Simon Reynolds: There needs to be more for the youngsters *H&H VIP*

Opinion

This time of year is always testing for equestrians. Look at the weather; we’ve already been thrown everything.

With the young horses, it can feel like two steps forward and three steps back. You can start to make headway and then it’s back to square one. We have been so grateful to have the use of the fantastic facilities at the local indoor school so we can train in the bad weather. It has been invaluable in allowing us to keep moving forwards.

Something for the youngsters

It was a real shame that the new “High Flyers” show was cancelled. It was an event we were looking forward to, as a showcase for some of our new novices, but in reality, it would have been a gamble as to whether they would have been ready or not.

The show was cancelled because of low ticket sales, but perhaps entries were also disappointing. This was no criticism of the show, but it was probably just a bit too early. The concept of the show was great and it was really refreshing to have a fixture celebrating young show horses. We really hope it can be rescheduled and I’m sure people will support it.

It would be fantastic for other shows to follow suit and make room for more young horse and four-year old classes. The invaluable experience they can gain in a non-pressurised class is great. These classes drop off drastically as the season goes on. Yet, I do believe a young horse’s education takes a lot longer than a few months.

I have been known to put a young horse in an open class, when there are no novice classes, if there is a good ride judge and a suitable ring, not for the qualification so much, but for a good experience.

I have noticed results coming in from the early shows and I can’t believe we have already had Royal International qualifiers. Some of my opens are still emerging from winter hibernation, as am I. I think as I’m getting older, the thought of going to a show in this weather doesn’t fill me with much enthusiasm.

Vaccination chaos

In preparation for the coming season, we have had the whole yard revaccinated with six-month boosters due to the flu outbreak, as we don’t want to fall foul of the new rules some shows are imposing. I think all horse owners and trainers should, as always, be vigilant.

However, it doesn’t require hysteria. If we weren’t a professional competition yard, I would be more than happy with an annual vaccination, but we are playing the game as we have to follow protocol for entries.

We did joke that our horses have had more pricks than a secondhand dartboard! There’s another joke in there, but we’ll keep it PG.

We are also keeping an eye out for the release of the Horse of the Year Show rule; if they also ask for a jab six months before the show, our horses will need to be revaccinated in September. Just when we thought keeping up with show closing dates was enough of a headache.

Ref Horse & Hound; 21 March 2019