Winter showing is now well underway for Team Homer. I generally do a season every other winter and I now remember why I gave myself last winter off!  It was a foul day for Area 6 at Onley Grounds.  I feel so sorry for all the committee members trying to put on these shows. They are always desperately short of volunteers to steward and help in general, then a day like that makes it an ordeal rather than a pleasure.

I would be lying though if I said I didn’t enjoy it. It gave me so much pleasure to see my daughter Alice ride 2 new ponies. One she backed over the winter and had never been in the ring before. The other was a more experienced pony, but a big step up into the open 143cms WHP class. I was very pleased with everyone we took and, although the numbers in the classes weren’t massive, the quality of ponies was high.

I feel so sorry for all involved in trying to keep hunting going through this weather. We were meant to have hounds unbox with us last Saturday, but all the rain on Friday meant the farmers asked the hunt not to come. No one can blame them really and I am sure it was a Alice Homer out huntinghard decision to make. The field has been reduced and I am certain hunt funds will be struggling too. I admire the hunt staff turning out day after day in this rain. At least I have a choice and have to admit calling off going a few times at the last minute. The mud has been unbelievable at the end of a day and I can’t help but wonder how people manage without a steam cleaner. In fact I wished I had put my son Harry under it after a few recent rugby matches!

The weather has also meant a slow start to the show hunters coming back into work. I set 1st Feb as my deadline, so that is this week and I look forward to getting started. I have some very exciting rides for this year. McNamara has improved through the winter and my 4-year-old hunter Brandon View is quite beautiful. I would very much like to find owners for them both to stay in the yard this season.Both have amazing kind temperaments and will go on to be suitable for an amateur rider, as well as being top horses.

I do wish the schedules would get going a bit earlier than they do though. Having a family with a non-horsey husband means he is already asking when we can book summer holiday dates to St Mawes. Not easy in February, especially without knowledge of who is judging where. I have said it before — good judges make good shows. There has been some confusion over show horse panel judges doing HOYS hunter classes, but I am sure it won’t take much to work it out.

The clinic or teach-in has become very popular and well done to all BSPS areas for putting them on. There are a lot organised for over the up-coming half term. The Showing Register (TSR) are running some too with great opportunities to learn.  We will be doing the Area 6 one in half term at Onley Grounds with Anthony Perkins helping with the flat ponies and WHPs. I think it’s great for all these top producers to give a bit back to the sport so do try to find one near you to prepare for this season.

Loraine