After the rush and subsequent joy of the Horse of Year Show (HOYS), it was time for me to get back to university. My bedroom here in Edinburgh is sporting HOYS rosettes and photographs which is the best daily reminder of such an incredible week. Particularly since very few people here know about HOYS, it’s so nice to have a discreet something which epitomises my ‘other life’.

Meanwhile, our yard at home like so many others has been a magic roundabout for a few weeks while some of our outgrown ponies who were never sold come home from their lease homes and then go off to their new homes.

To our astonishment, my 11-year-old brother, Algy announced that he wanted to take up riding and that there was only one pony for him, Beat the Boss, Susie’s Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) supreme winner of 2015. At this, Susie burst into tears on the basis that it was a wicked waste of poor Bossy but this only served to make Algy absolutely determined. My mother doesn’t believe in ponies being wasted if they aren’t competing at their highest level as she feels that if a pony is being really enjoyed at any level, he’s doing a great job. As she says, it’s hardly as if Boss stands in his paddock planning his season ahead, he’s much more concerned with where the next mouthful is coming from. Anyway, she drew on all her best mothering and negotiating skills and somehow managed to reason with the outraged Susie.

Bossy and all his immaculate laundry and worldly goods came back from HOYS with us after a brilliant two years with Xanthe and Laura de Wesselow where he has lived the life of Riley, and the next morning, Susie was out before dawn to ensure she pipped Algy to it and got the first ride on him. She needn’t have worried as Algy didn’t feel it was quite the day to start his new career, and the next day, he had some pressing football matters to concentrate on. Back to school they both went, and Boss had an easy couple of weeks before half term, when each day for five days, Algy had excellent reasons why it wasn’t the moment. Susie was getting perkier by the day, and on day six Algy had the inevitable chat with mummy and, although we haven’t been enlightened on what he said, it has been predictably decided between them that Algy, with so many other passions, really didn’t have time to ride.

But what to do with Boss (who is now used to the very highest standards of living)? Fortunately, this outcome was predicted and off he went the very next day to Jemima Leavesley, cousin of rider Victoria from whom we bought Cash. We have had such wonderful videos and photos of them both together and have had the amazing news that they won at their first show. Bossy looks like he is really enjoying himself so we couldn’t be happier.

Beat The Boss with his new jockey, Jemima Leavesley

Valentine Hazel, my former 13 hander and last year’s RIHS nursery stakes champion with Isabella Stanley, also came home looking beautiful and very loved. She has gone to Dorothy Mallinson whose brother is eventing my 14 hander, Champfleurie Cream Cracker. This is also a very happy arrangement and it’s so nice to think of the two of them being looked after so beautifully together.

Valentine Hazel with her new rider, Dorothy Mallinson

Peter Pan is preparing for a big season in 2018 but has been moved from Ruby Ward to her little brother, James, and we have enjoyed some spectacular pictures. Bradmore Raindance and Lucia Stanley (who we predict will be a star of the future) are going amazingly too, and mummy is loving helping them a bit. We are all so excited about cheering these partnerships on in due course and are thankful for the homes they’ve all found.

Caroline March riding my new horse Gladiator

Very sadly Muffin, my wonderful hunting pony who is one of the sweetest and kindest ponies we’ve ever had, was sold last spring and sadly has not fared as well. Thankfully we have bought her back for some much-needed TLC. Her jumping confidence has had a real knock but she is starting to look better and to go with her old enthusiasm, which is such a relief as it’s always so disheartening when a new home doesn’t work out, particularly for such an amazing pony who seems so unbreakable.

Jamie Osborne with Lucia Stanley at the BSPS Area 15 awards

Mummy also had the great excitement a couple of weekends ago of hosting the Area 15 points awards at home, which I was very sad to have to miss. Jamie Osborne very kindly agreed to be the guest speaker and presented the awards, and from what I heard was hilarious about the whole thing.

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As for myself, I have finished uni for Christmas but have to stay for exams, which don’t finish until 21 December. However I am really looking forward to going home for a short break mid-December, although I feel quite sorry for the poor ponies who will get the very worst of my riding since I go rusty in about a week and haven’t so much as seen a pony since HOYS. I have loved being able to keep up with the progress of my new horse, Gladiator, and I hear he’s coming on really well with Caroline March riding him at home, so I’m very excited to get back on.

I hope you all have a very relaxing winter and don’t suffer too much from the weather! I, for one, feel permanently as if I’m in the Arctic.

Lucy

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