So I think it is best to start the new blog with a belated Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all ended the year well and are getting ready for the new season.

If you are currently snowed in like me (see pic right!), the thought of riding and winter shows are probably far from appealing. Up until the recent cold snap I had been feeling quite smug — the ponies were ticking along nicely, doing lots of hacking and getting our schooling underway. We had even planned our first outing. Needless to say now ponies and rider are both back to being unfit and underworked! And the thought of cleaning any white socks for a show is the furthest thing from my mind.

That said, I am really looking forward to getting the season started and I’m hoping the snow is going to disappear pretty soon as I am desperate to get all the novices out. That is the only fun thing about winter showing — novice ponies! You never quite know what you are going to get when you first venture out and there are always surprises in store.

This season is looking like it is going to be pretty busy with novice ponies of all shapes and sizes to ride. I’ve scaled up this year and finally have myself a bigger pony to ride (hurrah, no more diets) in the shape of a New Forest stallion called Sabinas Stormy Fellow (aka Warwick). He has been at Ollie’s [Oliver Burchell] yard since November and has been well and truly transformed.

Warwick (pictured left) has taken to the ridden job really well and I am very excited about getting him out this year. He is a beautiful, comfy ride and I am hoping he will have a jump to match. He will stay at Ollie’s for the season alongside the my mum’s pink pony, the Welsh section B Pennway Sovereign (Sov), who I also ride. He finished the year on a huge high being reserve restricted champion M&M at the BSPS Heritage champs and coming second in his Olympia qualifier — not bad for a very lightly shown four-year-old.

After a little visit to see my best boy Popsters Loaded Weapon (Jacob) at the Popsters stud before HOYS, stud owner Justin couldn’t help himself but tempt me with another C for this year, Popsters Bertie Wooster (pictured in the snow top right). Although the plan is to find Bertie a new home fairly early on, I have already fallen in love with him, as has Francis who he shares his field with. The two are now in a major ‘bromance’ which results in early morning wake up calls for all the neighbours when I take one out for a ride before work without the other! I am hoping to get Bert out soon to his first show — no doubt Francis, who currently resembles a teddy bear rather than a Dartmoor, will come along to. Francis might even do some lead rein classes this year if I can find a suitable jockey.

And finally I am very lucky to have the other cheeky Dartmoor Windy (Shilstone Rocks North Westerly) back to show for the season for his owner Lynda Calcutt — although this does mean I am back on the diet! He will be combining the ridden classes with some covering work, so it could be an exciting season for him.

So fingers crossed the snow decides to shift as there is a busy season ahead and me and the ponies want to go and play!

Until next time,

Chloe