Pony Club Member Stars in The Queen’s Birthday Celebrations at Windsor Castle

The Pony Club Search for a Princess competition saw fourteen year old winner Hannah Richardson take a leading role in Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle.

Hannah, who has been a member of The Old Berkshire Hunt Pony Club since the age of four, was chosen from ten shortlisted riders who attended a selection day at Moorwards Farm Equestrian Coaching Facility, Buckinghamshire.

The standard of riding amongst each of the ten potential princesses was high, and by lunchtime the judging panel of Captain Mark Avison, former Riding Master of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Pony Club Chairman Mary Tuckett, Pony Club Vice Chairman Dawn Taylor and Pony Club Coach Lois Selmes, were undecided on who they should choose as the Princess and reserves.

But Hannah and twelve year old Annie’s Kit performed impeccably throughout the afternoon sessions to be chosen unanimously for the role of a young Princess. A speechless Hannah took to the podium with reserves Alice Hillary (14, Cobham Pony Club) and Charlotte Keers (12, North Down Pony Club) who had made the long trip to Iver Heath from Northern Ireland.

A delighted Hannah said: “It was a big shock to be chosen. It felt surreal!”

None of the riders left empty handed, as we at Champion fitted and presented all ten potential princesses with a new Champion Grand Prix hat, a low profile, modern and lightweight hat, covered in fine rich and durable German velvet for a traditional look. Each potential princess also received family tickets to Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Hannah getting fitted for her Champion Grand Prix hat
Hannah getting fitted for her Champion Grand Prix hat

Mary Tuckett, Chairman of The Pony Club, said: “The Pony Club was greatly honoured to be involved with the celebration of HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, marking not only her birthday but her life-long passion for horses and her contribution to the equestrian industry.”

Hannah took to Royal Windsor’s spectacular Castle Arena each night alongside Kinvara Garner, who was selected to pair up with Hannah by representatives from Windsor, dressed in tweed jackets and period style jodphurs with flared thighs and hips. The Princesses also donned dark coloured wigs to perform a mock riding lesson under the guidance of Pony Club stalwart Hilary Wakefield, who played the part of instructor Sybil Smith; Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret’s childhood riding instructor.

The celebration, which included over 900 horses and more than 1,500 participants from all over the world, took the audience through The Queen’s extraordinary life; from the excitement of her birth, through to World War Two, her marriage, the coronation and a reign of more than 60 years.

As well as playing the part of a young Princess, Hannah was invited to a Reception at Windsor Castle where she was introduced to The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and TV personalities Ant and Dec.

Sporty Hannah, who also enjoys netball, athletics, hockey and swimming, said: “The Reception was an amazing experience and a real privilege.” Hannah went on to thank her mum, dad and sister Abby for their support and her much-loved pony Kit for being ‘one in a million.’  Hannah also thanked her instructor Charlotte Jackson and her Pony Club District Commissioner Alison Hargreaves who supported her Search for a Princess competition application.

Hannah meeting HM The Queen. Photo credit Kit Houghton
Hannah meeting HM The Queen. Photo credit Kit Houghton
Hannah with Kinvara, MG and Ant & Dec. Photo credit Kit Houghton
Hannah with Kinvara, MG and Ant & Dec. Photo credit Kit Houghton


Pippa Funnell’s Champion Ventair inspected by our safety experts

We’re delighted to see that Pippa Funnell was back in action at Rockingham International last weekend, after her bad fall at Withington Manor Horse Trials at the start of May which resulted in her withdrawing from Badminton Horse Trials. Pippa’s Champion Ventair helmet was sent back to our safety experts at our factory in Cardiff for inspection and this is what we found…


Ventair Deluxe Navy jockey  helmet  size 6 7/8 involved in fall returned for inspection.

Dear Pippa

We all at Champion hope you are on the mend after your fall?

Thank you for allowing us to inspect your hat. As you know we carry out extensive testing both in house and at the British Standards (BSI) but we can learn a lot more from hats such as yours that have been involved in real life accident situations.

The above hat produced in our Cardiff factory as part of Batch 10 in June 2015 was inspected for damage and report is as follows.

From the outside there are few signs hat had been involved in a fall apart from the small area on the Right side above the eye where the paint has come away from the shell.

Upon removal of head lining from the shock absorbing polystyrene liner it is plain to see that this hat has been involved in a high impact accident.  The polystyrene liner has been slightly reduced in thickness at the front right temple area, but more significant damage to the liner has occurred 50mm above this where it has been crushed between your head and the shell having made contact with a firm surface, there is a crack in the polystyrene approximately 70mm long.  (See Photographs).

Once again thank you for returning your hat for inspection we hope you are making a fast recovery and will be back in the saddle shortly.

Best regards

Tony Palkowski

Technical Eng.

Champion Manufacturing (SH) Ltd


What this inspection once again goes to show is that even if there is little outward sign of damage, your helmet should always be replaced if it has been involved in a fall. Pippa’s Champion Ventair did its job well, absorbed a considerable impact and helped protect her from more extensive injuries.

Always be safe rather than sorry – if in doubt, replace your helmet!