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

What a day it’s been!

We were woken by heavy rain at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) this morning, which eased just in time for our long walk in the dark to the arena for early morning practice.

Mid morning the mounted games sponsor Virbac came to talk to us about worming, which included a quiz. Then we prepared for the long day ahead as we had both an afternoon and evening session today in the Prince Phillip Cup.

The disappointment of elimination in the worm race

Disappointment after being eliminated from the worm race

In our 1st session this afternoon we finished 3rd after being eliminated in the new worm race again! (pictured above). The race involves collecting a worm by its head and placing it tail-first into a tall cylinder (the srynge). However if you catch the tail on the side of the cylinder and the head or body go in before the tail, you are eliminated. Unfortunately we can’t practice this race in between sessions here at HOYS, so we have to hope that we can get it right next time. Third time lucky we hope!

A spot of tack cleaning while sheltering from the rain

A spot of tack cleaning while sheltering from the rain

Then it was straight back to the stables for another inspection towards the tack and turnout cup at the end of the week. We had just enough time for a team briefing and a bite to eat before tacking up for this evening’s session.

It was throwing it down as we headed down to the arena. But maybe the rain was what we needed to wake us all up. All of the Oakley Hunt (West) team rode their socks off tonight.

Ostriches chase the starter

Ostriches chase the PPC starter

Joseph made a special appearance dressed as an ostrich (some might say that’s better than being a worm!). After we’d finished the race a couple of the ostriches set about chasing the starter around the arena to the delight of the packed crowd.

But the best bit was we won this evening’s session, so we have picked up some important points ahead of tomorrow.

Fingers crossed those pesky worms manage to behave next time!