When I got up at 3:30am to go to Ponies (UK) I thought that was early enough, but when I was told I’d have to set my alarm for 2am to head up to the National Welsh Show at Malvern, I really did start having second thoughts! However, the thought of riding Jacob (Popsters Loaded Weapon) in the ring won me over, and so, despite being a bit bleary-eyed, Mum and I duly got up at silly O’clock and headed over to Ollie’s yard to go up in the lorry.

The HOYS class was in at 8am and both Jacob and Pop were entered. Jacob had only been back with us two weeks, and away from his mares for just a month, so we knew the class would be quite a big ask. But Jacob is one of those ponies who will either do it or not, regardless of the amount of work (or lack of it!) that you have done to prepare!

As I was riding Jacob, Jo partnered Pop for me and we all headed down to the ring. Jacob was really good in the good round and even managed to keep his walk together for the pull in. Some others got a little excited and naughty, but Jacob remained the perfect angel! I was one of the last to be pulled in before everyone else just came in, which I think was around 14th. Pop was a couple above me.

We went out to do our individual show, which can be a bit of an effort for Jacob, but he went well, even showing a little bit of a faster canter (I wouldn’t want to call it a gallop!). As the numbers were called out there seemed to be no movement at the top of the line, so I was really thrilled to be pulled up to 4th — moving up about 10 places. It was a great feeling to be doing a lap of honour on Jacob again — hopefully there willbe more opportunities for this now he is back.

After a quick rest, I jumped onto the Ponsfords’ Kilatane Mabel, a lovely palomino section B mare who I was riding in the novice and HOYS classes. Unfortunately the classes clashed so we did the novice — a good choice as Mabel won. I then jumped straight onto Pop, who was a very tired boy by this point, but was still pulled in top and stayed top.

I chose to ride Pop in the championship and it was great to be stand novice champion above my friend’s gorgeous section D. Pop looked very proud of himself as he was awarded his sash and Welsh performance medal, and it was great that Pop and Jacob’s breeder was there to see them both.

It was a lovely end to a long and tiring day!