Want to know what it’s like to compete at an international show? Then tag along when your sister is picked for the Pony Club show jumping at the British Open — that’s what I did.
With Saturday’s schedule running behind there was some confusion as to start times and the chance to watch a bit of working hunter, but eventually the teams were once again ready to go. Unsure whether my skirt and boots adhered to the “suitable dress code” required for the course walk, I played groom and held my sister’s horse this time, while the genuine competitors walked their course.
Although the 14.2hh’s had been earmarked to jump off, in the end it wasn’t necessary. After another two rounds each, the team placings remained much the same as day one, with Wales finishing in first with just eight faults, Scotland in second, Northern Ireland in third and England in fourth.
The presentation and the many, many photographs
After the Welsh team had received their British Open rugs and been presented with rosettes and trophies by Ellen Whitaker, everyone proceeded back to the stables where they posed for photographs, trying desperately to keep hold of their flags in the wind.
Despite a few tears along the way, even one of the England dad’s was eventually able to see the good in the convincing win by Wales. “After all,” he said, “at least when you’re completely massacred you can’t blame it on anyone for having that one pole!”