Nooitie day was, as usual, complete and utter chaos. This was no fault of the organisers – they had done a fantastic job of keeping things doable for all the riders. We had a class every 20-35 minutes like clockwork, so we were hectic but managed to get where we had to be on time and warmed up.
Liana had a MUCH better show than Pre-HOY, thanks to a bitting change and a valiant effort by her little person, and the two of them put in good, relaxed efforts in hand and show riding. Ana fluffed her leads in the ridden class so they didn’t place, but I’m so proud of their progress.
Poor K was running around turning out everyone else’s horse all day, but she still managed to turn Renè out beautifully. Renè was a superstar all the way through. Although she didn’t place in hand (losing condition from fussing in the stable all week didn’t help), she won the novice show hunter, and placed third in a big working riding class.
Vastrap’s kid couldn’t make it to HOY, but Rain stepped in and showed him beautifully in hand to supreme champion partbred gelding. We took him back on supremes day, and though he didn’t make it into the top ten, it was pretty incredible to see our little white pony standing amongst all those top geldings.
My threesome were also very good, barring one very bad moment from Midas. He was as usual shouting his head off because his girlfriends hadn’t come with him (Vastrap apparently was not good enough), and while I was tightening my girth (mounted), he decided he’d have a tiny rear. Ever tried to sit even a tiny rear with one leg hooked over the saddle flap? I almost pulled him over on top of me. A hurried semi-intentional dismount, good hiding for Midas, and girth-pulling from the ground later, I got back on and he proceeded to be very good for the rest of the show. A few whinnies but considerably less than before the aforementioned goodly hiding. Only one cure for boys that think too much of themselves, I’m afraid!
He did his individual show beautifully and got most of his leads, so I was really happy with how he went in the end. He won the sport horses in hand and didn’t place under saddle.
Sunè was amazing. Really – for a first ridden outing, she knocked it out of the park. We hacked the long way from the stables to the show arena alone and she only gave one tiny whinny when she saw Renè in the warmup (watch and learn, Midas). Despite having had the week off at home, she was calm and collected the whole day. She did fluff her leads properly in the show hack, but in the working riding she took everything in her stride. I’m really impressed with how quiet she was about the obstacles, including a scary covered lane. She even trotted over the jump.
Arwen was also on her game and ready to impress. After a week in a stable she was a tiny bit fizzy, but she handled it well, and dragoned merrily around her show hack class without missing a beat. She did lean on my hands a bit, contributing to our not getting a very good placing. Working riding was even better and it was a challenging test, including cantering over a covered lane and cantering a figure eight with a simple change one-handed (carrying a basket). Arwen rocked that simple change through walk, basket and all, and launched onto the covered lane with a little more enthusiasm than we actually required. Regrettably, she also completely forgot how to stand still. She’d stop all right, but I had to scoop the basket off the barrel while my dragon piaffed merrily. This meant we didn’t get to go to supremes for working riding, which is a pity because I think she could have placed if she’d just stand still.
Working hunter unleashed her inner dragon fully and she devoured the course and galloped beautifully, so this time the judge did let us go to supremes. We shipped her over on the Sunday and just had the best time ever. She was horrific to plait and we picked an argument about that, but once the hair was done and I was in the tack, all was forgiven and she was just beyond amazing to ride. She felt bouncy and fresh despite her long week, but manageable, focused and filled with that enthusiasm only Arwie has.
We warmed up over 90cm fences and went in blowing smoke and snorting defiance at anyone who dared point out that, actually, she is far more of a hack than a hunter, chips at most fences and just madly flaps her little legs instead of really galloping. We jumped the 80cm fences and she was game for everything and such a joy to ride. Obviously, we didn’t place, but it was incredible.
God is with us. Glory to the King.