April has been a very productive month for us. All the show horses' coats have really started to come through now and they have enjoyed a bit more field time with the lovely weather we have had, although the end of the month felt like Winter again. We have literally gone from no rugs and fly sheets back to heavyweight rugs!
We have been concentrating on fitness, doing lots of hacking out and cantering in the fields, mixed with some schooling sessions. The baby horses have been out to shows to ride around for valuable experience of going on the lorry and working away from home at a show environment. We are very lucky that all of the horses we have are laid back.
We were thrilled that Max (The Ringmaster), the Sankey family's novice Maxi Cob had some wonderful coverage in both the Horse and Hound and The Showing Journal magazines, after winning novice champion at his first show at Keysoe. He has a fabulous temperament and is taking to life as a show horse like a duck to water.
Unfortunately this month we had to say goodbye to our old dog Frank. He was a rescue from the RSPCA and sadly old age caught up with him and we had to make a very difficult decision.
However, we were cheered up by our son Luke while he was off school for Easter. He has helped us on the yard mucking out and riding his pony Harry and he certainly kept everyone on their toes and amused! Luke actually got his first picture in the Horse and Hound with his pony and a little write up about the benefits of children riding. He couldn't wait to show everyone at school.
On the 16th April we competed at BSHA Northern Spring Show at Bold Heath Equestrian Centre in Warrington, Cheshire. Victoria Buckland, fresh from her win at Keysoe last month where she collected her open Royal International Qualifying ticket on Maxi Cob, Cobswallop (Boysie), won a strong Amateur cob class and then went on to take the championship. They both were fantastic and are really making their mark this season.
We also took Heather Clay's new novice Lightweight Cob, Goldsmark (Cookie) to do his first ever show. He took everything in his stride and was completely unfazed. What a little star! And we took the novice coloured lightweight cob Churchtown Minstrel to have a ride round the show ground.
On the 23rd April we went to BSPS Area 5 Three Shires Show at Arena UK Grantham. Morrows Marksman (Bentley) had his first outing of the season here and he went beautifully to win the Royal International Qualifying Heavyweight Cob class and he also stood cob champion. Bentley is a previous winner of The Royal International and is owned by Clare Trebble. He's a real character and a proper showman! We also took some young cobs for the experience and they were very well behaved and enjoyed a little outing.
Our next big show will be Royal Windsor, which we are prepping for at the moment and we are all very excited to be competing here....
Catch up next month,
Simon and Natalie