I’ve wanted to jump at Hickstead since forever — my long-term ambition is to ride in the Hickstead Derby. My mum Jayne jumped here on 13.2hh ponies and my sister Amy competed in the JC final. We have photographs of them both jumping the Hickstead planks at home — Mum’s is in black and white.
I expected to feel nervous as a first-timer, but everyone around me was calm and kept me calm. My Nan had bought a new black jacket especially for Hickstead, which meant Mum had to buy me new hat to match as my old one was blue.
The course wasn’t technical, just lovely fences. Jess isn’t spooky so I wasn’t worried, and she was brilliant. She didn’t touch a fence and I met every one on a perfect stride, until the last. It was going downhill to the exit and I didn’t want to gallop and flatten, but I sat too quiet and just tapped it for four faults. But people still clapped my round — not like a normal show!
Later, one of the judges congratulated me on how well I rode. I was chuffed.
Emily Ward rode a fantastic round on King Mac to win by galloping to the last — she can trust her pony. And Olivia Poole deservedly won the 138cm on Oakhurst In The Spotlight in an incredibly quick jump-off.
As the JC was the first class, I had time to enjoy the rest of the day and go shopping. My dad John came to watch for only the second time, and gave me money, too. Result!
Now I want to come back next year, so I’m on the lookout for a new JC pony just like Jess.