Future looks bright as the Burkins battle back

MOTHER and daughter team Karen and Sophie Burkin have much to look forward to this season.

The professional show pony producers have built a successful business while overcoming serious setbacks that might have defeated less determined people.

Members of the family have twice been involved in near fatal car crashes.

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Karen grew up on a Scarborough stud which she developed into a riding school when she was 19 in order to fund competing in eventing.

She brought her two children up as a single mother and put herself through college in order to improve her equestrian qualifications.

As her two childeren started riding, Karen began to produce show ponies. All the hard work started to pay off in 2001 when Sophie took the Home Produced Show Pony Championship at the British Show Pony Championships and qualified for the Horse of the Year Show.

But the following year disaster struck when Karen was involved in a terrible car accident. A drunk driver crashed into her and she was seriously injured.

Even now, Karen prefers not to dwell on what happened but she faced a huge battle to regain her health and had to leave the yard near Castle Howard that she had built for over 10 years.

However, within a year she had persuaded doctors that she was fit to get back in the saddle and behind the wheel of her horse lorry.

Karen and Sophie had built another team of show ponies when in 2007, Karen’s son Josh was involved in a car accident which left him fighting for his life in Hull Royal Infirmary.

“Josh was in a terrible way, he had multiple fractures and was in a coma for nine days,”said Karen.

“We were told to expect the worst but fortunately he was amazingly strong and pulled through.”

By 2009, the Burkin show team was back on its feet and had a fantastic year.

The highlight came in not only qualifying for the RIHS and HOYS but in winning the Charlotte Morgan 14.2hh Show Pony of the Year with Rotherwood Flight of Fancy at the Horse of the Year Show.

Then last year Sophie rode her own Connemara, Silver Rebel, to take the Mountain and Moorland Championship at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Another combination they hope will better last year’s results is Sue Jewitt’s home-bred Osbaldeston Crystal, ridden by seven-year-old Grace Lindley from Morley.

The pony won several championships last year as well as the Restricted Lead Rein final at the British Show Pony Heritage Championships.

Grace will also be partnering another successful pony, Dukeshill Mini Mutters (Mouse) in the HOYS and RIHS Mountain & Moorland Lead Rein qualifiers this season.

Karen and Sophie, who are based at Sand Hutton near York, have a number of new ponies and riders joining the team this year, including Suzannah Dunn and her 13.2hh show pony.

At the moment, they are nervously awaiting the arrival of Rotherwood Flight of Fancy’s first foal.

After that, it will be all systems go as the show season gets underway.

For more information go to www.burkinshowteam.co.uk or call 01759 373615.