It has been a while since I last updated my blog, but there is reason for that. I don’t want to gloat, but I managed to get away for a 2-week holiday in New Zealand and Australia. I don’t think I have ever been on a 2-week holiday — as most horse owners will appreciate, it can be a bit of a mission to be away that long. But you can’t just hop over to the other side of the world!
Needless to say I had the most amazing time. New Zealand was just beautiful and I definitely could have stayed longer. I saw a lot of horses, but stayed away from riding this time!
Since I’ve been back it has been all systems go. While I was away the very beautiful Moelview Chieftain arrived at the yard as I have been allowed him on loan for the season. I have only ridden Chief a total of 7 times as he is normally based with his breeders in North Wales. However we have qualified for HOYS twice, being placed 10th and 2nd. I’m really excited to get to know him a bit better and getting to ride him at a few more shows. I hope ‘The Chief’ likes it down south!
Coming back from my holiday, I’ve come straight back into RIHS qualifiers. The first HOYS qualifier of the season also loomed and we decided to take Chief and Warwick, as well as entering Windy, who is staying with his owner this season for some covering duties. It would therefore be Windy’s first outing since Olympia.
My first class was on Chief (pictured competing at HOYS last year), who pinged round the ring on his go round. We were pulled in in any order, but were given a set show with a halt in the middle. I wasn’t sure how Chief would be with this and unfortunately we were a little keen to keep going in our show. He didn’t do anything major, but we didn’t stand for long and I felt that could be enough to knock off a few marks, which are all important in the HOYS classes. I ended up being placed 2nd on equal marks with his son, who took the top position and HOYS qualification. We were pipped by the younger model!
I jumped straight from Chief onto Windy, who again did a nice go round. I knew the halt would be no trouble for Windy, but it was our canter transition which proved a little exciting this time! We ended up 5th with the top conformation mark — whoops! I could see how this day was going.
Then it was straight off Windy and onto Warwick (pictured top, photo by horsebound) in a massive New Forest and Connemara class. Looking around at the others in the class I thought if I went well and got placed I would be thrilled. Warwick pulled out the stops and did a lovely show. The steward called 886 — no-one walked forward. Then I thought ‘Oh, that might be my number’, quickly checked and realised it was mine. I couldn’t believe I had just won! But I had, it really was my number.
I can’t explain how proud I am of him and all the work Ollie and Jo have put into him. This time last year he was doing the pure novice class and barely picking up canter — a year on and he has won the first HOYS qualifier! Not content with that, Warwick went on to be reserve champion across the classes, which were all won by fabulous ponies.
As they say, there is no rest for the wicked, so we were off again to try for RIHS tickets. This time Windy was back on form (having had his girth changed) and he won his class qualifying for RIHS at his first attempt. Warwick still on a high from his HOYS qualifier, also picked up his RIHS ticket. Job done in one weekend! He can certainly enjoy a quieter summer now with some novice worker classes.
Windy refused to be outdone by Warwick, picking up reserve champion after a flat-out gallop! I will never have another weekend like that. A million thanks to all the team who made it all possible and to all the lovely people who have sent me congratulations, it really means a lot.