I’m so excited, and still slightly in shock, because on Saturday Jacob qualified for the ridden welsh section C class at HOYS!
It was an early start (4:30am) as we were travelling up to Solihull with Wotton Monarch, a New Forest owned by Julia Kerslake, and they were in the first class. Typically Jacob’s class was second to last so we had a very long wait in between. The weather was awful — raining from the moment we got there, ’til pretty much the moment we finished. Claire and I took shelter in her sister’s horsebox in between classes.
Finally it was Jacob’s turn after waiting patiently all day. After working him in, I returned to the lorry covered head-to-toe in mud to an appalled Claire! Everyone else had managed to maintain their clean white socks, while I had turned Jacob into a brown mess. After a quick clean up, we headed into the ring.
Jacob was putting in a very good performance, when I heard a shout from behind and saw a loose pony heading towards the bottom of the ring. It was Sam Roberts’ ride, which had slipped on the corner and crushed her leg. We all waited, hoping to see Sam get up, but sadly she wasn’t able to. We all left the ring while an ambulance was called to take Sam to hospital. It was awful to see such a great rider injured in what was a totally freak accident and I know I speak for everyone there in wishing her a speedy recovery.
Once the drama was over, we headed back into the ring. Jacob got a bit wound up going around with the others, then messed up across the middle in front of the judges. I got pulled in second in the huge class and watched the first pony put in a good show. Then it was our turn. Jacob did one of his best performances to date and he showed well in-hand too. I knew it was going to be close and was hoping to keep my second place as so many other ponies had done good shows.
As the steward read the numbers out, I was busy feeding Jacob polos in an attempt to stop him being silly when other ponies were pulled forwards. Jacob’s breeder Justin was in the same class and I was hoping this would distract Jacob and stop him from showing himself up like he did at Windsor. I couldn’t believe it when our number was called. We had so many near misses last year and he got injured after qualifying the year before, so it really was a dream come true!
I was very emotional when I came out — it was extra special to qualify Jacob with his breeder there and my mum, who took 5 hours to get there, and of course Claire, who puts in so much work and, like me, thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread!
When I got home I was shattered, but still had mine to do so there was no big drinking celebration for me that night. I tucked in with my housemates to a nice big tub of Hagen daz ice cream to celebrate instead. On Sunday I was up at 6:30am to take the Highland and Connemara to our last RIHS qualifier. Spud was fourth in his class and Major just missed out with a second, but I was still very pleased. Then we all managed to have a few glasses to celebrate our success the day before.
Luckily Monday wasn’t an early morning! Toby was pulled in second in the open RIHS hacks, but finished up third after a lazy ride for the judge. It is great to have something so sane in the hack classes, but sometimes he could do with a little more buzz!!! Then in the novice class we were pulled top and this time I managed to hold my position after Toby gave a better ride. We got some great tips from the judge on how to improve his ride and hopefully that will help us move up the line next time out.
I still can’t believe Jacob has got his HOYS ticket already, so he doesn’t need to go to many more shows. But that gives me a chance to concentrate on getting some of the babies out – after all we never like to miss a party!