Psyrios Contender MWA, known as ‘Connor’ at home, was foaled in 2006 by Magnum Chall HVP (Magnum Psyche x Taamara HVP) and out of OFW Psyductive (Padrons Psyche x Hafati Elegance). Many will know him from being on the in-hand show scene, lovingly owned and treasured by me, Lisa Smith from Whitby on the North East coast of Yorkshire, UK.
Connor was bred by Sally Ann Terry and then went to Raymond Fox at Foxfire Arabians as a yearling. Connor came to me in a roundabout way, as I put a deposit on a filly foal by Connor, bur sadly she lost her life before weaning so I went to Foxfire to get my deposit back. While I was there, Raymond asked if there were any other of his horses that took my eye, but I only had eyes for Connor and his babies. The other foals by him had already been sold, so Raymond asked: “Well, why not buy Connor?” So that was how I came away with a five-year old stallion instead of a filly foal!
Over the next couple of years, I lightly showed Connor, mostly at local shows but also on occasions at Arab shows and in the ECAHO classes. As an amateur handler, I had watched the ECAHO classes but not handled a horse in them.
2013 was the year Connor took the shows by storm. In the May, he did two shows in one day. A district show in the morning, with an ECAHO judge, where Connor won his in-hand class then the championship. We then travelled a few miles down the road to another show where he was entered in the foreign breeds class, Arab class, and the best stallion/colt (any breed) class. He won all three classes! I remember a 75-year old gentleman, who was a former whipper-in for the local hunt, came up to me and said he doesn’t normally like Arabian horses, but boy did he like Connor. Over the years, I found that happened on numerous occasions: “I don’t like Arabs but I like him,” was regularly said to me.
The following month I took him to the Northern Arab show. Raymond was showing the yearling filly Divalicious R (Psyrios Contender MWA x ZK Clarrissa R), who won her class and took the Gold Junior Female Championship. Another judge was judging the males. Raymond showed Connor for me, and he won the class and took the Gold Senior Male Championship. It was then time for the Supreme, with me handling Connor. Divalicious R was named Supreme of Show, with Connor was named Reserve Supreme by the two judges. What an accolade for a sire, as little did they know at the time that they were father and daughter.
Father and daughter – Divalicious R with Psyrios Contender MWA
I only showed Connor lightly in the ECAHO classes but over the years, he gained three Golds, a Silver and three Bronze titles. He was always produced from home. His titles include 2014 Northern Arabian Horse Show, class winner and Gold Senior Male Champion. In 2015, he took: Bronze Senior Male Champion and class winner at The Classic Show; Northern Arabian Horse Show Reserve Supreme Champion, Gold Senior Male Champion and class winner; and class winner at North Staffs. 2016 saw Connor named Bronze Senior Male Champion and class winner at the 2016 Northern Arabian Horse Show. At the Northern Arabian Horse Show, he was named Silver Senior Male Champion and Bronze Senior Male Champion in 2017 and 2018 respectively, having won his class on both occasions. With such success, Connor was regularly placed in the UK In Hand Award Scheme.
Lisa with Connor at the UK In-hand Awards
However, Connor wasn’t just an in-hand show horse, he was also occasionally shown under saddle. At the 2017 Northern Arabian Show, he was on the novice ridden stallion class and he also won the RASS (Ridden Arabian Star Series) male class at the Cumbrian Arab Show.
At home, I had fun with Connor. We would ride on the beach, hack out, show jump, go cross country, and take part in hunt pleasure rides.
Whichever horses I owned at the time, I nearly always showed Connor. He was ‘easy’, nothing was any hassle to him. We could stay over in any stable, in any showground, and he would always settle. His favourite seemed to be the front row stables at Malvern where the British Nationals were held. He seemed to thrive on the noise and bustle and the atmosphere overlooking the rings.
In 2018, Connor was registered with British Dressage, ridden by Bethany Hodges. In his second competition, he won both the Prelim 15 and Prelim 19 classes at Snainton Riding Centre. 2018 also saw him qualify for the Petplan Area Festival and the Arab Dressage Championships.
One day, we had a visitor to our stables, checking the horses’ backs. He suggested that maybe I should have Connor’s eyes checked out. I asked why, and he explained he noticed Connor wasn’t doing anything until I gave him the cue. I wasn’t even aware of this. Our local vet came out and diagnosed cataracts in both eyes with very little, if any, vision. He was referred to a specialist who confirmed these findings. I carried on riding him until Connor was no longer was confident in himself, but he was still happy in the show-ring with me on the end of his lead.
Connor competed in his last show in 2019, where he won his class and took the Overall Championship competing against ridden and in-hand pure, part-bred and Anglo Arabians. Over those last few years, very few people knew I was showing a horse with no vision!
Tragically I lost Connor in early 2021, but I have the most amazing memories of him. I will always treasure how he was such a loving horse, being gentle, quiet and calm. Many visitors to our yard never realized he was entire. Connor is buried here at home with us.
RIP Psyrios Contender MWA.
By Lisa Smith, all photography Sweet Photography