the only time he has ever behaved naughtily.

He completed a 14.2 mile fun ride in September over the Quantock Hills, and he has been hunting numerous times, taking everything in his stride. He understands he has to let the Master pass, the hounds come from all directions, but nothing phases him!

He was shown inhand through the summer, with one of those shows being the Welsh Area show. After a 5.5 hour journey he hopped off the trailer and was head down in the field within minutes, when he had only ever travelled max 1.5 hours ever before, he spent the weekend in Wales, where he partook in the handy pony class for his first time and went on to win it!

For a novice pony with a novice rider aboard him he has been the most amazing, fun and sensible pony who absolutely loves his new job as a ridden pony.


Our Danny is not only a lovely stamp of an exmoor but he’s such an amazing pony.  He took Scarlett to HOYS this year for the very first time as the TSR wildcard.  He looked after scarlett and he looked mega! We absolutely loved our first experience of HOYS.  Danny has been a Scarlett’s pony since she was 3 years old.? He’s taught her to ride and brought her through the ranks from lead rein to first ridden to the opens and 100% looked after Scarlett every time.

Danny has won many shows in our local area and he loves to jump (until the scary fillers come out).  He led a character at home, turns feral after a week of turnout but can’t resist a bucket! There are times that we need to bring all the other ponies in so we can catch him!  As Scarlett says, Danny is her heart pony.  Danny is nearly 21 years old but I you wouldn’t know it  looking at him!


I had always dreamed of having my own pony from  around the age of 10 but had never been lucky enough to have one. I always admired the local Exmoor pony herds  and never lost my passion for them over the years.

Fast forward to 2018 when at the age of 57 I was lucky enough to buy some  land near Timberscombe and so began my journey with my own Exmoor ponies. I bought Thor as a two year old gelding, from the late Gill Langdon, part of the Tawbitts Herd at Luckwell Bridge. He was born as a free living foal on the moor but had been well handled before he came to me.

He went off to be professionally backed as a five year old in 2022 but was still a two person project, so in 2023 I sent him off for some more training and he came back in July 2023. Since then I have been riding Thor myself, having been  out of the saddle for nearly 40 years. ( I did go to a local riding  school when Thor was off being trained for some refresher training). Everyone thought I was completely mad to restart riding  at the age of 62 on a green Exmoor pony, but Thor has been the ultimate gentleman. He has made my dreams come true. I am able to hack out alone on local Bridleways,  and also ride him through the village – he is good in traffic and takes it all in his stride. If he has a little spook he quickly settles and I have the confidence in him to not lose his nerve.  I am not as nimble as I once was so I have to mount Thor from the bank but he just stands there for me to get on him. What a sheer delight to ride an Exmoor pony around Exmoor! I feel privileged and blessed to have him. He has the most calm and trusting nature.

My goal/challenge for 2024 is to take Thor to his first local show, and my dream for the future is to see my grandchildren experiencing the joy of riding Thor when they are old enough.

I have lots of people who have supported me on my journey – especially my Exmoor pony mentor Gemma Parry.

Exmoor ponies have certainly got my heart, they make me smile every day. They are so therapeutic and the bond I have with Thor and my other ponies is amazing.


Threeshires Dickson wasn’t the pony I went to buy, but was the pony I came home with. When I saw him in the barn with his brother as  2 year old,  I fell for him straight away. His beautiful toad eye and perfect mealy markings made him stand out. So home he came. He was a very sensitive boy, worrying about people and noises his whole life which meant he didn’t take to the ridden showing lark. This is where he taught me there is more to life than ridden showing… like endurance and x-country and generally having fun, his favourite activity was LeTrec which he was very skilled at being nimble and sure footed.

He was very much a herd animal and we struggled to hack out from home, but if he was put in the lorry and taken to do endurance he thrived and would go for miles keeping up with the arabs and thorough-breds. True to his nature he didn’t pass his vetting at one event, as his heart rate suddenly shot up, when amongst all the endurance horses he spotted another Exmoor, Dax, who he had never met before but proceeded to scream at them across the vetting field.

Moss, as he was named on the way home from collecting him, became a firm favourite on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust stand at both the Suffolk and Royal Norfolk Show. He soon learnt that when he didn’t want visitors near his face he could turn round and get a lovely bum scratch. He taught lots of people about the Exmoor Breed and their versatility. He generated a lot of interest when he became very friendly with the Bagot goat in the pen next door.

Moss has been there to listen to my thoughts on many life events, and when my dad died and my friends son was diagnosed with cancer, I wanted to do a fund raiser for the charities that supported both of them. Riding, cycling and running 300 miles was the challenge I set and it was Moss who carried me for most of those emotional equine miles helping to raise nearly £3000.

He was a great ambassador for the breed and as a gelding stood up against stallions and mares from across the country, taking championships at the Breed Show at Exford and the NPS Championships. He has his name on both the gelding trophy and veteran trophy at the Midlands Exmoor Show many times, winning as a veteran again this year.

I very sadly lost Moss to colic in December 2023, he was my rock,he will be sadly missed, he was my star.


Juniper (also known to many as Mr Fluff) is a 21 years old, 12hh bundle of fun that still has the spirit and zest for life of a 5 year old!  He was bred by Marion Williams & Irene Nash of the Waltersgay Herd.

Juniper is owned by Rachael Davis who has known him since a foal and got him as a Christmas present when he was 5 years old.  Together they have done pretty much anything and everything, from showing including attending Royal Windsor Show (although in the end Rachael decided that Junipers forte may lie outside the ring as all he wanted to do was canter everywhere!!), he loves the annual Exmoor round ups (these are his most favourite thing and apparently he takes a couple of weeks to calm down after!)…….. you name it the pair of them will have done it, including being the first pony to win the Exmoor Pony race.

Juniper has many talents one of them being his patience and kindness with the children, he has taught at least seven children and adults to ride as well as being used for disabled riders.  He has given numerous children their confidence and love of riding back along with introducing many to the wonderful Exmoor breed.

Juniper came to our rescue earlier this year when we sadly lost our wonderful Exmoor pony Anchor Gumdrop. Here is what 10 year old Eliza has to say about him…. “Juniper is very special because he has helped me loads with my confidence, I can be scared of jumping planks and he just takes me over them happily and I feel very proud after the fence.  Juniper has also given me the independence to canter around the gallops all on our own and we are now working towards our Pony Club C test. He has also helped me with overcoming my sadness of losing my last pony Lily and has made me feel better about it and I also feel that I can talk about it.  He is also a very good listener for when I have had a bad day, and is always happy to see me.

Junipers favourite food is chaff with lots of carrots and his lick it treat bar. One funny thing that Juniper has done was when I was taking off his brushing boots has gave me a nudge and I rolled over backwards into a muddy puddle!!

Thank you Juniper for being my Exmoor Pony Star, we all love you so much”

Juniper shows perfectly the versatility of the Exmoor pony breed.