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Which way to the beach?

Top of the Morning to you,

And it's a glorious one at that. February has been a busy and successful time for us all at Team Ireland, although the start of the month saw the nation worried sick by the equine influenza outbreaks which did impact slightly on some of the competitions lined up for The Legend. He was due to go to a schools arena eventing qualifier for Hickstead but due to the number of competitors who withdrew as their ponies hadn't been vaccinated it was postponed. Very frustrating for the organisers and all the people who had read the rules and had their paperwork in order. Unthwarted he re-routed to a BS show at Stainsby Grange, jumped a double clear and won the class qualifying for National Finals later on in the year.

I love my friend The Legend dearly and no one is happier he is enjoying himself with his little jockey, Zachary Farnsworth AKA Minnie Me, but this was the fifth time on the trot he had returned with a red rosette so I thought I had better up my game or he'd be writing this blog next month (he can't spell though, just for the record).
 
Off to Port Royal for dressage, the first time out since the tooth extraction, and I put my best foot forward to win a class. Finally, a red rosette for trundling round with my nose in the right place and no explosions in canter left. The Old Girl was beside herself and what does the Young Master do? Trades the rosette in at the café for a can of coke! Well, honestly! He did at least bring me some polo’s.

The flu debate continued to rage with venues imposing six month booster restrictions and passports being scrutinized. The Old Girl is pretty hot on all that jazz so we were ok but some of our friends had to stay at home until the Vets had been.

We have visited "He who must be obeyed" for two very early morning lessons which I love as it means I can go back to bed later unlike the humans who have to go to work. And after working hard on my canter, for sure I need a lie down, I can tell you!

Our next outing was Port Royal again, this time for Show Jumping and I had the company of Tight Spot who is visiting while his owners hurtle down a mountain on two sticks (and folk think riding is a risk sport). We passed the border control and Spot was tacked up first for Minnie Hehe, sister of Minnie HaHa, who are sharing him. Blow me away, didn't the lad just go and win not one but TWO classes and posted the fastest jump off time of the day. Rest assured those red rosettes weren't traded drinks.

"What are you feeding that pony?" asked one spectator, aghast at the speed Spotty had nipped round. "Fibre-Beet of course" answered the Old Girl, "Energy without the fizz".

Finally it was my turn and it felt good to be jumping again. "Just go steady," said the Old Girl. The Young Master and I both nodded having absolutely no intention of taking her advice. To be fair we didn't do any silly turns but we fair zipped round the jump off section. Good enough for second place against some seasoned competitors and points on the board for the York & Ainsty South Pony Club.
Blue was taking part in the winter league qualifier and posted a super double clear to take fifth place which we later found out has qualified him for the Area final at Bishop Burton later next month. Some good riding, some good results and a lot of fun!

And more fun was on the cards with a trip to Somerford Park for some much needed cross country schooling. The tooth extraction has meant my eventing start has been put back a month and having not done any cross country since Askham Bryan last year we needed to get our eye in. Only it didn't happen. Rain stopped play and the Somerford team rang the Old Girl to say the ground was too wet and the forecast poor. To say there were some disappointed children and horses was an understatement but with the sun shining in Yorkshire we headed to the beach.

What a fabulous time we had, cantering through the shallows and zooming up and down the sand on the best possible going ever.

March looks like it’s going to be a busy month with lots of exciting things planned, The Legend, typically, has a championship to head to and the Young Master and his friends have The Pony Club Area Quiz and Horse Care Competition looming. I will be training, early doors, and competing in some BS shows and eating lots of Fibre-Beet to fuel my ambitions.

Let's hope the weather stays kind to us!

Love Billy Bank xx