Bergh Apton pair top in their respective sections of the 2011 Veteran Horse Showing Performance Awards

There must be something in the grass at Bergh Apton, the small south Norfolk village with a population of just 450.

Two equine residents, Maisie, aged 26 and Crackenthorpe Daytona, aged 22, have come top in their respective sections of the Veteran Horse Showing Performance Awards for 2011. This is no mean feat given that the Veteran Horse Showing Performance Awards are open to all horses and ponies affiliated to the VHS across the country.

Maisie is a 11.2hh Dartmoor/Shetland cross and has been with Isabel Meadows for nearly four years.

Last year was their first competing with the VHS and they notched up consistent wins, including the Royal Norfolk Show, Wayland Show and Leek Agricultural Show in Staffordshire, where Maisie qualified for the Olympia Championship. Maisie won the Veteran Plus section for horses and ponies aged 25 years and over.

Isabel Meadows, aged 9, said: 'Maisie and I have had lots of fun together in VHS classes and it's a wonderful surprise to do so well. Very often Maisie is the smallest pony in the line up by a few hands and I'm the youngest rider by quite a few years. I'm looking forward to competing with her at Royal Windsor Horse Show where I hope we might see The Queen.'

Crackenthorpe Daytona (Dan) is 16hh and has been competing in Veteran Horse Showing with his owner Ruth Harris for two years.

Together they've enjoyed successes in dressage as well, winning the reserve championship for senior rider at VHS Dressage Championships held at Hargate EC in Derbyshire. Dan won Veteran section for horses and ponies age 20–24 years old.

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Ruth Harris said: 'We've owned Dan since he was five and he's been a great all-rounder, competing at Pony Club Horse Trials Championships with my daughter and reached intermediate level. I was a happy hacker and when my daughters left home, I decided I would learn to ride properly and compete myself, swapping roles from groom and chauffeur. Veteran Horse Showing has given me some fantastic opportunities to compete on a level playing field.'

Ironically, neither Ruth. nor Isabel's mother Lizzie realised the Bergh Apton connection until a couple of days before Christmas when they met at the outdoor arena they both use for schooling which separates their fields.

Lizzie Meadows said: 'We'd seen Ruth around quite a bit and often Maisie and Dan lined up next to each other in veteran classes, but it was only when we met at our mutual friend's yard that the penny dropped.

'Since then Ruth has offered to take Isabel out hacking and a couple of weeks ago we discussed the fact that both Maisie and Dan had registered for the Performance Awards.

'We both thought wouldn't it be funny if we both won. Now we think it's either something in the grass or something in that outdoor arena.'

• April, a freezemarked 15.1hh Arab x TB dapple grey mare recently went on loan with a view to buy in the North Walsham/Fakenham area.

'Payments were never made and all contact for the return of the mare have been ignored,' said a Missing Horses on Loan spokesperson. The passport and freemark have been flagged and April is registered on NED as Missing on Loan. Information can be given, in confidence, to Missing Horses on Loan on 07794 453911. Crime reference no: EP-20120131-0388.

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