< Prev Next >

Billy Bank's May 2018 Update

Top of the Morning to you, and what a glorious morning it is too!

May has been a fun month here at the yard with so much going on. We headed off to Chatsworth for the Pony Club Team Showjumping, deciding to have an overnight stay. How different the experience was to our last trip away! My stable not only had a proper door but a real roof and not a piece of flapping plastic in sight. Nobody lit a bonfire behind us either and the owners of the yard could not have been more pleasant or helpful. The Old Girl raved about the panoramic views and being only three miles from the Golden Gates. We arrived at Chatsworth well rested and content, fuelled up on Fibre-Beet, ready to do battle.

The younger members of the York & Ainsty South were competing first in an 80cm competition. It was a big occasion for the youngsters but they dug deep and all managed to get round with a few faults each, their nervous pale faces finishing with huge beaming smiles.

The senior team was delivered a massive blow when we received the terrible news our anchor man would not be competing due to a crisis at home with another horse being rushed for colic surgery. It was a morale lowering moment for sure, dampening our spirits as we crossed our hooves for the poorly horse in Yorkshire.

Our DC, Gill Chivers, and the Old Girl had a pow wow and they went to see if one of the 80cms team could jump again. This was not allowed but due to the nature of the competition one of the existing 3 team members could jump twice. I had now been elevated to pathfinder and anchor man... no pressure guys!

The Young Master is pretty good at keeping cool and my mind was occupied by the number of well-wishers we had. While the team waited their turn, ice cream bearing children came up to pat me while the Mothers quizzed the Young Master with all manner of questions... Where are you from? What's your horse called? How long have you had him? What do you feed him on? "Fibre-Beet of course and that's why he looks and performs so well". More pressure now...

Not wanting to brag (well maybe just a little) my round felt foot perfect. The arena turf felt fantastic under my feet and we sailed round to put a clear round in the bag for the team. Things didn't go quite so well for our second rider when her horse pulled off a shoe towards the end of the course. She was rescued by our third rider who took over from where she pulled up before jumping her own round. Before I knew it I was on again. Apart from clipping the first part of a double we were fault free and I was pretty chuffed with myself, dancing sideways all the way back to the warm up. The team finished on 12 faults which didn't put us in the placings but we had a good time and enjoyed ourselves. It's such an experience for Pony Clubbers to compete in such iconic surroundings and then enjoy watching the professionals at work. Roll on Bramham...

The following week I had a visit from saddle fitter Patrick Wilkinson of Beverley. My old saddle had been deemed too tight and thanks to help from one of our sponsors, Fantastic Books Publishing, a new one was on the cards. I was very excited, never having had a new saddle before. We tried a few before settling on the Bates Advanta, which fits like a glove. The Young Master immediately said he could feel every part of my movement under him. No brainer, done deal. With an adjustable gullet I will always have absolute comfort to maximise performance. Good job I jumped a clear round in it at the next BS competition we attended only narrowly missing out on the money as the Young Master temporarily forgot his line in the jump off. To be fair to the lad it was blooming hot so I forgave him.

Finally we had our first eventing run at Bishop Burton in the BE100. Things didn't go quite the way we wanted with a slightly ropey dressage test and an annoying fence down in the show jumping. Those Leprechauns always pop up when you least expect them. With the Old Girl not actually in attendance the phone advice was to give me an easy ride round the XC and save my legs. So we just cruised round, the Young Master in a much better position between the fences I have to say due to the new saddle and me feeling very fit due to all the hacking and cantering, and finished comfortably only clocking up 1.6 time penalties. Can't wait now for our next event!

The Legend, of course, has had to upstage me with his new jockey, Loren. The first competition together they jumped not one but two double clears and qualified for the Pony Club Junior Series Final in September at Bishop Burton in both classes. Then the old boy gets a trip to Hickstead in the NSEA School Team, again delivering the goods. A double clear in the warm up class followed by a clear round in the arena eventing team class helping Woldgate School secure 7th place. He then swanned off for a couple of days at Pony Patrol Camp at Hamley Hagg, up on the Yorkshire Moors. At 21 he should be slowing down, putting his feet up, boring us with his memories of how he dropped the Young Master at the last fence at Pony Premier but no, he tells me he is entered in a Pony Club one day event next weekend after reminding me he was one of the smallest ponies to compete at Bramham in the team show jumping. There is no end to this pony's talent and fuelled by Fibre-Beet and turmeric pellets he just keeps on going, and amazing he looks too... Wonder if I will ever be classed as a Legend...??