It’s a cliche — and we chief sub types hate cliches — but there really is no show like Horse of the Year.
I spent most of today in the Caldene Arena watching the HOYS mountain and moorlands. The stands were packed for all classes and there was a lot of vocal support. Inevitably, this did upset some of the exhibits, but it was lovely to see riders sitting calmly and quietly and giving their mounts kind, reassuring pats.
No huge upsets of form in the classes, I don’t think. The consistent Dales Waterside Black Prince headed the Dales and Fells, with last year’s winner Waterside Ben in third, behind the Fell Burnhead Henry — whom H&H tipped as one to watch earlier this season.
Last year’s M&M champion, the Welsh section D Sydenham King George, was second in his class this time — but to Nebo Julie Ann, who has triumphed at Royal Welsh, so no shame in defeat. The standard here is superb.
There were some interesting results — not least because the HOYS website appeared a little previous in putting them up! — in the hunter sections. The 2010 HOYS supreme Dunbeacon was beaten in his lightweight section by Tudor Minstrel, a former SEIB Search for a Star contender, I gather.
It is part of the joy of this amazing show that the results, website notwithstanding, cannot be foretold. Only one thing I know for sure — I want either a Welsh section D, or a Dales. But then I haven’t seen the cobs or the coloureds yet…