Top of the Morning to you,
March has been a funny month full of weather extremes. The Young Master and I have been training hard with "He who must be obeyed" in every condition imaginable, pouring rain, hot sun, hail and howling gales. No fair weather riders in this yard! We finally got to leave the arena and made it onto the cross country course which felt wonderful and our first BE event is looming.
We have been to a couple of BS competitions at Bishop Burton and Port Royal, where the instructions have been to jump nice rounds and no hand brake turns in the jump off section (Very Boring as I do like speed on when given the chance). I think we have kept The Old Girl sweet as there have been plenty of polo’s and extra Fibre-Beet for tea.
While I have been practicing, March has been a busy month of competitions for the Woldgate School Team, trained by The Old Girl who is often assisted by the Young Master too. Fancy Piece and Minnie HaHa kicked off by qualifying for the Show Jumping championships in April with an individual 2nd place early this month. The re-scheduled Arena eventing at Epworth saw the pair finish 2nd individually again and the team take a WIN to qualify for Hickstead in May. There is much excitement in the camp over that proposed trip.
The girls then headed off to Northallerton for a style jumping competition. The Young Master having been a winner there himself, back in the day, on the Legend (who else?) had been able to bestow his knowledge and when the girls finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th individually, all qualifying for Addington, it was clear he had given good advice. "With the ponies fed on Fibre-Beet and trained by Team Ireland, we must be doing something right," said one of the delighted Mother's.
With all these championships on the horizon the school team is organising lots of fund raising - I just hope no one suggests me giving pony rides!!
Other fun has included the Pony Club Area Quiz and Horse &Pony Care competitions. I had heard there had been a lot of pizza and cake eating at the practices, which as I understood it was not actually on the syllabus. Thankfully this did not affect the Horse & Pony Care results in which the teams brought home some hard fought prizes but the Quiz left them stumped. Maybe if there had been a section on pizza topping or fairy cake design the results may have been different! I will say no more… I am thankful that The Young Master, who admittedly could name veteran New Zealand event riders, doesn't have to navigate round Scotland, after all even I know Anglesey is in Wales!!
The Pony Club Winter Show Jumping Area final also took place at Bishop Burton this month. The Young Master and many of his York & Ainsty Pony Club friends battled it out for qualifying places at the final in Addington. Having been to the final the previous two years I wasn't competing this time, standing aside to let Blue have his chance. He rose to the challenge well but couldn't touch the times posted by older, more experienced combinations. It was however a great day for YAS with other members qualifying in the Winter League and Grand Prix.
Blue has now been sold to a new family who will soon be out and about eventing so we wish them well and the luck of the Irish!
No blog would be complete without giving The Legend a mention now would it? He is doing what he does best, teaching a little rider how to actually ride. Minnie Me has had some great results but now The Legend has decided to test his skills a little. Now any pony worth his Fibre-Beet will nip past a skinny if not presented straight which is just what he did at the Riding Club Arena Eventing Champs recently at Aston le Walls. And although we all know The Legend can read numbers, if the jockey thinks 5 comes after 3 well what do they teach in schools these days I ask you? Hard lessons to learn which he taught The Young Master well and we all know why my jockey sits up so straight and tall now don't we? Oh yes The Legend has had a knowing smile on his grey old face recently but I am sure he will soon be back to his winning ways.
Eventing, Easter egg hunts and Pony Club fun beckon in April so check in next month and see what we have been up to. Keep eating the Fibre-Beet for great condition not to mention hydration and keep smiling!
Billy Bank x
Image: The Woldgate School Team