James Takes BSPS Rider of the Year Award

A delighted James Painter won the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year Award at the BSPS Summer Championships.

Shropshire-based James and the 143cm Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony, Willoway Apple Jack, were on great form to wow the judges in the prestigious final at Arena UK, near Grantham.


The Award is one of the highlights of the show, with the presentation taking place during the Saturday Evening Performance when James won a bespoke Black Country Saddle as his prize.

Said James (19): “AJ as we call him at home, is a superstar. He is now 14-years-old and we have a fantastic partnership together.

“I look after AJ and prepare him for shows myself with help from my Mum, Liz and really enjoy going competing.  We have had a great season and he is just a fantastic pony.

“Winning a Black Country Saddle is just amazing and a brilliant bonus, I was over the moon to take the award, it was a great evening.

“AJ is very consistent and I really enjoy riding him, we have owned him for five years and this year have qualified for HOYS and also competed at the Royal International Horse Show.”

Qualifiers for the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year Award took place at shows all over the country with the final open to riders who have been awarded a Best Rider Card in the following classes:

Open Lead Rein and First Ridden, Open Lead Rein Hunter Type, Open Show Ponies, Open Show Hunter Ponies, Open Cradle and Nursery Stakes, Open WHP, Open Intermediate, Open Heritage Lead Rein and First Ridden, Open Heritage Ridden and Open Heritage WHP classes.

At the championship the competition was divided into six categories, with each winner receiving a Black Country Saddles jacket.

The sections were Lead Rein Rider of the Year, nine years and under, 11 years and under, 14 years and under, 17 years and under, and 25 years and under.

The classes and championship were judged using a two-phase system with marks accrued from a freestyle individual show before a second individual show with set movements required.

Picture Caption: James Painter with John Hartley of Black Country Saddles and judge Robert Walker.

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