We have recently returned from an amazing holiday in Corfu which, after only one night at the RIHS (Royal International Horse Show), felt much needed. Just the sight of the sun and a temperature higher than about 10 degrees was a stark contrast to the conditions at Hickstead. To every person who managed to camp there for the full week, I salute you.
We were so lucky to have Dawn and Britt with us so that as soon as we were finished on the Sunday, mummy, Susie and I got in a taxi directly to the airport while the ponies were left in very caring hands. As a rule, I love the RIHS, however I have never seen it in weather as it was this year and so for the first time ever, I was very pleased that our stay was as short as possible.
Apart from the dire conditions, the show felt slightly anticlimactic this year, although this could also be attributed to the fact that the weather was like the physical manifestation of depression and gloom. Nevertheless, nothing felt quite as usual. The ground, for example, was horrendous due to a mixture of the rain and the fact that some genius decided to put the scurry ponies in the worker hunter ring on Saturday. This meant that the course was heavily compromised and, although the course builder did a very good job in the conditions, the course was much smaller, shorter, and without any particularly big questions as is usual for the RIHS.
Much sadder still, in my opinion, was that, so as not to ruin the ground any further, all the prize givings were done in a very small sectioned-off corner of the ring. I know that this couldn’t be helped since the ground needed to be saved in as many ways as possible, but it almost felt a bit less significant by having only a limited number of ponies back in, crammed into a box of white tape, just as at any other show you would go to all year round. The presentation at the Royal International should be an incredibly important moment. Everyone has waited for this moment all year, and the significance is so evident when you have the 20 best ponies in the country, spread out in front of you across the very centre of a ring that has so much presence itself, with the winner eventually in their own shining space at the very front. That was not how it felt this year.
As for our own results, we were thrilled with how the ponies went with Percy just having a pole to come eighth and Cash going clear, which I was absolutely over the moon about as the RI is historically not my show. Unfortunately, even with a really clean, confident clear with no risky moments, which would usually guarantee a top five placing, it was still not my show and we were dead bottom of the clears in ninth. I know that Cash could not have gone any better but I also know that this is the way that things sometimes go, and to be honest, I am still just very pleased with my fabulous pony to have gone clear round the RI. Nevertheless, it was extremely disappointing on the day, as well as positively humiliating when, with eight places, I was the only person left at the back of the ring having to awkwardly wait while everyone else got their rosettes. This lasting memory of RIHS 2017 is probably accountable for my general cynicism of the show this year — I promise I do actually love it.
I hope you all had a wonderful RI week!