I would be lying if I didn’t admit I had written this blog from the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) repeatedly in my head with happier news to report. We have won a few first place rosettes recently, with Harry (my son) winning his ride at Pony Club camp and Alice (my daughter) being in the winning Warwickshire team at a Pony Club area competition. So I set off to Hickstead with two very in-form ponies and bags of enthusiasm, hoping for a famous blue sash.
It wasn’t our day however, and in fact, the form book in the show hunter pony (SHP) classes was well and truly shaken up. I am delighted that Alice received the top show mark on Annandale Maria, as that is the most important thing for her to achieve. I am not sure the two SHP judges went for the same type of animal having looked at the marks they awarded. This is testament to the fact you can never judge the outcome of a class from the ringside.
I heard the saying ‘it’s only another show’ said several times, but although I tried to use it to console myself slightly, I am not sure RHIS is ‘only another show’. There is a magic about this occasion, and I must thank Roger Stack (Hickstead’s showing director) for putting it there.
Indeed, I thought there were several unexpected results during the first few days across the sections, so it must give encouragement to everyone entering. Competitors all have an equal chance, so with a good performance it could be your day. There were some wonderful surprised faces to see when riders were pulled up from down the line to win.
I must congratulate the show pony champion. A truly beautiful pony, Rotherwood Rainmaker, ridden extremely well by Poppy Carter, who went on to take the pony supreme (pictured right). Thank the lord, Poppy was judged sensibly in her class by someone who didn’t over penalise a tiny blip during her show. Well done to you all.
We managed a trip to the national side saddle championships too, where Alice made her sideways debut on Annandale Maria (pictured below left) who went perfectly to win the SHP class, despite a terrible thunder storm.
I managed to win a good Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) ladies hunter class with Boswell Bay, and I must comment on my wonderful fellow competitors who were so lovely to be amongst. The show has a really lovely atmosphere and everybody was simply having a great time.