March is always my favourite month. This year has been no exception. The end of the hunting season produced some fun days with my son Harry jumping an exceedingly large gate behind the field master. My birthday and Mother’s Day making me feel very spoiled by my family and friends and of course the wonderful Cheltenham festival where I was lucky enough to enjoy two very good fun days.
The Royal International qualifiers have started too and we have got off to a great start with ponies. We won first time out with both Maria (pictured below) in the 133cm show hunter pony and Nougat in the nursery stakes at area 9b at Hartpury.
I very much liked the move outdoors at this show having never been a fan of the indoor here and how late it sometimes got in the past. The show hunter ponies were light in entries but it still provided a good championship.
The working hunter ponies as usual at this stage was well supported. Alice followed up the following weekend with another double for these two ponies with much bigger classes and some stiff opposition with HOYS winners from 2014 on display. Needless to say I am delighted.
It has been an emotional week with two of my favourite horses moving to pastures new. A lovely four-year-old small hunter called Canticum has joined Robert and Sarah Walker for the wonderfully supportive Jill Day and my truly lovely liver chestnut Gold Mine has gone to Lyndsey Wallace in Northern Ireland. I wish all concerned the best success.
My sadness is not to have an owner to keep them on the yard. I still have several top horses for sale but it is great there is a bit of interest out there now and a feeling the market may be moving.
We are delighted to welcome Poppy (Crafton Queen of Pop) onto our team of ponies for this season (pictured top). A really lovely stamp of 13.2hh show pony, only a four-year-old by Strinesdale Matador with great limbs and movement. I am looking forward to getting her into the show ring soon.
We also have a very nice four-year-old novice 143cm show hunter pony for this season but I would still like to replace Hightopps Jazz with another open pony for Alice.
Read more of Loraine’s blogs
Loraine Homer reflects on the benefits of winter shows and reports back on recent showing conferences
H&H's showing blogger reflects on a wonderful 2014 and her showing highlights
With Easter early this year it seems we have had very little time to get four year olds ready for the British Show Pony Society Winter Championships so as a result I am only taking Nougat to jump the worker courses.
Many of these early Royal Internarional Horse Show qualifiers have taken their novice classes off their schedules due to lack of support over the years, so while I can’t blame them due to full time tables, it does make it difficult to gain experience. I have seen plenty of people taking ponies for a ride round to gain experience but it’s not quite the same as going in the ring.
On the subject of Hightopps Jazz I am so delighted at the start he has made with Martha Jobling-Purser. We love to see our ponies and horses go on to be successful and happy.
Only three shows in its difficult to tell for sure, but I would say the height increase in the Royal International Horse Show qualifiers is a good move to help bridge the gap towards the open 133cm working hunter pony class. It would be great if all shows held an open nursery at 75cms and an Royal International nursery at 85cms then everyone would be happy (you can only hope!).