After being aware that the BSNC & Stoneleigh Horse Show was underway this week and only leaving Hungary where I was at the FEI European Vaulting Championships for Juniors on the Sunday, the race was on. Could I make it down in time for the Pony Foxhunter Masters class – a HOYS qualifier – on the Thursday morning?
After a dream journey back from Hungary where everything seemed to fall into place – including driving up to the ferry and sailing straight away, what could go wrong? Both my horses travelled extremely well, unbelievably happy to reach cooler temperatures (it was boiling in Hungary) and make it out to the field with their mates. I thought I was cooking with gas…nothing could stop me making it down to Stoneleigh.
…that was until an hour into my journey when I stopped for fuel…I hadn’t factored in a puncture! After calling for help and putting the spare tyre on, I also became aware that not only was my tyre damaged but I was missing a bolt from my wheel. It became evident I wouldn’t be making it to Stoneleigh on my spare tyre. After finding a garage and some incredibly helpful people, I was back on the road. BSNC here I come!
Was the journey from Hungary to Scotland and down to the BSNC worth it? 100% yes!
Thursday may have been my first day at the show for 2018, but it felt great to be back down, almost picking up exactly where I left off last year. I feel so incredibly lucky to have made it down in time to watch the conclusion of pony show jumping classes, they are unbelievably exciting, and the talent on display is unmatched. It was thrilling to watch the Pony Foxhunter Masters as our young riders made their bid in order to secure one of the four qualification spots on offer for the Horse of The Year Show.
With 8 riders in the Jump-off, Chloe Templeton on Still Got Me ‘Star’ took top honours, executing the perfect game plan. Aware that no rider before her had jumped clear, Chloe aimed to keep the round ‘fast and tight’ – the plan paid off with Chloe securing the only clear round of the class.
It was great to see the relationship and bond that Chloe and Star have built up over the past three years together, all cumulating in the win here. The combination already had qualification for HOYS in the bag after finishing 3rd in the Foxhunter class at Arena UK earlier in the year. The list of accolades the two have amassed throughout the season is extremely impressive and it will be exciting to see what they can go on to achieve at HOYS in a mere two months’ time. Where has the time gone?
The day saw incredible top-class sport, with more than deserving winners prevailing in highly competitive classes. Danielle Westlake took the Pony Bronze League 148cm & under on Caramel Twist whilst Talia Da’Prato and Right Proper Charlie were crowned champions of the pony restricted rider 1.10m Championship. Olivia Francis and Dawn triumphed in the Just for Schools 1.00m individual Championship final, with Charley and Castlebaldwin Golden Arrow claiming the Just for Schools Individual Championships 1.10m Championship final. Jenna Good and Western King completed the action for the day winning the Pony Discovery Championship final 1.05m. What a day, what champions!!
Today saw not only breath-taking athleticism, but it also provided the perfect opportunity for me to suss out the trade stands….hmmm once again I can see me leaving with my purse far lighter than when I arrived – oh well! I was fortunate enough to chat with some of the people working on the trade stands. My attention was caught by the ‘Sale’ signs outside the Animo stand, and Lizzie took me through the products that they have on offer, detailing their ‘Summer sale’ with 10-30% off everything! For the first time ever everything is in their summer sale – so if you are down at the BSNC this weekend don’t miss out on this great offer.
Now… to the Foxdenton Gin stand… well it would be rude not to sample the products on offer – right? All I can say is their lemon & cucumber gin is to die for.
After tearing myself away from the gin stand it was great to have a chat with Lauren at Carr & Day & Martin, she took me through many of the products they have on sale and the benefits of each one – she was incredibly informative and their stand is beautifully set out.
It is my mission over the next few days to speak to as many people as possible, from competitors and those working on trade stands to the arena party and volunteers – everyone is so welcoming and their contribution is invaluable to the success of the show.
Phew – what a first day! Last year I had to leave midday on the Friday to make it back up the road in time for my sister’s wedding. Therefore I am extremely excited to be down at the BSNC and Stoneleigh Horse Show all weekend – checking out HOYS qualifiers and hearing the inspirational stories as riders bid to make it to HOYS in this incredibly special 70th anniversary year.