Tales from Hickstead: when your Royal International journey includes a ferry and 767-mile drive…

  • TEN-year-old Jorgi Craigie and eight-year-old Welsh sec A mare Rhencullen Rockette qualified for their first Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) on their first attempt at the NPS show at Strathallan Castle in June. They will be competing in the 122cm M&M WHP class at Hickstead.

    “It was their first ever RIHS qualifier, and Jorgi was over the moon to get the ticket,” said Jorgi’s mother Caroline Casey. “Covid robbed us of a season, so they were delighted to get out this year. They grow out of their ponies so fast so it was sad to see a year lost, but we made the most of it and did a lot of hacking and went to the beaches and just kept going because we couldn’t do much else.”

    Caroline bought Mrs Brown, as Rhencullen Rockette is known at home, two years ago and Jorgi enjoys “a bit of everything” with her.

    “She is really genuine and has the heart of a lion,” said Caroline. “She loves Jorgi and just wants to please her. She’s an all-rounder and will turn her hoof to anything, but we’ve been concentrating more on the workers this season as that is what Jorgi enjoys.”

    Caroline and Jorgi live on the isle of Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, so their journey to Hickstead is not easy.

    “Our journey starts on Pentland Ferries, which is an hour ferry ride to the mainland (Gills Bay), before we start the mammoth drive of 767miles to Hickstead – it’s brutal,” says Caroline. “We make a stopover for a night to break it up, but it’s still a very long way.”

    The recent heatwave hasn’t helped proceedings either.

    “The hottest it gets at home is about 16 degrees, so to have to suddenly deal with 31 degrees has been tough, but it’s amazing how quickly the ponies adapt,” said Caroline. “Jorgi has never been to Hickstead and we’ve been told it’s the best horse show of the year. Jorgi is beyond excited to be able to ride at this show.”

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