What an incredible week we were treated to at Horse of the Year Show 2018. A perfect celebration of 70 years of this world famous horse show. A week jam-packed full of equestrian entertainment at its best with a wonderful display of talent.
It has taken a few days to even begin to digest everything, but what an unbelievable week we just had at HOYS. We had the most unforgettable time, and everyone was certainly in the party atmosphere.
It was a real privilege to be one of the displays performaing at HOYS this year and I hope you all enjoyed it. We travelled down with three of our club horses along with seven vaulters and throughout the duration of the week we made the most amazing memories together. It was a brilliant opportunity to bring us all back together again whilst also highlighting the fresh young talent in our club.
There is one thing that always makes HOYS unique and in a league of its own – the crowd! The atmosphere throughout the whole show was electric. Whether you were in the Andrews Bowen International Arena where we were performing or at the Top Spec Arena where audiences were treated to a whole array of Showing classes – there was a definite buzz in the air.
Personally, there is no feeling like it when you are stood behind the famous curtains waiting for them to open and to commence your display. It was an honour to once again show the sport we love so much to the enthusiastic HOYS crowd throughout the week.
I could not have been more proud of the three horses we took down to HOYS; Henry, Tyke and Jack – they were all fantastic. I have to give a special mention to Jack though, he was the only horse that had never been to HOYS before and he was given the biggest responsibility – carrying our senior team freestyle – and what an incredible job he did. This year has marked a huge jump in his development. We got him at the start of 2015 and he came on really quickly in the sport. But this year has seen him win multiple ‘Best Horse’ accolades at CVI’s throughout the year and saw him awarded the highest average horse score at the FEI Junior Europeans. He took the lights, atmosphere and music of HOYS completely in his stride and it was further evidence of his massive improvement.
We are just so proud of what our horses managed to achieve throughout the duration of the show; being the perfect teammates and giving us so much confidence to perform both our Cuban and Futuristic routines with conviction.
If there was one standout performance – can anything match the atmosphere of Saturday night at the Horse of the Year Show? The whole evening, from beginning to end, was a fantastic celebration of equestrianism. Below are some of our standout HOYS moments from 2018:
- The Household Cavalry, night after night, evoked so much passion and emotion – wholly deserving of their standing ovation. The tradition, prestige and sheer spectacle of the display was a real sight to behold. Personally, what made the performance even more special to me was having the opportunity to visit their barracks in Hyde Park earlier in the year and watch their rehearsal for the Queen’s birthday celebrations.
- The great camaraderie between the displays who perform at HOYS. Everyone is so supportive, wishing each other all the best and sharing daily updates on how performances have gone. It is brilliant to meet so many new people, and whilst our displays may be very different, we all shared in the celebration together and love nothing more than to watch and support each other.
- On Saturday evening I was honoured to present the trophy to the winner of the Accumulator Showjumping class – Geoffroy De Coligny which was an unforgettable experience.
- Saturday night and the PUISSANCE!!! Whilst we commonly say how incredible Saturday night at Horse of the Year Show is, this year was the next level. The climax to the night – The Puissance – was the most competitive, most electric puissance I have ever witnessed. The sheer bravery, talent and athleticism was set to the backdrop of the most enthusiastic of equestrian audiences. Congratulations to all competitors who put on such an incredible competition but notable mention must go to winners Alfie Bradstock and Guy Williams– who cleared over a staggering 7 foot – WOW. The two riders took joint top honours on their stunning greys – Alfie on D’Or, and Guy aboard Mr Blue Sky UK.
- The Pony Club Mounted Game Prince Philip Cup – congratulations must go to the West Hants who won the Prince Philip Cup at HOYS this year. The competition was rife, and once again the Pony Cup Mounted Games captivated thousands of people throughout the duration of the show with their unparalleled skill.
- It was brilliant to spend time at the press office at HOYS and I love the buzz, atmosphere and team spirit. I was also very fortunate on Thursday to attend the press lunch, it was great to meet and catch up with both new and old friends from various publications. The press lunch is hosted in hospitality at HOYS, which is an amazing experience in itself. The food was exquisite, the entertainment thrilling and the company was just brilliant. It’s definitely worth treating yourself to one year.
- One of my favourite new experiences at HOYS this year was having some ‘Behind the Scenes’ backstage tours come round and visit us at the stables. My horses loved the attention and the treats people brought for them. Jack was given his favourite thing – a banana – which set him up for his great performances.
- Our two sessions on the LiveZone was another highlight! The Live Zone was a new addition to the retail village at HOYS last year and this year we were fortunate enough to do two talks there – a Q&A on Saturday and we brought our moving barrel ‘Gordon’ down for a demonstration on vaulting on the Sunday. It was great to see the turnout, over 180 people came to watch our demonstration on Sunday and we were thrilled to share more information on the sport which has brought us all so much joy.
That’s a wrap!
There is one word that perfectly highlights HOYS 2018 for me – teamwork – whether it is the work of the Grandstand Media team in putting together this exceptional show, or the teamwork shown by competitors or teammates in the Show – it has been at the heart of the success of HOYS 2018. To see it all come together has been incredible and throughout the process we have created memories which will last a lifetime. That for me is what HOYS is all about: #HOYS2018 – complete! See you next year 2nd – 6th October 2019.