All go for Billy Bank and the gang

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Top of the morning to you,
And it’s been a grand month for sure full of lots of action and fun times, kicking off with the Pony Club Area 3 Junior Showjumping competition held at Port Royal. The Young Master, too old to be classed as a junior these days, was assisting The Old Girl who had her hands full with three teams from The York & Ainsty South branch.
The Irish coloured contingency really flew the flag for the stable with double clears from The Legend, naturally, although piloted by yet another different jockey, Glamour Girl, in her pony club team debut. Fancy Piece who decided she was rather fed up with being the bridesmaid made her mark by taking top honours with Minnie Haha.
What a day it was with not only the win individually for Minnie Haha but the YAS teams taking the first and second spots. In fact it was almost a clean sweep with the first five individual placing’s being taken by YAS members. The sun, stars and moon were all aligned for the youngsters oh to be sure.
The following weekend I travelled to Bramham Horse Trials to take part in the Arena Eventing. I had a huge support group of YAS PC junior members travelling with me only too happy to oil my feet, brush my tail and generally cater to my every need.
The time was tight on the course, and when the legendary ‘Flying Scott’ clocked up quite a few times penalties, I could see we would have to motor on to stand any chance. Rather annoyingly, but quite correctly, The Young Master tried to set me up for The Joker fence at the end of the course but being a bit too cocky I decided to ignore him and I knocked it down! This resulted in not only missing out on a prize, but a session with ‘He who must be obeyed’ who deemed a bit change was necessary and maybe even a different nose band.
Glamour Girl and Minnie Haha had a trip to Northumberland to Alnwick Ford where the gang bumped into another face from the past, none other than Blyth Tait, who has turned his hand to course designing. Now Blyth and I go back a long way and it is a little known fact that first time The Young Master and I met was indeed at a clinic run by The New Zealand Ace. The Old Girl had organised the party and was beside herself with disappointment when The Young Master’s current horse had gone lame. The Honourable Irishman, one of her many cronies, who had brought me over from the Emerald Isle said fear not I have a horse you can borrow for the day.
Now it’s fair to say I was slightly feral, had no brakes or steering and wasn’t too keen about being mounted and despite almost mowing Mr T down at one point when I tried to run past a skinny, I must have done something right as The Old Girl took me home and said firmly ‘This one’s staying put.’
Glamour Girl made nothing of the 80 track, cruising home a little too easily inside the time to pick up a couple of reverse time faults. With her good dressage and clear round show jumping it was good enough for 5th place and a huge orange rosette and a very smiley jockey.
Our last event of June was an epic trip to the Fernie PC ODE at Rolleston. The well-built course and good organisation makes it a firm favourite and three lorries left Yorkshire with YAS members determined to have a good time none more so than ‘Sprout’ the latest recruit to the family Ireland, who at aged eight was likely to be one of the youngest competing the following day.
The humans set up base camp at Julia Rattrays whereas always we were given wonderful hospitality. It was great to come off the lorry and have a cooling shower before settling down for a peaceful evening, with a bit of chat to Glamour Girl about the benefits of eating hydrating Fibre-Beet, particularly when the temperatures are soaring.
With dressage kicking off at 7.30am we didn’t get much of a lie in and at 8.15 in an arena unbelievably running ahead of schedule I trotted down the centre line in a new bit and nose band, without so much as a whiff of a leprechaun , to produce a much improved performance and score. This was followed up with a clear round in the show jumping and a cracking cross country round to finish 5th in a competitive 100.  
Sprout went rather quiet as her dressage loomed but remembered the test even though the circle dimensions left a bit to be desired, Glamour Girl also suffered due to her jockey riding some rather odd shapes and Minnie Haha could also do with some geometry lessons.
Tinkerbelle, despite her son being ill, had brought her pony and without much persuading had Minnie Haha riding. It was all systems go as the show jumping swiftly followed, then a quick change of gear and onto the cross country. Double clears for Sprout and Minnie Haha, on Glamour Girl, put them into 5th and 3rd respectively. They don’t call us the raiders from the North for nothing!
It was a great trip but I was relieved to return home and enjoy a refreshing feed of Fibre-Beet before snuggling down for a well-earned rest.
July will be another busy month with Pony Club Area qualifiers and of course pony club camp, the highlight of the year. I can’t wait.
Have a great summer holidays everyone and keep up the consumption of Fibre-Beet to stay hydrated.
Keep smiling
Billy Bank xx