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Wylye mounted games team - guests of honour at new Superstore

What a year for the Wylye Pony Club Mounted Games team! Two months ago they were presented to HRH Princess Royal at the Horse of the Year Show and then made history last weekend by opening the new Robinsons' Equestrian Superstore at Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire, situated just off junction 23 of the M6.

The Wylye team members were: James Stark from Stanton Drew, Chris Clinton from Chewton Mendip, Hannah Seabourne from Faulkland Bath, Tayah Barrs from Freshford and Mary Chivers from Stratton on the Fosse. Maria Gibson trained the team and Jim Morgan is Team Manager. Wylye won not only the Robinsons' Trophy but also the prestigious Prince Philip Cup in the national finals of The Pony Club Mounted Games competition held at the Horse of the Year Show in September. Robinsons, who have sponsored both of these competitions for the last two years, are the largest equestrian mail order company in the country and did have, until September 2002, the biggest equestrian retail store in the country until it was totally destroyed by fire.

Last Sunday, the Wylye mounted games team officially opened Robinsons' new Superstore, which is now not only the largest equestrian retail store in the country but also the largest in Europe.

The Wylye team arrived at the Superstore in great style, emerging from a "stretch" limousine wearing sunglasses - the compulsory accessory worn by all star icons - to have endless photographs taken as they walked down the red carpet. They then cut the ribbon and declared the new Robinsons' Superstore open for business to the delight and relief of the anxious shoppers who had literally been queuing for hours. About 3,000 people actually visited the Superstore that first day.

Jim Bentham Managing director of Robinsons commented, "These young people showed skill, character and determination and superb riding ability to win both Pony Club Mounted Games trophies at The Horse of the Year Show. It is a pleasure to have them associated with our new Superstore, an equestrian outlet that is not only the best in Britain but in Europe."

Trainer Maria Gibson said, "It was absolutely wonderful and very exciting. A real, once- in-a-lifetime experience. The children thoroughly enjoyed being guests of honour and treated like royalty. We were delighted to have been invited by Robinsons who have been such generous sponsors for the Pony Club Mounted Games".

Both the Prince Philip Cup and the Robinsons' Trophy have their final competitions at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) at the NEC in Birmingham in September.

Over 250 teams, from across the country, entered the competitions and the top six teams compete against each other (at HOYS), over a variety of races over three heats for the Robinsons' Trophy and over seven heats for the Prince Philip Cup. The scores from each race are accumulated and the winner is the team with the most points after the sessions for each competition.

The Wylye team won the Robinsons' Trophy last year but missed out on the Prince Philip Cup by just one point, to arch rivals Oakley from the Buckingham area.


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