The flag has dropped on Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) qualifiers and I am astonished how ready the pony producers are. Horses have always started later in the season so are a bit slower out of the blocks. Many of the top ponies were at the first 3 qualifiers and the results list reads like the RIHS results themselves.
It is interesting to see the numbers in the classes and it definitely shows a lack of 143cm show hunter ponies around. I know a good friend of mine has been looking for one for a long time without any joy. The 133cm and 153cm SHP classes were very well supported indeed with tremendous quality down the line.
We were absolutely delighted with our new pony Annandale Maria, who went really well and achieved great results both days at Onley Grounds. Hightopps Jazz kicked off his summer with a win and a fab round in his first novice nursery stakes class. He will make a super cradle stakes pony one day.
It was interesting to see the different style of course building in the WHP ring over the 2 days. Sunday’s course at the Area 17 show was considerably more demanding than the course provided by Area 6 on Saturday, however the results didn’t alter much with several of the same ponies coming to the fore in WHP classes both days.
It was such a treat to be outside in the sun with excellent facilities, courses and happy competitors. We have some great friends in the WHP set and it is like a step back in time for me seeing many of the same families as when I did it 30 years ago!
Away from the showring
Now hunting is over Harry has a new 153cm pony from Ireland that he has been trialling for the Warwickshire Hunt Pony Club team. I’ve been trying to get him to do a WHP class, but without much joy. I think Alice has her eye on the pony for a few years time as it pops 1.20m with ease. Frightens me to death!
The Cheltenham Festival was great fun this year and the racing was good too. I can’t remember ever seeing so many fantastic finishes and, although there were a few casualties, in general horses were coming home well on superb ground.
It is such a magnificent occasion and I’m now looking on my diary to see if I can fit in a quick trip across the water to Punchestown. What other industry could give so much pleasure?