So that time of the year has come round again and the HOYS (Horse of the Year Show) madness is about to begin! For me this will be four days of very early mornings, very late nights, untold stress, endless toasties and trying to grab a few minutes here and there to open my laptop and do some work.
After last year’s amazing time I am well aware this year might feel like a huge come down and I am probably one of the only people out there not willing the day to come. Windy will sadly no longer be last year’s HOYs winner, Flute will also lose his crown and for me it marks the end of my relationship with Bam as she will be returning to stud next year to start a new career as a broodmare.
She has been an absolute star for me. We have achieved some fantastic results over our three seasons together, but most importantly I feel we have created a really good relationship. She always tries her heart out whatever is asked of her and just loves to do her best. People often shy away from mares but for me she is the best and the ultimate princess. I just hope we can finish together on a bit of a high. She has been the top mare at HOYS for the past two years and I would love to make it a third, but I know there is a lot of competition this year.
My other two rides at HOYS are both first-timers and to be honest I am just hoping they can both go as well as I know they can and don’t get too upset by the atmosphere. Leo had a pre-HOYS practice and found it all a little exciting. The music and noise isn’t great for him but I am hoping the fact we get to warm up in the ring will help him to relax. We haven’t had the best prep over the past few days as at the weekend we took an unfortunate tumble on the road. Luckily the damage was very minimal compared to what it could have been but it did mean we missed our last practice run.
Although we decided not to try to take Windy back this year in the ridden he did however qualify for the Cuddy final which is really exciting. He has been with me for the past few weeks getting fit as after HOYS we will be heading to the heritage championships to contest the Olympia semi-finals. Windy has only done one Olympia qualifier this year finishing in the reserve champion slot, therefore just missing out on his ticket. Oliver Burchell will be showing Windy in-hand on the Friday and I look forward to cheering him on in what is a really tough class.
So for everyone heading to HOYS, good luck. I am looking forward to watching and supporting so many friends — what an achievement just to be there. A lot of people say it is just another show and yes, I do get the sentiment, but then again it isn’t really! I am not sure there is any other show where I hold my breath for every results call out, or shed a tear to see someone really delighted with their place, or just their performance. It doesn’t matter how many times I have heard the lap of honour music, it still gets me excited, and for once I can now say my dreams of riding down the centre line to that did come true, and I can’t wait to watch other people’s dreams come true again this year. In the grand scheme of life, yes it is just a show, but for the next few days it will be our life and I hope everyone enjoys it whatever their results.