Danial (5) is champion rider

Danial Cunliffe. (s)
Danial Cunliffe. (s)

Tiny Danial Cunliffe has become one of the youngest ever horse riders to become a supreme champion of the show ring.

Just a week after celebrating his fifth birthday Hapton Primary School pupil Danial took on and beat all-comers at one of the most prestigious agricultural events in the North.

His family, who all live at Bentley Wood, Hapton, were absolutely thrilled with the result at Great Harwood Show, but he took it all in his stride.

Success came in the lead rein class, with grandad Robert, taking the lead as Danial and his trusty pony Nadia impressed the judges. Grandma Kathleen Brown was also competing, but had to make do with second place.

“He’s just a natural,” said proud great-grandma Janet Dowson, who bought £350 Nardia as a second birthday present.

Danial and his little Welsh Section A pony, the smallest of the breed, soon found they were a perfect match, and weekly lessons from teacher Sarah Fields quickly found winning ways.

Last year, before he was old enough to go to school, Danial qualified for a place at Wembley from his performances in three agricultural shows.

“It isn’t as though he’s riding a pony that cost thousand,” said Janet. “He sits with a straight back, not at all like a child, even though he is only a little tot. He just loves to ride, and to go over jumps at home.”