So, I have found myself having a couple of quiet weeks. Both my “home” boys have headed off to their new homes and I decided to give a few of the earlier HOYS qualifiers a miss. It is typical isn’t it that I ride all through the wet winter, yet when the sun comes out and it is actually nice to be getting up at 6am and riding before work I have nothing to ride!

I thought a break would be nice but now I am not so sure. I think it is true when people say once you are horsey whatever you do you really can’t get rid of that bug!

One break I was looking forward to however was my trip to Las Vegas — a six-day trip planned with my best friends — but before I got on the plane to gamble away my money and try and get myself married (!), I headed to the Hickstead Derby to compete Windy and Sov in the Olympia qualifier.

It was a good but slightly disappointing day as I managed to move down the line in both my classes, even with the ponies going well. Windy was pulled in top in a strong class, but sadly got dropped to second place. I am not going to lie, I really wanted that blue rosette! And Sovereign, who has had limited outings, was pulled third, again above some very nice ponies, but also moved down the line to fifth.

With Windy coming second in his class it did mean that I got to ride back in the Hickstead main ring for the championship, which I haven’t done for a good few years. It is always great fun to gallop alongside the grandstand.

After returning tanned but shattered from my time in Vegas, it was time to get back to business with the ponies. It wasn’t long until I had a familiar face arriving at Ollie’s yard. Jet lagged, I drove myself down to the yard to see the arrival of my Welsh section C Popsters Loaded Weapon (Jacob), who was coming back from two years of stud duty.

It was great to have him back and I couldn’t wait to get him back to my place, but an unfortunate kick by a mare while covering meant that I had to wait while the vet came out to see him at Ollie’s. Following a scan, I realised my aim of taking him to Equifest later this year wouldn’t be happening, so now he is back at mine recovering. Although I am itching to get riding him again, seeing his head over the stable door each morning is enough for me.

On Saturday I took Windy and Sov to Thames Valley Show to compete in the HOYS qualifiers. Sov put in a good performance, but didn’t manage to make the placings. Windy was pulled in second after the initial go-round, but after a spook in his show at the water jump we rightly moved down to third. Close, but not good enough!

We then decided to take him down to NPS Area 25 in Wales to do the HOYS qualifier there. I was also be partnering Moelview Chieftain (pictured) — his second outing of the year with me — for Jane and Richard from the Moelview Stud.

The show was held at the David Broome Event Centre, where I have never been before. What a lovely venue. With a day off work for both Mum and I, we headed down early to a very sunny Wales. The classes were as always incredibly strong and with a strong case of déjà vu, I yet again got pulled in second with Windy in his class and after a good show this time I ended up third. He was the top Dartmoor — pipped by two lovely Shetlands.

I then had a bit of wait until Chiefy’s class. In the warm-up he was intent on showing me that he isn’t always totally straight forward. Luckily he soon settled and found his stride just in time to go into the ring. After a lovely go-round, I was pulled in top. I am not sure who was more nervous — my mum or Chief’s owner Jane. One person who clearly wasn’t was Richard, who was busy leaning over the side giving me a thumbs up – at least someone was confident for us!

Having only ridden Chief twice last year and then at HOYS and once this year at Derbyshire Festival, I did feel a little worried going out to do my show. Luckily we managed to hold it together and, I felt, pulled off a pretty good show. It was a great cause for celebration (and relief) when they called the results. We had won the class booking our return ticket to HOYS. Jane and Richard’s other home-bred ponies were placed 2nd (Moelview Prince Charming) and 1oth (Moelview Chester). What a brilliant result!

What a star pony, last year we qualified at our second show together and this year we managed to match that. Not bad for a pony who mixes his ridden time with covering and in-hand showing. Again, thanks to the Moelview Stud for letting me ride such a lovely chap and doing all the work — I have never seen such a shiny pony. We left our house at 5:30am and returned at 9pm, but it was certainly worth it.

I am now hoping I have broken my duck and Windy can leave his yellow and blue rosettes behind. Fingers crossed a red rosette is just around the corner — it must be soon, surely?

Chloe