William Reaches for the Top

Silver Lough Working Hunter Champion at BSPS Area 3B Winter Show ridden and owned by William Pittendrigh smaller

Based in Northumberland, 10 miles south of Corbridge, 20-year-old William is a man on a mission, determined to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport.

He takes up the story:

“I come from a three generation family who have all shown. My grandparents on my mother’s side used to show in hand, and my mother competed successfully in Small Hunter classes.

“On my father’s side, his parents produced show horses and dad competed at HOYS in both flat classes and workers so I’ve followed on from that! 

“I’ve already been lucky to have some great horses and for this year I have two main workers to ride and compete in Silver Lough and Kildalton Heiress. Both are 15.2hh, pure Irish Draught and eight-years-old.

“Silver Lough has achieved just about everything, he has been champion at the Royal International Horse Show, won the Intermediate Workers at Royal Windsor two years in a row as well as winning the Lightweight Horse workers there last year.

“He has also been on the BSPS England team three times and last year competed on the international team in Wales. He was fifth at the Horse of the Year Show in the Cuddy sponsored  Working Hunter of the Year and Intermediate Gold Cup winner at the BSPS Championships.  We are a great partnership and he has really helped me make a name for myself in the sport.

“Kildalton Heiress competed successfully in Novice Horse Working Hunter and Intermediate classes last year and she is also a brilliant hunter. She is a beautiful mare with one hell of a jump so I’m very excited to be getting her out this year! 

“I also have my faithful coloured horse Constellation who I have owned for nine years. He used to be my Intermediate Worker until he injured himself in a HOYS qualifier. He had qualified for the Royal International Horse Show as a horse worker and Intermediate beforehand but after his injury, I decided to hog him and 12 months on we stood Amateur Coloured Champion at the RIHS when I was 18 and before I became a professional.

“Keeping the horses in the very best condition is so important in the showing world and I like them to be in good shape but also fit and ready to compete.  I have been very lucky to be sponsored by TopSpec since 2016 and the feed really makes a difference.  The range really provides everything I need and I am a huge fan of TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer, TopChop Grass and TopSpec Turbo.

“Silver Lough looks great for this time of the year and has already had a win taking the Working Hunter Championship at BSPS Area 3B at Bishop Burton – he’s just a star!

“Finally, there is Sligo Better Value. He used to compete in horse workers but the judges thought he was too much like an event horse so after jumping 11 HOYS qualifiers clear in one year, I decided to event him instead.  So far, he has a clean record of double clears and we have been competing at BE Novice level. He also took me round the Ledbury Hunt Golden Button Challenge last year which was massive! I’m 6ft 1in and there wasn’t one hedge smaller than me!

“I really enjoy being out on the show circuit and have a couple of favourites being the Royal Highland and the Great Yorkshire Show. My father used to be a farmer so I love the agricultural side of the shows and there is always such a huge crowd around the rings at both of them. 

“When I’m not out competing I hunt regularly with the Tynedale and try to get out twice a week if possible. I like to get my show horses hunting to let them have some fun after the showing season and they really do love it. However this season I’ve barely been out due to the weather. 

“In my spare time I like to for the gym as I think being fit for riding is very important and I don’t know why but for some strange reason I’d love to get into pottery and ice skating but sadly there isn’t anything local. 

“I try to keep a real life balance between horses and other activities and one of my biggest achievement in life so far is raising over £3,600 for cancer charities. I first raised over £2,200 when I hunted side saddle on Constellation – I know, bonkers! I then grew my hair for two years donating over 12inches of hair as well as more than £1,400 too for the Little Princess Trust who make wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. 

“Looking to the future I would love to win the Intermediate and Working Hunter of the Year at HOYS. I’ve always dreamed about galloping down the centre line under the spotlight and this season I aim to qualify both of my working hunters for HOYS and RIHS in both classes.

“On the eventing front I am aiming for 2* level with my eventer Sligo Better Value and I would love to do some plaited coloured and possibly some side-saddle classes with my coloured horse Constellation. I am also hoping to event Silver Lough a bit too which is exciting for the future.”