Here we talk to Rebecca Hamilton-Fletcher about the family’s amazing Connemara pony, Gunner.
At 19 years of age, Smokin Gun also known as Gunner is showing absolutely no signs of wanting to slow down as he remains as competitive and beloved as ever.
Explains Rebecca: “Gunner has had another stellar year with us in which he has continued to demonstrate his consistency and versatility across the disciplines, as well as his remarkable soundness and toughness all of which are characteristics rightly celebrated in the Connemara pony.
“This year my daughter Bethany, and Gunner have focused more on eventing and have notched up an impressive BE record for the year, despite the inconvenience of A Levels during the summer.”
The duo finished third in the BE South West U21 leagues, and fourth in the Pony Club Area Eventing League both of which boasted well in excess of 300 combinations.
Their dressage has continued to impress, and they appear to hold the ‘unofficial record’ of being the only known combination to have successfully represented their Pony Club at Area and Championship dressage across the four levels; from Juniors when they were both twelve years of age, right through to Open (Elementary) level. As a result of this great achievement they are to feature on the revamped main Pony Club website “which is quite an honour” said Rebecca.
“Bethany and Gunner have also been invaluable school team members at various NSEA National Championships, culminating with a spectacular win in the Eventers Challenge Championship at Hickstead.
The event saw Gunner jump two fabulous fast clear rounds in both the 95cm and 1.05m finals.
“They also helped their school to unexpected success at the NSEA National Show Jumping finals at Royal Windsor” said Rebecca.
The pair only managed to fit in two WHP shows this year, ending up Champions at BSPS Area 11.
As Bethany begins the next chapter of her life at University, Rebecca has dusted off her own eventing gear and taken up the competitive reins once again.
“Gunner has been as obliging as ever, and has successfully guided me back into both the BE and the BD arenas, both of which I intend to explore further with him next year.” said Rebecca.
“We attended the British Connemara Pony Society Annual Performance Awards event and Gunner won the overall best Ambassador of the Breed, which we are thrilled with, especially at his age. He was the only pony to get over 10,000 points.
“As always we feel totally blessed to have Gunner as part of our family. He has given us so much pleasure and enjoyment and the continued success is at times overwhelming and never taken for granted.
“It is clear he still loves and adores what he does, especially if it means he’s in front. Long may it last,” she added.
Gunner has been fed on a TopSpec feed regime for many years and he is fed TopSpec Senior Feed Balancer, TopChop Grass and TopSpec UlsaKind Cubes.