As our annual horsey holiday loomed, I was really looking forward to spending a few fun days at Equifest, but my body had other ideas and refused to retain any sort of food! As I sat in hospital on Wednesday night, I did wonder if I might be giving the show a miss this year, but luckily that was not to be.

Mum and I got up early to drive up to Peterborough on Thursday, as my hack Toby was in the first class at 8:30am. Keyley did a fab job of riding him in for me as I sat on the sidelines hoping I was well enough to ride in the class. Luckily for me, Toby was in a typically lazy mood and was more than happy to do everything asked of him. We got pulled top in the novice hacks and, after a nice show and ride for the judge, we stayed at the top of the line, which was a great result. As I came out, I joked that perhaps we should head home before it all went downhill!

My next class was on Jacob in the open section C class. He did quite a nice show and I was pleased finish 2nd, which meant I got to ride in the evening performance for the championship. Spud also contested his open class and was 5th in some very good company. So Jacob got to strut his stuff in the evening performance and he really enjoyed it. I am not sure about the ponies needing ear plugs but after riding around the indoor school I felt like I needed them! The atmosphere was electric and great fun to be in.

The next day I was suffering a bit from riding and still being ill, but there wasn’t time to worry about it as all my classes seemed to end up clashing. First was Jacob in the Equifest final. He was pulled in second but didn’t like having to walk away and trot back in his show — this was more effort than Jacob likes and our show was somewhat lack lustre.

Leaving Jacob with next-in-line’s very lovely groom, my mum zoomed me up to the other end of the showground to get on Toby for his Equifest hack final. Pulled in second, he went nicely for the judge and I just managed to get my confirmation part done before heading back to jump on board Jacob for the final line-up. He ended up 4th, which was a little disappointing, but we had no time to reflect so it was a quick canter back to abandon him in his stable — thank goodness he is so good — then a dash back to get on Toby. He did a nice show with me to keep his second place. We then hung around for the championship and to my delight we were pulled forward as reserve. He was so well behaved, especially when given his first ever scarf to wear!

Toby was back in later for his Equifest part-bred final, which clashed head-on with Spud’s final, so unfortunately I missed that. Toby was foot perfect once again and came a really good second. To round the day off, I dressed up in a pretty frock and rode Spud in the concour de elegance side-saddle class! I was never allowed to do these classes as a child — my mum was not very artistic — and I have only ventured into them once before with Spud at PUK Winters, were he won. The class was huge and we were nose to tail in the evening performance. Luckily for me, Spud is very sane and is always happy to follow the one in front so minimal effort is required from me as far as the riding goes. To my delight we were second, which was fantastic when you saw the high standard of competition and I obviously must have managed to maintain a little bit of elegance!

The last day was nice and easy with only three classes. Jacob and Toby’s classes clashed completely on this time, so Stephen stepped in to ride Toby for me, coming a very good fourth in his class. Jacob was pulled top this time and managed to come out and do his best show of the week — we even managed a gallop. We stayed top, which meant a long wait for the championship.

Spud’s class was in just before the championship and, after originally being pulled in 7th, he moved up to 5th in a very strong HOYS line-up of ponies. I jumped straight onto Jacob as the heavens opened and he went round like a star. We all galloped together and then got pulled into line. The judges couldn’t make up their minds and three of us were pulled out to do shows, including Jacob. Unfortunately he couldn’t quite muster the energy of the others and so, sadly, we were the ones not pulled forward. But it was great to be in the mix in such a fantastic championship.

This was my third year at Equifest and it remains a fantastic show. I was so pleased I managed to get up there and ride the boys in their classes, as well as enjoying some good time with friends. The show just seems to get better each year. Toby surpassed all my expectations and was a star the whole time, always trying his best and never being difficult. He almost stole Jacob’s crown — but I think the little cob just managed to hold on to it — this time…

Chloe