We are less than a week away from Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and the nights and mornings are already dark.

The past few weeks went by in a blur, with a week-long stint at Equifest. Highlights were Windy finally breaking his run of seconditis by winning the 4- to 6-year-old class on the final day. He went champion, which meant I had to stay on to compete in the age group supreme that evening.

It was great to be riding back in Peterborough’s main arena. Windy was by far the smallest, with the closest size to him being a 153cm show hunter pony, so I didn’t expect anything in the championship — even though we managed to outgallop all the others.

After finally breaking our curse, Windy was on a roll — he was called forward as supreme. I was so thrilled and it made staying all the more worth it.

Being champion in the evening at Equifest is great, as the atmosphere is so buzzy. What made it even better was that the prize was presented by Windy’s owner Lynda Calcutt, joint sponsor of that championship. It was a brilliant night, as my friend Lauren Kingston won the open Equifest final on the young Fell Banksgate Tamlin. That night after Windy’s big win, I watched Lauren and Tamlin stand overall champion and go down the centre line.

Although Windy managed to break his seconditis there, we gained it back at Monmouth, runners-up and again just missing our HOYS ticket. But for a young pony who has competed for a season and half, a sixth at HOYS last year and a fourth at the Royal International (RIHS), 2013 is a year to be very proud of and I still wouldn’t swap him for anything. I just need to hope he can keep his roll of seconds going for the Olympia semi-final at the BSPS Heritage Championships later this month, when the top 3 qualify!

I took home an extra pony from Equifest in the shape of Pop — Popsters Debutante, who has come back to me for a few weeks. Jacob is slowly getting used to him and my aim is to take him to the semis as well. I am trying not to get to attached again as Pop needs to find a new home, but it is extremely hard.

At the BSPS Summer Championships — still my favourite show — I was judging the HOYS show pony qualifiers with Daniel Park, with whom I had a fantastic time. We put through some lovely ponies for HOYS and I wish them all the best of luck. I believe we may have sent forward the first coloured show pony in the 138cm section.

I always love judging at the championship shows and this year was no exception. There were some beautiful novices in the intermediate sections, which remain so strong. Every time Mum and I go to BSPS, we come away wishing we still had a plaited pony!

So while everyone is gearing up for HOYS, I sort of am — but it is always slightly strange when the pony you are riding is the other end of the country. I have only ridden him at 3 shows this year, one more than last season. Hopefully, we can give a good account of ourselves at Birmingham.

This will be the 3rd year Chief will have been to HOYS and he has been in the top 10 both the 2 previous years, so I am hoping we can keep up the tradition. I am really looking forward to it now.

Picture courtesy of Equinational