I’m sure many of you reading this will have already heard endlessly about the very sad news of the sudden and unexpected death of Kyregate Peter Pan, one of the most special ponies we have ever owned. Obviously it is always desperately sad to lose a childhood pet, but I found it hard explaining to my friends quite what an impact this particular pet had had on our lives.
Jojo (his stable name) represented and embodied so much. When I think of my childhood, I think of me, Susie and my mother going to a pony show on a beautiful, warm Saturday, Susie invariably winning on Joey but with us all just thrilled with any result, and then making it back for roast chicken that my father had cooked in our absence. In my mind he is so strongly associated with the very happiest of memories and a stage of our showing career where everything was completely pressure-free and everyone was always so happy for each other. We were so pleased to read his obituary in Horse & Hound and he will be forever remembered for every good reason.
Both Susie and Ruby (pictured with Jojo above) and James Ward, who rode Jojo with enormous success in recent seasons, obviously had Jojo looking over them during a series of recent successes. Susie started her season with a bit of eventing which is always a much more gentle way to get going with the season, and she began with a clean win at Poplar Park before a great day at Munstead. It has been a breath of fresh air in contrast to what we refer to as the ‘goldfish bowl’ environment of showing. Nevertheless, she was also very excited to get going again with showing qualifiers and started strongly at the BSPS Winter Champs, going Gold Cup champion on Cash.
The Gold Cup is such a great competition, starting with a dressage test, then a round of working hunter pony fences judged on style, and finally, the top 10 ponies showjump in reverse order with an invariably influential, optional joker fence at the end. There is a terrific atmosphere which builds as the final ponies jump and I was proud to see the video of Susie and Cash, such a new combination, being so icy cool jumping in the top spot. The top four qualify for the White Company Sports Pony Final at Burghley in September, and it was a pity that poor Percy, who had a fright just before he jumped in the evening, dropped from his position to miss qualifying. He is having a week of TLC and is hopefully back to his usual star self.
I was very sad not to be there for the first time in ages, but as always I love hearing that Susie is getting on so well. Ruby was restricted supreme champion there with her gorgeous Peppermint, and James also had a super show — they all did Jojo proud.
The day after all this happiness, we had the sadness of saying goodbye to Britt on Saturday, our so-much-more-than-a-groom. Britt’s first ever class with us was a win and championship at the Horse of the Year Show, and her last was a win and championship in the Gold Cup, so a wonderful finale. She has been such a success in so many ways and the parting moment was a very tearful one for all of us. We know from experience how very important each team member is, and Britt’s finger was so completely on every pulse. Whatever the physical weather, Britt is sunshine and we have really valued this so much. She is off to be a policewoman, and we are all a little concerned that my mother is threatening to wear her own fancy dress version from Ann Summers at Britt’s forthcoming leaving party. We are going to miss you enormously Britt and I hope mummy will cope at home without your calming influence…
We are very lucky however, to have Ebony in Britt’s place — she has made a super start and had a great changeover with Britt. After trying everything possible in the attempt to find a new groom, mummy was very relieved to finally come across Caroline Carter Recruitment. It is a particularly reliable company as Caroline has built a database over the years of all staff and employers that have gone through her books, so finding someone good and reputable is made far easier.
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My mother’s ‘lorry leg’ has now been sorted out, but ‘seasonal sciatica’ has kicked in to tremendous groaning and her most frequent muttering, “poor Mrs Eddis”, and so James has been helping with the driving. Cash, who looks like a dope on a rope to most people, is in fact acutely sensitive and can be quite tricky if he takes against you. However, he and James have a doting friendship and I gather that it’s great fun when James goes to competitions with them, so I must get along to one soon myself.
I think everyone who has any involvement in horses is well and truly ready now for some decent weather and a break from the wet — county shows are just around the corner, as are GCSEs and A Levels. Whatever your next targets, very good luck to you all!