The success story of South of England show was its big-money amateur championship. Congratulations to Avril Bartolomy, who is on a roll and took the £500 prize with her maxi cob, Clantara Shadow Play.
Some riders said they didn’t know about the championship until it was too late to enter relevant classes. One solution would be to allow entries on the day.
Shows must be more adaptable; I’ve said this before, and other columnists have since made the same point. Shows that allow late entries benefit by levying an extra charge and it’s good news for the rider who has bought a new horse or needs to make last-minute plans.
Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to pay late entries by cash on the day or by card. One society chairman tells me they’ve had to make this rule because a minority of unscrupulous competitors entered via rubber cheques. How sad; these people only have themselves to blame if societies start a blacklist.
When well-sponsored championships are on offer, those eligible should do all they can to take part. When you’re facing a long journey at the end of a long day, it’s tempting to head home, especially if you think you don’t stand much chance.
But poorly supported championships make sponsors ask why they should fork out. Riders shouldn’t be defeatist; championships are often decided by “fresh” judges, and if you go in with the right attitude, you never know what will happen. Complacency can lose championships and determination can help win them.
By the way, amateur riders must be careful not to compromise their status. I’ve heard amateurs announce they are being “supported” by companies giving them free products. This counts as financial gain and so breaks the rules.
Where hunters belong
South of England is one of the most enjoyable shows in the calendar, with one of the best main rings in the country, so why were its Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) hunter qualifiers withdrawn in 2014? I wish HOYS organiser Grandstand Media would explain its allocation system.
Here was a traditional show, complete with a parade of hounds, in a densely populated, easily accessible part of the UK. The organisers work hard to attract riders and spectators alike, and riders were dismayed when hunter qualifiers disappeared. The same thing happened at Bramham, which again gave hunter exhibitors an ideal environment.
South of England had a fair number of qualifiers, but hunters and cobs — the categories that belong in such a great main ring — missed out. Let’s hope there’s a rethink for 2017.
Finally, some lovely intermediates of true hack type caught my eye at Derby Festival. Why are some intermediate riders nervous of entering hack classes, which often have fewer entries than those for intermediates?
Intermediates were designed to be a stepping stone to “adult” classes, not as a social hangout for under-25s who want to compete with their friends. Be brave — you’ll surprise yourself, and might even beat some of us oldies.
Ref: Horse & Hound; 23 June 2016