A PRIZE-WINNING horse scooped a top prize at a prestigious national horse show.
Woodhouse Calendar Girl won the Shire Horse category at the annual contest Horse of the Year at the NEC in Birmingham.
Martin Fountain, owner of Woodhouse Calendar Girl, said it was a ‘thrilling’ experience.
Mr Fountain, of Woodhouse Farm near Marston Montgomery said: “She’s a three year old filly.
“She was bred at home.
“She qualified for the Shire Horse Show in Peterborough.
“She’s been unrivalled since she was a foal, and has only been beaten once in the horse shows.
“We take her all over the British Isles to shows.
“My family have been exhibiting shires at shows for years and years.
“We keep about a dozen horses at any one time.
“My dad recently judged a huge Canadian horse show - the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
“It’s such a thrill to enter a horse and have her win the competition.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience.”
The autumn event, which runs every year was founded by a man called Captain Tony Collings who first came up with the idea when there was no special event to mark the end of the equestrian season.
He believed that there was a need for a celebrated culmination of the year, a champion of champions show.
His idea was picked up by the then Chairmen of the British Show Jumping Association and British Horse Society Colonel Mike Ansell and Colonel VDS Williams.
Whilst Mr Collings’ aim was to run a champion of champions showing event, a compromise was made with Ansell who believed that it was show jumping that would bring in and excite the crowds.
It therefore became a BSJA jumping show; with a balanced mix of show classes open to qualified horses and ponies that had won prizes at major shows during the season.
Thus in each section there would be a Horse of the Year, and in 1949 Horse of the Year Show was born.
In 2002 the show moved from Wembley Arena, its home for over 40 years, to the NEC Arena, Birmingham.
Since the move to the NEC, the show has experienced record numbers visiting every year.
Celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2013, the prestigious equine show welcomed 1,600 horses and ponies, 1,500 competitors and 65,000 spectators.