I have a 100% record of bringing the rain with me to the BSNC and Stoneleigh horse show. Last year it was torrential rain until the sun broke through the day that I left, and this year the sun shone down the first few days of the BSNC and my second day here the heavens opened once again. Whilst the rain fell, one thing was for sure – it did not dampen the mood.
Today marked the start of the Showing classes…and what a start!! It had it all – drama, excitement, emotion, sunshine and…rain!! With HOYS qualification on the line the pressure was on!
One of the first classes of the day was the Cuddy Working Hunter (HOYS) qualifier which was won by 60 year-old Tonya Wood from Warwickshire, who has hunted with Warwickshire hunt for 30 years and had only started competing in Showing working Hunter classes recently. An amazing, inspiring story, Tonya not only secured the win here but also gained the all-important HOYS qualification. She has had Dennis since he was 4 years-old and he is now 11 – their relationship clear to see and definitely one of the major contributing factors to this winning partnership.
I was able to continue my Showing education catching many of the Showing classes. It was brilliant to watch Charlotte Tuck & Rendene Secret Charm ‘Penny’ winners of the Kathleen Wood 138cm Children’s Riding Pony and Mini Show Pony Championship winners Cerys Holly & Woodroyd Celebration. Young star Sophia Peters & Barkway Little Star triumphed in the Price Family Lead Rein Pony class. I am continually gobsmacked by the talent of both riders and their horses and the professionalism displayed throughout all the classes, regardless of age.
One of my all-time favourites, the Miniature classes and championships, got underway today. They may be small in stature but they make a big impression. 10 year old Charlotte Trigg was the star of the show, winning not only the Miniature Youngstock class with two year old Ridgegate Timmys Miss Muffit, but with an impressive display fought off tough competition from fellow miniatures to win the miniature championships – thus securing qualification for the Horse of the Year Show. It will be Charlotte’s first time competing at HOYS -Congratulations!
Wow – what an exciting afternoon of Jumping action as the Connolly’s Red Mills Senior Newcomers Masters 1.25m had us completely enthralled as our Jumpers battled it out for a chance to compete at the final of the series at the Horse of the Year Show. The line-up included many well-known faces who between them have amassed a long-list of accolades – it was destined to be another gripping qualifier.
Last to go in the jump-off Lucy Townley on the Billy Studs Billy Spiral executed the perfect game plan to lift the title. Keeping her composure, and with the knowledge that qualification for HOYS was already secured having qualified with Billy Spiral after finishing 2nd at the 2nd round of the series in Wellington, she showed confidence and dominance to win the class.
It was great to have a chat with Lucy after the event, and hear all about her qualifying journey with the amazing Spiral and their aspirations for HOYS and for the future. The one thing that I loved the most – that Lucy reiterated to me – was that whilst she was fortunate to have the ride on Spiral here the success was as a result of a whole team effort. It was extremely modest of Lucy but I loved the fact that she acknowledges the huge amount of work and commitment it takes from a multitude of people to compete at this level.
The day finished off in dramatic, breath-taking, exciting fashion – What a jump-off! Tonight the Wild Card HOYS qualifier class got underway and we were treated to top-class jumping. 20 partnerships made it through to the jump off, however, it was Ellen Whitaker who triumphed, attacking the course with confidence and taking worthwhile risks on-board the wonderful Casaktie. Wow, she definitely had the crowd at the BSNC on the edge of their seat. I cannot wait to watch this dramatic class continue into the weekend.
It was a real honour to present the award to the winner of the Horse of the Year Show International Wild Card Qualifier Incorp National 1.40m Championship. Whilst I may not possess talents in putting rosettes on bridles – it was a massive privilege and I could not be more in awe of the riders and their horses who competed in this class – amazing!
Tomorrow sees the action continue, if you are around the area be sure to come down, it is free entry and well worth the travel for the amazing sport, atmosphere and trade stands on offer.