Well it has certainly been a long long winter and as I write this on my way to work after riding in yet another snow “shower” this morning, I am beginning to wonder if we will ever see spring or summer again!

Usually, the culmination of the winter season for us is the BSPS Winter Championships — which tends to be either scorching hot or freezing cold. This year it certainly went for the later. For many of us, the week before was touch and go as to whether we would be attending or if the show would go ahead. However, the BSPS pulled out all the stops to ensure we would have a dry and fun champs to go to regardless of the weather.

We took three of the ponies to the champs — Sov to do the novice and restricted finals, Windy to do the novice and Warwick to potentially do the restricted and novice. Having been to only three small indoor shows and having never stayed away or seen that many ponies in his life, we were not sure how Warwick would cope so decided to play those classes by ear.

A manic morning
After getting up very early on Friday morning and arriving at a -2.5°C Arena UK, Ollie suggested I got on Warwick (pictured) to see how he felt — asking my mum jokingly whether I had brought an air jacket with me! I needn’t have worried as he coped amazingly with the working in and we decided to go ahead as planned.

It was a manic morning. Firstly I had Sov in the restricted class — and making it into the top 10 going forward to the evening performance. Then came Warwick, who I was thrilled with despite him putting in a buck in his show and not making the top 10. But he coped so well in very exciting conditions! Then it was back on to Sov for the novice class — again making the top 10 — followed by Warwick this time doing a good show and making the top 10. Finally it was Windy’s turn and he also put in a good performance to make the top 10. By the evening I was exhausted!

Successful evening performances
Windy was in first for his novice presentation where he came fifth. If I’m being honest, I was a little disappointed with the result, but I didn’t have much time to think about it as I jumped straight on to Sov who came a good fourth in his class. I then hot footed it outside to find Warwick, who seemed rather confused about being dragged out his stable at such a late hour!

I had no idea how he would take it all, so I headed into the evening performance with the thought “just kick on” in my head. As we lined up, I was hoping to make the top six, but was surprised and thrilled to be called forward as the winner. What a little star! I couldn’t believe how well Warwick coped, standing between the flower pots, leading all the ponies out and going off by himself to do his own lap of honour. I was so proud. We didn’t come anywhere in the championship, but it was just brilliant to be in there and to receive some lovely comments from the other competitors. However, I still had one other evening performance to do before we retreated to the lorry for a glass or two of bubbly!

Over the next two days I had the honour of judging some lovely classes and I wanted to thank everyone who battled the cold to present such beautiful ponies and the stewards who worked very hard in freezing conditions. Although the weather tried its hardest to ruin the show, the BSPS did a brilliant job to keep it running as smoothly as possible and it certainly didn’t dampen the competitors’ spirits. It must have been the coldest winter champs on record and let’s hope it stays that way!

Trying to stay optimistic
With the worrying outbreak of EHV, and the awful weather, we have been finding it quite hard to remain optimistic about the start of the season. Many people are struggling to get their ponies fit and I currently feel like I am doing a few steps forward followed by a fair few back. My novice ponies at home are certainly behind where I would like them to be.

Due to the lack of grass my feed bills are through the roof and this, along with petrol and entry money, does seem to have affected entries at many of the early shows. I know I’m thinking a lot harder about what shows we do this year, and with many societies being redeveloped, I think sadly the showing world we are use to could be in for some changes.

I do hope people manage to get out and enjoy their season, as when showing is on form there is nothing like it. It is going to be an interesting summer.

See you soon,

Chloe

Picture courtesy of Equinational