In July I have been busy meeting some of the lucky Pony Club competitors who have qualified to compete at HOYS as well as meeting the ‘bagrock’ band, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who will be this year’s finale act in the gala evening on the Sunday night. It’s great to hear how excited everyone is about coming to HOYS in October.
Eglinton Hunt on their way to HOYS…..
I had the best time at the Just Chaps Northern Zone Qualifier for Pony Club Mounted Games recently where teams battled it out for the chance to compete at HOYS in the Prince Philip Cup Final. The pressure was on with the top team being guaranteed one of the six elusive spots at HOYS this year. Whilst there is always an array of fantastic equestrianism to watch at HOYS – Pony Club Mounted Games is by far one of my favourites – the speed, the atmosphere, the way you go round every bend and baton change with the competitors – it is amazing, simply unmatched. I have huge respect for these young riders, their ponies and the dedicated support teams that help them compete at this level.
I always find myself in awe of the great team spirit there is within the Pony Club. Not only within their own teams but throughout the Pony Club as a whole. Whether a team is successful or not, they always look like they are having the best time supporting their fellow competitors over the line. The speed that those ponies go at is crazy!
I was lucky enough to take one of my best friends, Jenny with me to the qualifier – she competed in Pony Club Mounted Games for many years as part of Fife Hunt Pony Club and loved has great memories from it. She was telling me which races had stayed the same, what changes have come in and it was nice to hear how she is still in contact with the people who were on her team.
After an extremely close competition, the Eglinton Hunt came away with the win. It was amazing to watch their reaction and see the emotion when they found out they had done it. A team that are no strangers to HOYS, having competed at the event many times in the past – it will be great to watch them at HOYS again this year. I had a chance to catch up with the winning team and coach Marie who told me how proud she was of the girls and how much they had grown as a team over the past year.
Rocking at Newport Show
I was lucky enough – alongside the HOYS team – to visit Newport Show a couple of weeks ago to see the Red Hot Chilli Pipers in action and boy do they know how to get a crowd going! The Red Hot Chilli Pipers will be the finale act at HOYS this year and I was excited to get a taster of what to expect from this year’s big finale. I had heard a lot of raving reviews from friends and family about the ‘bagrock’ band in the past but I had never had the opportunity to see them live – to say I was excited would be an understatement!
Their set surpassed all my expectations, the song choices were fantastic with a good mix between original songs and famous pop songs with a ‘bagrock’ twist. My favourite thing was how the band looked as though they were having an absolute blast performing together and I also liked how they had some choreographed dance moves whilst amazing the audience with their incredible musical skills. I absolutely love pipes and drums and have fond memories of the pipe band practising as we made our way into school in the morning. However, Willie from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers informed me that their unique style is ‘bagrock’ and the mix of the pipes & drums with a drum kit and electric guitars takes the experience to a whole new level.
The whole production, every detail even to the lights is an absolute spectacle which left me so excited to see them perform in October with the HOYS audience cheering them on. Willie let me into some secrets about what they have planned for HOYS including dancers to add to the overall performance. He told me that he believes they will put on the best finale that HOYS has ever seen – get ready, I think we could be in for a treat!
A trip overseas
Things have been very busy for me in the vaulting world too recently. I was extremely lucky to be asked to go and coach at a camp in Demark at the start of the month. I love going to different countries to coach, it is great to meet vaulters and coaches from all over the world and share knowledge. As I was also coaching at this camp last year it was great to see improvement in many of the vaulters who attended and a number of them are selected for the Junior World Championships and Senior European Championships this summer which will be great to watch.
On the subject of our World and European Championships I am extremely proud to say that Kerri Brylka from my club has been selected for the Junior World Championships on our horse Tylers Kernel. Kerri is extremely dedicated and hard working. This is her second year selected as an individual vaulter for GB and at the age of 15 she is still extremely young. She cemented her selection by winning the female junior class at the recent CVI held in Rugby – unbelievably proud. Rebecca Norval will join Kerri and compete at the European Senior Championships this summer – Rebecca’s improvement this year has been vast and this is Rebecca’s first year selected as a senior individual.
Rather last minute, and as a space was available, it was decided that Rebecca would team up with Lisa Mercer and try to put together a Pas de Deux. They pulled it together and with their ‘Wizard of Oz’ routine, not only won the CVI in Rugby, but secured a spot on Team GB at the Europeans this summer in Pas de deux. Not only are they both great vaulters but they give so much back to our club as both coaches and lungers.
Over the next couple of months I will be counting down to HOYS and meeting some more displays and competitors who will be coming to HOYS this year. Follow my blog for more behind the scenes info on qualifiers, displays and much more!