Well I can happily say we finally did it! Windy and I got the best of breed prize at Olympia and it was brilliant. We can definitely say it was third time lucky.

We didn’t head up to Olympia the night before but had a very early start in the morning to make sure we arrived in plenty of time for the work in. We took Windy up and Jo and Ollie took Bam who was to be partnered by Maggie Simmons as I had made the final decision to ride Windy. As always, as soon as we arrived we were greeted by friendly faces and an exciting atmosphere which makes Olympia so much fun to be part of.

Bam and Maggie. Credit: Kerry Bates

The lead up to the show had been a little manic with the awful weather and I was also flying out to New Zealand for a few weeks, three days after Olympia which meant work was also full on trying to get everything done, so I was hoping Windy was going to be on his best behaviour for me.

Windy was in the last section of the three which I always find the worst as it means you have to wait through and watch all the others just getting more and more nervous. It also felt even worse for me this year as it meant I also had Bam to watch before Windy. It felt quite surreal seeing Bam in the ring with someone else as I have always ridden her, and with it being her last show, it was also really sad. Beth did a great job with her and once she had done her show, I ran off to jump on Windy feeling more nervous than usual!

Windy was good in his go round and we went second in our section, which is a good position for him as he doesn’t have much time to fall asleep before his show. We went out and did a simple show but I was pleased with him and felt it was probably the best show we had done at Olympia. Sadly the marks were a bit lower than I had hoped for, but we did break into the 30s for one of our show marks which is an Olympia first for us.

Bam off to stud

When we headed back into the arena for the afternoon presentation there was the usual amazing buzz that comes with Olympia, and I was keeping my fingers crossed I would finally get to do my lap of honour on Windy. Much to my delight, my wish came true and Windy was awarded his best of breed status with a lovely sash and rosette!

 

Windy with his sash

Sadly Windy’s success was also tinged with sadness as Bam came out the ring for the last time and we all had a bit of a cry — started by Jo! What a pony she has been for the past four years for me and all the team are going to miss her greatly. She really never let me down and I am hopeful she is going to love being a mummy and enjoy her new life. Hopefully I will be able to update you one day with some pictures of her with a lovely little foal!

Continued below…

So that was the end of my 2017 season — another great one again. As always, there were some downs but we mainly had a great year with lots of fun and success with good old friends as well as some new ones and I also had some really amazing judging appointments at Royal Windsor and Royal Welsh! Thanks as always goes to the lovely owners who let me show their ponies; Lynda Calcutt, Heidi Bennett and Justin Davies, Jane and Richard Jones and Elizabeth Newbolt-Young as well as Danielle Garner who allowed to ride some of her lovely ponies, and of course to Ollie and Jo Burchell who did their usual fabulous job in producing the ponies and my mum for being my best groom!

On our lap of honour. Credit: Kerry Bates

Having enjoyed a lovely two-and-half weeks in the sunshine in NZ, I have returned to mud, mud and more mud! So time to get cracking with the ponies I guess…

Chloe