Horse of the Year Show is over for another year. Show reports done, rosettes and trophies displayed, ponies and horses roughed off, lorries cleaned out — and the wheel keeps turning until 2014.
My personal highlight of this year at HOYS wasn’t winning a rosette — my four-year-old grey lightweight McNamara gave me the biggest thrill. The feel he gave me in his two trots past the judge was really special. His manners were exemplary and I make no apologies for saying how excited I am about him for next season.
He did not gallop enough for this year’s judge Sarah Chapman, but I am happy with that. He made a lovely effort with me and will be all the better there next year for his experience.
My other highlight is that I was able to have a hot shower in my lorry, wash and dry my hair and be warm. You have no idea how pleased I am about this. It is such a good feeling when everything works!
HOYS usually throws up some different results, but this year most of the winners would have been fairly well expected. I did wonder a bit at some placing results and found the marks very interesting reading.
It is transparent to see in the horse classes, where marks are not commonplace, how judges set about selecting the winner with the marks used being displayed. I wonder how the placings would have differed with the good old art of conversation?
I enjoyed the Cuddy in-hand classes this year (pictured top), but I would like it to be compulsory to provide the breeder’s name in the catalogue, as this is very important. The atmosphere and reception for both section winners was electric, just as it should be.
I did not see every class, but I was amazed that the judges watched the horses and ponies on the go-round through the white picket fencing, with the other side completely free from barriers. Congratulations to the show hunter pony judges, who were the first I saw on the Sunday morning to get this.
Maybe the stewards could point this out another year. It also makes it very hard as a rider when, if there is one that messes around in front of you or goes too slowly, you have nowhere to go with the fences there in front of the judge. One ladies’ side saddle rider nearly got into quite a bit of trouble.
On the subject of picket fencing, the way they line up for the SEIB Search for a Star classes along the short side works much better than the long side used for other classes. The SHP classes only have 10 in each section so could easily line up that way, then the show area would be a much better shape without fences and ponies in the way.
Despite it not being a vintage year for our team, I enjoyed the show and feel proud to be there and be part of it. Don’t tell anyone, but I am secretly looking forward to next year! We have very exciting horses and ponies for 2014 who will have a few more miles on the clock.