So the first champs of the season rolled around in the shape of the PUK Winter Champs. I had booked the day off work to compete Sandy on Friday and Saturday, and I would also be jockeying the Sheeney’s Dartmoor stallion Vic.

The journey proved eventful as I was sick with the flu, Sandy somehow managed to stand on my ankle as we loaded him, and Steven, who was taking Vic up, broke down enroute. I think we should have taken that as an omen and quit while we were ahead!

Once we arrived, Vic was the first to go in his open final. We had a great go round, but Vic had other ideas in his show and thought he would do his best to avoid doing what I asked of him. Despite that we managed to get through to the placings in the evening.

Next up was Sandy, who was at his first championship party. We also had a good go round, although I managed to get a wrong leg in his first canter. We quickly corrected it, and he carried on with a nice show, which again put us in the top 10.

Sandy went straight from this class into his competition pony final. This time things went a lot better and we ended up second, which meant another evening performance for him in the championship (pictured above, photo courtesy of equinational).

Unscheduled trip to A&E

While I had been riding, Steven, who had eventually made it up to the show in a borrowed car, had been showing a Highland pony in the in-hand class. As he left the ring he got caught up in an incident and ended up being taken off to hospital with a suspected broken arm. While we waited for news on his condition, we got on with preparing the ponies ready for the evening.

Sandy was very well behaved in his evening performance taking it all in his stride — even when I had to jump off Vic straight onto him, he did not bat an eyelid. Sandy finished 8th in his open and Vic was 10th.

The next day dawned without Steven as after eventually making it back from A&E to watch the evening performance, his partner arrived to drive him home that night. We were hoping a better day was on the horizon and when Vic was pulled in top in a huge confined novice final, we hoped our luck had change.

Despite doing a nice enough show we were dropped to third, which was a little disappointing as it would have been nice to pick up a red rosette for Steven, but Vic was still the highest placed Dartmoor.

I got straight onto Sandy, who had been ably deputised in the novice by Emma Holder to be ninth, and headed off for my amateur final. By this point Sandy was getting very tired so I was thrilled to be pulled in 3rd in a strong mixed breed final. Unfortunately Sandy could not hold it together in his show and we were dropped to 8th again!

So although some of the results were a little disappointing, I have to remember Sandy is still very young. I was pleased with the really positive comments I got from the judges and the way he behaved at his first ever stay-away show. He is so good, my mum is happy holding him at the side of the ring!

Let’s hope our luck turns this weekend as I am taking Pop to his first ever show! I’ll let you know how we got on in my next blog. In the meantime I’m keeping everything crossed.

Till next time,

Chloe