So as I am sat here writing this HOYS (Horse of the Year Show) is only one day away! Obviously this means I am ill. I am never ill but somehow each year my cold quota manages to save itself up for the one week I really could do without a throat like razors and nose that I can’t breathe through! This weather isn’t helping either. I am already out riding in the morning in full fluorescent gear and lights and we have only just got into October
So I have one more day off work to get through before I get on the train up to Birmingham and HOYS well and truly begins.
Every year I always think to myself “remember it isn’t a big deal”. Yet every year the nerves start to kick in and seeing everyone else’s excitement for the show is just intoxicating and soon I find myself caught up in it as well.
As I don’t get much work holiday I am always doing the mad dash to Birmingham to make sure I get there in time to work the ponies in. This year I feel slightly smug as I booked my train a few weeks ago before riding times came out and luckily for me I arrive at 7pm with a ride in time for 7:40pm, so just a quick dash from one end of the NEC to the other!
The ponies are prepped and ready with Bam’s class being on Wednesday alongside Windy’s cuddy final and then both Windy and Chief are in their ridden classes on Thursday.
I still can’t believe all three have qualified! I took them out to a practice show last week as they haven’t been out for quite a while and instead have been enjoying themselves hacking about around the gallops. All of them managed to give a good account of themselves, after some initial panic at the ducks in the warm-up arena — you wouldn’t believe such small animals could cause such worry! It was especially nice to take Bam along as this show was her first outing as a novice in 2014. It is crazy to think how far she has come!
At the weekend we also hired a local indoor school and headed down there for our final practice. Bam was just Bam, trying her hardest for me and I am really excited about her first time at HOYS. I am not expecting much from her results-wise as to me she is still a novice compared to many in the class, but as long as she enjoys herself I will be happy.
Windy and Chief had other ideas at the warm-up! They weren’t so keen to play ball however I am remaining hopeful that they have now got their little exuberances out of their system and we will be fine for Thursday — at least that is what I keep telling myself.
I am hopeful both of them can pull the good behaviour out of the bag as it is kind of my last rides on them. Windy who I have had for four years is heading off to stud so is unlikely to be doing any ridden showing next year and Chief who I have also now ridden for four years is returning back to stud and won’t be coming back on loan to me next season. I am hopeful he may still have the odd appearance but we will have to see!
I always hate the pressure of “last ever rides” so I am trying not to think too much about it and just enjoy the time in the ring.
HOYS is always over like a flash no matter how much you try to slow it down. You wait and wait for your class and then the next thing you are doing your show and then it is all over. All I ever ask is to head back into line not thinking “I wish I had done this” or “I wish I had done that”. You would think after a few years of riding there you would get used to it but weirdly it doesn’t get any easier!
So to everyone heading up to this magical show, good luck. I hope you enjoy every moment of the experience. I can’t wait to watch and compete in some wonderful classes with some great friends and watch a few people’s dreams come true.