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Billy Bank's June 2018 Update

Top of the morning to you, and the earlier the better I say as the heat wave continues. It has to be said I don't really do hot, what with being stout of stature, my barrel shaped body traps the heat and in times like this I envy my Thoroughbred cousins who waft the heat away with their long limbs and flat, radiator type rib cages. The Old Girl does a good job though making sure I am well hydrated with plenty of sloppy Fibre-Beet and extra electrolytes.

June has been a month of Pony Club Team competitions kicking off with a trip to Bramham. It is a great event on Yorkshire turf and the Young Master enjoyed catching up with everyone from the British Horse Feed team and watching some of the action over the sponsored fence before we jumped.

This year’s Pony Club show jumping proved to be a very challenging track which caused numerous problems. The York & Ainsty South team had plenty of experience behind them but we all faulted, however as the competition progressed we began to hope we might sneak into the placings. It was nail biting stuff but we finished in 6th place and received a beautiful purple rosette.

The Legend went off the following day to a PC ODE, run by the Scunthorpe PC Branch, muttering about how he hated dressage. Somehow he always manages to upstage me and returned later that day full of glee of how it was lucky he could read numbers (there is no end to his talents) as his young jockey had been convinced she had gone the wrong way on the XC. Of course he jumped a double clear and did a passable test to finish in 4th place! Loren was ecstatic to receive a rosette at her eventing debut. He also told me the Young Master did one of his very first events there riding him before the invention of mobile phones and I should be grateful he had trained him so well!! "Mind you", he added before tucking into his bucket of Fibre-Beet, "we only came 5th that day"!

Now I love the Legend dearly, he is great company and has many a witty tale to recount about his exploits with the Young Master back in the day but this had to stop I mean if I wasn't careful my blogging days could be over and he'd be doing that job as well. I was going to have to up my game.

With this in mind I went to the Pony Club Open Area show jumping competition in determined mode. The Young Master and I were jolly well going to qualify for the championships in Cheshire come hell or high water. The Holderness Branch were hosting the competition at Bishop Burton, which is our local venue.

Despite an early start, the day was already hotting up and the Old Girl was in the collecting ring with a bucket of water and sponge ready to cool me down after the first round. I had been clipped again, newly shod and a recent physio session with Karina had me prepared. With only three in our team it was vital we all got round. Watching the first few rounds, where no one managed a clear round it was obvious it was a stiff track. Boy were the Leprechauns out popping into the collecting ring to smite me but the Old Girl was there reassuring us we could do it.

The team were amazing, with all three of us jumping clear in the first round meaning we took a zero score forward to the second round. The fences went up, a triple and water tray went in, it was even tougher. The pressure was seriously mounting and the heat was killing me. I had just about recovered when I was called to jump again. Everything was going great until the first double, I just couldn't make it. We came to it again, this time on a better stride and we flew over. Then the triple which had claimed a few scalps, it was massive, I waived. The Young Master picked me up, I couldn't let him down and we got through. Two fences left and we were home.

Our last team member jumped an impressive clear round sealing our team ticket to the Championships and an individual win for her. I was so happy for Bacardi and his jockey Charlotte another YAS member who works for British Horse feeds sponsored rider James Somerville. What a morning, not only did we win the jumping but the tack and turnout competition too. Fantastic rosettes and sashes as well, thank you Holderness so much.

The York & Ainsty South PC continued their winning form when the intermediate team later won their class too. Two big silver trophies, our DC Gill Chivers was made up, we wondered whether the juniors could make it a hat trick???

The Legend and Loren were determined to give it their best shot. Riding like her life depended on it Loren stoked the old boy up, and with a turn of hoof we had forgotten he had, he flew round posting the fastest double clear of the day. Fibre-Beet gives you fleet of foot for sure. Our other team Ireland jockey, Lucy Jones, had a steady round on Fancy Piece and Princess Bubbles (another previous ride of the Young Master) with new rider Emily put another clear in the bag to ensure the team finished on zero. Only the hosts had managed to match this so it was an agonising wait to see who would lift the final trophy...

It would make a fairy tale ending to say the YAS took all three classes, and while we all know Leprechauns really do exist, it wasn't to be and the Holderness juniors were faster and had a well-deserved win with YAS in second place. But what a day... when I reach Legend status I will fondly recount to the new kid on the block all the exploits we achieved fuelled of course by Fibre-Beet.

Next mission to try and qualify for the eventing and dressage....

Keep smiling everyone!
Billy Bank

*Photos by La Scala Studio