I am very sorry to my loyal followers for my recent absence. My life at the moment is, unfortunately, dedicated to A-Levels, and even my mother has cottoned on to the fact that now is not the time and has stopped asking when I might come home to ride and when would I like to start looking at potential intermediates?
However, last weekend I was able to get a taxi from school to meet her and Cash at Royal Windsor (pictured top), where he went remarkably well given that I hadn’t seen a pony, let alone sat on one, since Easter Saturday at the BSPS winter champs. Despite a fence down, we were fourth, and without our clumsy moment I think it might have been a much more successful day…
We were also thrilled recently to receive the news that we have been chosen by Snuggy Hoods to be their working hunter pony (WHP) ambassadors. Snuggy Hoods is the new sponsor of the plaited WHP classes at Horse of the Year Show, and we have always loved and used their fabulous hoods and bodies.
Royal Windsor was our first outing with their support and our ponies arrived looking like rather surprised gymnasts in their new lycra bodysuits and leg-wraps (pictured below). Hopefully we will now be able to justify Snuggy Hoods’ generosity to us. My sister Susie and Percy made a great start, by being second on equal marks, and although I was back at school, I’m reliably informed it was a very happy day all round.
However, feeling that my own rustiness was not worthy of my superstar boy, a few days later I went to a riding centre local to school for a group lesson on one of their horses. Although ‘Senator’ was not quite as sharp off the leg as Cash to put it mildly, I think it was a very worthwhile outing and now that we are on half-term, I have been working with Cash to get a grip of the situation again! We started with gridwork the first day, and are really looking forward to our local county show, Suffolk, later this week.
In other news, my mother has had a very entertaining weekend judging the WHP at the Essex & Suffolk Pony Club show. My mother and her three sisters were Pony Clubbers to the core, and mummy (whose heroine has always been Jill from Jill’s Gymkhana, so that every photograph of her as a child shows her in a yellow polo neck and jods) went through to the end, as an A-tester and advanced young instructor. Although my siblings and I haven’t followed the Pony Club route (that’s another story), mummy still keeps quite an eye on it all.
The Shelley Show is the most important day in the pony year to the mini Pony Clubbers from the Essex & Suffolk branch. It is also where, while Susie and I contested the fancy dress one year, my parents left my brother, aged three months at the time, in his pram behind the shade of a horsebox as it was a boiling hot day. Unfortunately, and un-noticed by my devoted parents, this horsebox was then driven home. The next day, my poor brother was so swollen with sunburn that he couldn’t open his eyes, but he was still smiling, which was more than my parents were, such was their terrible remorse. They’ve been obsessed with suncream ever since.
Fortunately, mummy’s steward at the show this year was Susie, who regaled us afterwards with stories of mummy’s special judging style, most of which is actually just too embarrassing to tell you. On several occasions she tried to buy the competitors’ ponies during the conformation stage, marvelled that one child’s pony looked so fantastic for a 26 year old (as Susie pointed out, 26 was actually its number, not its age — it was in fact only nine) and ran round in her hat and dress putting all the jumps down for the child who looked too nervous. Apparently she loves workers so much, she just wants everyone to have a go and enjoy it too, and Susie seemed to think they had all left with the judge’s positive comments carrying them forth to next year, even if they weren’t strictly according to the BSPS rule book…