So we are off to the RIHS today (Friday 1 August) and I am pretty excited! It does mean we are getting nearer to the end of the season, especially for me as I am not going to any championship shows this year. Between my friend’s wedding and a lack of holiday from work, August is sadly a no-go area for me pony wise – so I guess we will have to use RIHS as our horsey holiday instead!
Since qualifying Jacob for Olympia I have been on cloud nine, although Jacob has returned to his normal self pretty quickly, already trashing another few rugs. While I can’t moan at him, I think I may need to take out a bank loan to keep him in rugs until December!
North of England
I recently went to North of England horse show. This is a show I love going to as the rings are on a surface and the classes are really popular with great quality throughout. A few years ago I judged up there and two of the winning ponies went onto win at Horse of the Year Show, so the competition is usually pretty hot. I went up to ride Windy and Chief in their HOYS qualifiers.
Windy was in first, but while I was waiting to go in my mum and his owner Lynda Calcutt suddenly had a brainwave and decided to go and get me a new tie. As I wear a blue one and have had a long stretch of blue rosettes this year, they decided a new red one was in order. The day before I had been at Kent County where Chief and I had picked up yet another blue so I thought anything was worth a go.
Windy’s class was really strong as expected, but he was a good boy, considering he has been mainly shown as an in-hand pony this year. We had a small shy at the end of our show, but I was pleased with him. They started to call the numbers out in reverse and guess what… my number was called forward into second place. I had to laugh – red or blue tie, old or new, I was still managing to pick up those blue rosettes. In all seriousness though, I wasn’t disappointed in my placing at all. He could have gone better and to be second was still great. I did wonder about asking for a refund for my tie though…
Just before I went into my class with Chief, the heavens opened, which was not a great omen for us as Chief isn’t keen on the rain. However he went off and did a nice go around until he put his tongue over the bit as we rode across the middle. The second half of our go round was ridden very carefully as a result. I managed to position myself down the end of the line so I could jump off to do conformation first and sort his tongue out.
Although Chief’s tongue was back in the right place when I went out to do my show, he is a sensitive pony and I knew I would have to ride him delicately with as little contact as possible. Luckily for me he kept himself together and did a nice show.
Then it was the wait again as the numbers were called in reverse order. When it got to third I still hadn’t been called, and looking over to my mum and Ollie I could see that anxious look in their faces: could it be the day? Ollie couldn’t watch choosing instead to hang over the barrier and stare at the ground. As it got to second place I got myself ready to go forward, jokingly signalling to my friend in the line. But it wasn’t my number called – and yes we had done it! Finally our run of blues had finished. I couldn’t have been more pleased, and the new tie can stay!
So Chief and I are off to HOYS for our third year together and I cannot wait. It was brilliant being able to call his owners/breeders and let them know the good news, as well as having many friends at the show to celebrate with. Who says sportsmanship and friendliness in showing is dead!
On to the RIHS
So today I am busy at Hickstead — I am lucky enough to have my three boys to ride there. Windy is in first, followed by Chief, whose owner Jane Jones is coming all the way from Snowdonia to watch him (no pressure then), and then Warwick.
Warwick hasn’t been out since April so I am not too sure how he is going to cope with everything, but fingers crossed he is as good as he was last year. I feel a bit of a sense of responsibility with Warwick as he is the only New Forest in the class – I will be competing against all Connemaras!
Fingers crossed all the ponies do the best they can and we come away with maybe a rosette or two … at least the RIHS is one place I don’t mind getting a blue one!