Ready, Set… HOYS

Emma Crossley HOYS Ambassador

The Horse of the Year Show is underway and we could not be more thrilled to be here.

It was such an honour to be asked back to perform as part of Horse of the Year Show’s 70th anniversary birthday celebrations.

We loved performing at HOYS back in 2014 and 2015 so we jumped at the chance to return to this incredible show. The atmosphere is always unmatched, the audience are amazing and we have the fondest memories from our time here before.

It was a brilliant opportunity to reunite our senior team.

For many of us the race was on. We flew back from the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina last week, so it was a fast turnaround of washing clothes, preparing horses and intensive training. We have put together two shows for the HOYS 70th anniversary year – a futuristic routine and a lively Cuban number.

Before we had a chance to catch our breath it was straight down to Birmingham and we were all relishing the opportunity. We have brought down three of our club horses to HOYS this year, we will only be using two horses a show so it is a great opportunity to give them plenty rest throughout the week.

W.H.Bentley is the most decorated British vaulting horse in history, he was down in 2014 & 2015 and he will once again grace the HOYS stage. A three time world champion and multiple world and European medallist – he is just a legend.

Tylers Kernel also travelled down in 2014 and 2015. Both proceeding times he was the ‘Fireworks’ horse, the horse who starts our show. This year he is doing both fireworks and team freestyle. He is the biggest character and it was very amusing in the rehearsals to watch him chasing the spotlights whilst performing flying changes – not ideal for our vaulting but hilarious none the less.

We only bought Captain Jack at the start of 2015, so he wasn’t at HOYS in 2014 or 2015. He has come on so fast in the sport and is just incredible. He was the highest scoring horse at the FEI Junior European Championships this year and we will be using him predominantly for our team freestyle. He has never really had a senior team freestyle until training for this event – but he has been amazing. He is completely unfazed by the lights and atmosphere thus far, and we could not be more proud of him.

We have only added one member to our 2015 squad, Katie Henderson. At 14 years old she is our youngest member at HOYS this year, and she had previously never been down to the show before. It was thrilling to see her reaction when she saw the Andrews Bowen arena for the first time – it was sheer awe.

After having completed our acclimatisation and training rounds, Wednesday marked our debut performance at HOYS 2018. Our nerves were bubbling with anticipation. There is nothing like standing behind the HOYS curtain waiting for it to open.

It was amazing to be back on the HOYS stage and get to perform in front of the most amazing crowd, who are ready and primed to party. We were thrilled to be back, and so proud of how both Tyke and Jack performed.

Yesterday also saw us having the opportunity to explore the showground – in particular the trade stands. If you are down at the show and want a break from spending money then definitely check out the HeartFM stand. They have a ‘pap wall’ where you get your photo taken multiple times and they make it into a GIF that they will then email over to you. It’s brilliant and make sure you tag @hoys_official and #HOYS70years when you share it socially.

After our performance we were able to stay and watch The Household Cavalry – one word – WOW! Just wow. Oozing history and tradition whilst being wildly entertaining. I love the contemporary edge they have added to their show this year – I don’t want to spoil the surprise but it adds a new dimension to an already captivating show.

Yesterday I got to watch the pony club mounted games. If you have ever read my blog before you know I am a huge fan, it is one of my favourite parts of HOYS. I have immense respect for the attack and dedication shown by the riders and their ponies.

There is so much I am looking forward to watching at HOYS this year. I need to make it up to the TopSpec arena – I have heard the stands are packed and the atmosphere is electric. Of course I need to watch all of the amazing displays on offer, catch the popular scurry competition and watch mind blowing jumping & dressage.

It is going to be a busy – amazing – week.