At Horse of the Year Show, you expect the unexpected. Our show started with a crisis when my 15-month-old son, Jack, found a penny on the horsebox floor, swallowed it and started choking.
Fortunately, I managed to get him to bring it up before the paramedics arrived and he’s fine — but it puts things into perspective.
There were some fantastic combinations throughout the show and Jayne Ross and Team Bardo will be thrilled at taking the supreme with large riding horse Broadshard Simplicity (pictured).
I liked the way riding horse section ride judge Rachel Helliwell asked horses to move on — they should be able to gallop correctly and without being sexist, it soon sorts out the men from the boys.
The formbook doesn’t always work here, partly due to the marks system. I think you lose out by judges not being able to discuss horses and compare conformation and ride assessments, but I can see pros and cons. The simple answer is that there probably isn’t a perfect system.
Giving our all
I would have loved to take the hack championship, but Pearly King gave me all he could to take reserve. As we had stood second in the large hack class, it goes to show that you should not assume you are in there to make up the numbers.
Henrietta Windsor-Phillips put on a fantastic show to win the hack championship with the smalls winner, Wesswood Caste A Spell. That little horse is unbelievable, he has won everything, really knows his job but keeps his sparkle.
Everyone knows Pearly King is my horse of a lifetime, so I mustn’t let him overshadow our cob champion, Fait Accobli. He too couldn’t have given me any more and I was thrilled for Vicky Smith and Steve Pitt, who own him.
I work with Vicky and Steve, but have to say a huge well done to Vicky for giving Rosemary Penn’s Lovestruck a great ride and capturing the reserve riding horse championship.
This column was originally published in Horse & Hound magazine on Thursday 16 October, 2014