Qualifying for HOYS
HOYS is getting ever closer. I know how much effort goes into qualifying for an event like HOYS and how much it means to people to have their dreams realised. I recently read Holly and Coblet’s HOYS qualifying story about how HOYS used to seem like a “distant aspiration” to Holly. It was a long journey for them to qualify for HOYS this year but their dreams were realised as they qualified in the SEIB Search for a Star category. I can’t wait to see Holly and Coblet compete at HOYS. Holly’s mum’s mantra of “Ride more,worry less” are definitely words to live by.
I know what it meant to me to be able to qualify and compete at our Championships for Vaulting, getting to go and be part of the event and being able to soak up the atmosphere. As a result of the successes we achieved through Vaulting we were asked to do a display at HOYS. I remember how I felt when I was told we had been asked to do a demonstration at HOYS in 2014 and then 2015 – excited doesn’t even cut it. Then being at HOYS last year as an ambassador and getting to experience the show as a spectator, I got to see the emotion and what it meant to people to compete there. Hearing their qualifying stories just reminded me how much the event means and what it meant to me to be a part of such an incredible show with an amazing network of people.
A busy few weeks…
It has been an extremely busy couple of weeks for me. I stayed on a little longer in South Africa in order to be able to lunge the vaulters who I coached at a competition. Whilst it was really hard getting used to a different horse in such a short period of time, the girls did a great job and managed to implement a lot of changes and improvements that we had been working on over the duration of my visit. It was such an amazing experience to be out in South Africa coaching and working with such dedicated vaulters. Everyone was so welcoming and I will definitely miss being over there.
When I was in South Africa I was lucky enough to go to Shumbashaba’s special Olympics. Their slogan is ‘horses helping people’ and that could not be more accurate. The special Olympics event was great to watch and it was fantastic not only to see the enjoyment of the competitors and the horses but also the generosity of the volunteers. Shumbashaba is a truly incredible place. Two of the vaulters in the team that has qualified to represent South Africa at this year’s Junior Vaulting World Championships have come through the Shumbashaba development programme. They stay in the nearby township called Diepsloot and as a result of Shumbashaba were able to start vaulting and will this year travel to Austria for the Championship – an amazing and inspirational story of the opportunities horses can provide people – life changing.
Whilst I was very sad to leave South Africa as it is an incredible country and I have met the most wonderful people, I was so excited to see my horses – I have missed them so much. Once I got home it was straight back into competition. I quickly reunited with Tyke who I lunge for Kerri and Mitra. It couldn’t have gone better and they finished first and second respectively in their class. We had a lot of vaulters competing from our club along with our horses, Jack and Billy. We had a great competition. The horses and vaulters did an amazing job. Quite a few of the vaulters who have grown up through our club are now also lungers and coaches and it is really nice to have such a big team of people working together – we are one big family. The past week I have been spending some much needed quality time with my horses and it has been amazing.
Joanne Eccles M.B.E for services to Equestrian Vaulting
It was amazing to hear that my sister Joanne was awarded an M.B.E in the Queen’s birthday honours for services to Equestrian Vaulting. I am unbelievably proud to see her amazing achievements recognised. She has given and continues to give so much to our sport and I look up to her immensely – Joanne Eccles M.B.E has a great ring to it don’t you think?
Captain Jack’s birthday
It was my horse Captain Jack’s birthday the other day. I am still so shocked and amazed by his improvement over the past couple of years from the horse that we went to see with the lovely temperament but limited muscle tone to the athletic gentle giant we now have. I am so privileged to be a part of his journey – I can’t wait to watch how far he can go in the future and we are lucky to have him.
There are some exciting things coming up… follow my blog in the lead up to HOYS for a behind the scenes look at all the different aspects of the show.