Top of the morning to you, and what a wet one it is too! The weather in our neck of the woods has thrown everything at us recently. Snow, wind, rain and hail with the occasional glimpse of the sun but that has been, as the Romans used to say, "when a mule foals".
The Old Girl, who by her own admission hates the cold, had a complete tantrum in the yard when the wind was so strong she couldn't unwind the haylage from a round bale. The red down filled coat, bought for arctic conditions, has never seen so much use.
We said goodbye to The Ginger Ninja, who has gone off to live in Bronte country with her new owner Mya. We hope they have a great new partnership with lots of fun and success. Another short stay visitor, Little Big Man as I christened him also quickly found a new home. He has headed off down South to a very well-known racing yard, where no doubt he is giving the real racehorses a run for their money. Good luck Toby we look forward to hearing about your adventures.
Despite the weather we have still managed to get out and have some fun. The Young Master and other pony club team mates took part in the Blue Cross Horse and Pony Care competition, representing the York and Ainsty South Pony Club. And very well they did too. The mini team won their group section, the juniors were second and the seniors also came second. Clearly the training wasn't just a pizza eating contest and they all learnt something. The Pony Club certainly does give a good grounding in all aspects of horsemanship.
We had a trip to Port Royal to do some British show jumping recently where the world and his wife seemed to have turned up. It must have been a rare day where it didn't rain! We posted a very speedy double clear but with the competition so hot just missed out on the money. We were back there again a fortnight later to take part in the pony club area show jumping winter final. This competition had already been postponed once due to poor weather conditions and the hosts, Middleton East Pony Club, were hoping for a fine day.
The weather was not great, cold and wet, but the show ran like clockwork. The team at Port Royal pulled out all the stops to ensure the pony club children had a great contest. Fancy Piece piloted by our number one junior rider Lucy Jones, had a great result in her first competition back on Yorkshire soil with 3rd place in the 70cm and 6th in the 80cm. Younger sister Hannah had a 5th with her new pony Spirit so I could see I would have to step up and produce the goods or these young pretenders would be getting far too much attention.
A steady clear in the first qualifier took us into the jump off where the Young Master rode some unbelievable turns to post the fastest time. Sadly we had the last fence down but it was good enough to secure a place at the National final at Addington Manor in a fortnight. We also took part in the Grand Prix qualifier which started at a metre ten. Due to the number of cancelled shows this was the first time this year we have competed at this height. I relished the challenge and sailed round clear in the first round. With only one other clear round there was a jump off. Sensibly the Young Master didn't try any tight turns and we posted another clear. The Old Girl was delighted, ripping open packets of polos galore. We had to settle for second place, pipped by another York and Ainsty South member who we have served on many teams with, so that was ok we don't mind keeping it in the family. Of course this meant we qualified for the Grand Prix final too but rules dictate you cannot jump both classes at the Nationals. Much as we would have jumped the bigger track at Addington the Young Master is on a football course (Excuse me while I snort in disgust) which means we will have to take part in the other class instead. It was a great competition last year and I can't wait...
The Easter holidays still have more fun to bring. A pony club rally, thankfully indoors at Askham Bryan and a belated egg hunt where I shall be escorting children round the route. Heaven knows when our first event will be, but in the meantime I am eating plenty of Fibre-Beet to give me slow release energy so I will be ready if and when it ever dries up enough for some cross country schooling...
Billy Bank x