Last year's Prince Philip Cup winners, Oakley Hunt (West) branch of the Pony Club, returned to HOYS this year to try to claim their 9th title. Unfortunately things didn't go quite according to plan. Find out what happened on the final day of the show...

The last early practice for the Oakley Hunt (West) team at HOYS was filled with mixed emotions. Cold, wet and tired, there was plenty of excitement ahead of the final day’s sessions, tempered by sadness that this was going to be Floss Bish-Jones’ last Prince Philip Cup competition as she is now out of the age group.

The rain really has put a damper on things all week and it has been difficult to keep things dry. Sky TV came to film us behind the scenes at lunchtime for the Game Changers programme and followed us through our afternoon session where we needed to qualify for Sunday evening’s final.

The team waiting outside in the rain, trying to keep clean and dry

The team waiting outside in the rain, trying to keep clean and dry

The team sang on the long walk down to the arena and were ready to give it their all. But it started to go wrong with a bending pole down in the 1st race and it never picked up from there… Stunned that they hadn’t qualified for the final in the evening, some tears were shed, but some talking and hugs soon put everything in perspective.

Disappointment as the team fail to qualify for the final

Disappointment as the team fail to qualify for Sunday evening’s final

Although the team’s spirits were dampened like the weather, in true team and Pony Club spirit, they soon rallied around and tacked up the ponies to go to the arena for the final. The teams that haven’t qualified ride down, watch on foot and then ride in at the end for the presentations (pictured top).

PPC-Auld-Lang-Syne

Singing Old Lang Syne

Then it’s back to the stables for an hour before tacking up again to go to the arena for the finale. A selection of winners and riders from the week are there, like the King’s Troop and Ellen Whitaker. The Military Wives Choir sang Old Lang Syne and God Save The Queen, while everyone, including the children on ponies, join in hands crossed.

It’s a very emotional moment and one the children and parents will never forget. HOYS truly is the best week of our lives and Oakley Hunt (West) had an amazing time. Fingers crossed we will be back next year to do it all again.