Last year's Prince Philip Cup winners, Oakley Hunt (West) branch of the Pony Club, are returning to HOYS this year to try to claim their 9th title. You can follow the highs and lows of their competition with daily updates on HorseandHound.co.uk throughout the show

Yesterday there was great excitement as we drove the Oakley Hunt (West) lorries in convoy towards Birmingham looking out for the NEC signs. HOYS, here we come!

On arrival at the HOYS stables, the Dads and team helpers were already busy building the team’s tack room (pictured top) — putting up saddle rack, building feed bins, bucket holders and hanging baskets.

After taking the ponies for a graze and stretch of their legs, we were finally able to put them in their stables to settle in. Then it was all hands on deck to unpack the lorries and the tack room was quickly filled with the team’s new rugs, headcollars and kit.

Next it was time for the children to be weighed in and have their boots checked. Prince Philip Cup competition has strict rules about the weight of riders that ponies of certain heights are allowed to carry and boots must have smooth soles for safety reasons. All of the riders were also checked to ensure no-one was wearing earings or nail varnish — including Joseph!

By this point the adults were all ready for a well-earned drink, while the team got to know the other teams and had a sneak peak at the main arena.

After such a busy day, it was time for an early night ahead of an early practise session and vetting in for the ponies on Tuesday morning. It’s busy, busy in Birmingham and the show hasn’t even started yet!

Meet the Oakley Hunt (West) PPC team