Tiggy’s take on sport and success

  • 6 November 2020, 14:17

Tiggy Hancock and Corries Whiskey in action at Ballindenisk International (Photo: Irish Eventing Times)

In 2019, Tiggy Hancock burst onto the high-performance eventing scene with her wonder ponies Coppenagh Spring Sparrow and Corries Whiskey (ISH), kicking off the season with a top three finish on both ponies in the EI100 pony competition at Tyrella. Little did she know then that in that same year she would go on to win a team medal for her country at the European Championships.

“My family has always been quite involved with horses and I can’t really remember a time without them,” Tiggy begins. “My older sisters Eliza and Lucy have both evented to a high level, Lucy has evented to three-star level and my mum Jane is very involved in the sport too.

“I was a member of the Kilkenny Pony Club when I was younger and did everything from hunting to showjumping. I really enjoyed showing ponies too, especially in the working hunter competitions. I made lots of great friends through showing and it’s very competitive too, so I really enjoyed it.”

Tiggy is a regular at the UK’s Horse of the Year Show, having qualified to compete at the show on five occasions. Last year, Tiggy competed three ponies at the show with Corries Jack In A Box going on to finish seventh overall in the Pony Society/Snuggy Hoods 133cm Working Hunter Pony Of The Year.


Tiggy Hancock and Coppenagh Spring Sparrow (Photo: Irish Eventing Times)

Interestingly, Tiggy admits that she initially was more interested in show jumping, however, her ponies’ aptitude for eventing eventually swayed her down the route of eventing. “In 2019 I really got into eventing, originally I had wanted to become more involved in show jumping but I had Coppenagh Spring Sparrow and Corries Whiskey (ISH) who my sisters had brough on for me and they were really awesome event ponies so that made my mind up.”

With 2019 being Tiggy’s first year to really focus on eventing, she saw the year as an opportunity to get to know her ponies better and gain experience. She never envisaged the season which ensued. As mentioned earlier, she got her 2019 season underway with a top three finish on Coppenagh Spring Sparrow and Corries Whiskey (ISH) in the E100 pony competition at Tyrella, before going on to score a further top three finish on both ponies at Crecora, she then moved up to EI110 level and had her first win of the season aboard Coppenagh Spring Sparrow just a month later at the same venue.

Tiggy’s winning streak continued, she notched up another win at Killossery Lodge and at Ballindenisk but it was her stand-out performance at Kilgilkey International [Tiggy’s first international competition] that saw her selected on Becky Cullen’s team to represent Ireland at the Pony European Championships in Strzegom Poland along with Grace Tyrrell, Brian Kuehnle and Alex Connors.


The Irish Team (pictured right) of (L-R) Tiggy Hancock, Alex Connors, Grace Tyrell, Brian Kuehnle and manager Becky Cullen stand on the podium after winning bronze at the 2019 U16 European Eventing Championships in Strzegom

“I had done some high-performance training with Horse Sport Ireland in the spring and that was a really good experience. The coaching was really good, and everyone was very helpful. But with it being my first year really focusing on eventing I wasn’t aiming for the Europeans. Then we did really well at the national events and after Kilguilkey international I got selected.

“I was so excited when I heard the news and I was so proud of my pony because Kilguilkey was our first international together. It took a while to sink in that I was going to the European Championships, but I was very proud to be part of an Irish Team. Then to come home from the European Championships with a medal was amazing. I’d love to aim for the European Championships again, I have two years left in ponies so hopefully I’ll get the chance to go again.”

Future Focus

Despite all the cancellations and upsets to the 2020 eventing calendar, Tiggy has made the most of every opportunity to compete. She made 27 starts this year, recorded 15 double clears resulting in a phenomenal 10 wins. Tiggy says; “Sam Watson is someone I really look up to and I’d love to have a career in horses, but I know it takes a lot of hard work and I’d have to be quite lucky to keep going.” We think this young lady is destined for stardom – watch out Sam Watson.


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