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Busy times ahead for Billy Bank

Top of the Morning to You,

And what a busy month it has been with such a variety of activities. The Young Master and I have both been somewhat in the wars but I am pleased to report we are both fully functioning now!

April kicked off with our first BE run of the season with the 100 at Breckenborough. The Young Master was not on top form full of cold with swollen glands and at one point in a previous training session had been forced to cut it short due to a coughing fit. 'He who has to be obeyed' had made a joke about never mind showing my passport at the event but was The Young Master going to pass the vet and it was a good job riders weren't sent home for having a runny nose. I think it was fair to say The Old Girl was more than slightly concerned particularly in view of the fact she wasn't going to the event and had entrusted one of her friends, Tinkerbelle, with the task of taking us.

Tinkerbelle is great fun, we love her and the positivity she radiates a breath of fresh air even when the darkest clouds are looming. "Don't worry, I'll look after them," she chirped, waving airily goodbye to an anxious looking Old Girl, before roaring off in a cloud of dust as Tinkerbelle is always running late.

Everything seemed to be running smoothly, we arrived in plenty of time and the dressage warm up was relaxed until someone was bucked off and a loose horse galloped through the arenas! "You can tell its early season", muttered The Young Master probably thankful it wasn't him hobbling across the field in pursuit. Our test was going great, nose in the right place, hocks well underneath me when the judge flung open the car door announcing our circle was in the wrong place. Whoops..."Never mind," enthused Tinkerbelle afterwards "It was a perfect shape, and the medium trot was amazing". I saw The Young Master's eyebrows raise and read his mind, 'Medium trot wasn't actually required today'.

Annoyingly we had a fence down in the show jumping but The Young Master was complaining of a headache and drinking so much water it was amazing he didn't need to stop for the toilet on the way round.

Finally onto the cross country, my favourite discipline, and I was on a mission. We were still in a competitive position. We were flying, boy it felt good to have turf under my feet. After the penultimate fence The Young Master completely took his foot off the throttle and we hack cantered home popping the last fence and quietly crossing the finish line clear. I was still full of running dancing sideways back to the lorry with Tinkerbelle gamely hanging on. "Fibre-Beet gives him plenty of energy, doesn't it? He's barely sweating too". Tinkerbelle has never been frightened to state the obvious and while The Young Master washed me off and iced my legs she continued to endear herself to me further by telling me how handsome I am. "I think you'll get a place," she predicted, "You were awesome." I knew we were going to get stung with time penalties...what had The Young Master been thinking of? I later heard him admit he had misread his watch and slowed down significantly. "Always another day ," said Tinkerbelle, The Old Girl wholeheartedly agreeing with her sentiment, the relief only to apparent when she came to collect us later that night. The Young Master took to his bed with a raging temperature and I took to mine with a welcoming feed of Fibre-Beet and carrots. The Old Girl thanked me for taking care of The Young Master and being so generous in spirit. I wondered if The Legend was being so kind to Minnie Me as they were away with Fancy Piece and Minnie Haha at the schools show jumping champs.

I didn't have to wait long for the updates as the bush telegraph started to beat and it came through Fancy Piece had been placed in the warm up class and then finished 10th in The Grand Prix. The Legend had once again decided to teach his young jockey a lesson in how to deal with disappointment by jumping one super clear round only to be followed by a round where he took exception to a couple of fences. The following day Minnie Me upped his game and told The Legend how it was going to be and they finished 11th in a competitive class full of much older children and younger ponies probably (don't tell him I said that).

It was all systems go for a week of pony club fun which started with an Easter Egg Hunt, egg rolling proceeded with tack cleaning. There was a flat work rally, followed by cross country schooling with speed training and some show jumping thrown in as well. Add into the mix another session with "He who must be obeyed" and you can see what I mean about it being a busy time. The lack of rain was giving The Old Girl cause for concern and after a round of show jumping we would all rather not mention Karina with the healing hands was summoned.

Never did her touch feel so welcome or the stretching exercises so good. Once again The Old Girl felt dreadful when the words "Very sore and jarred” were bandied about. Oh yes I know how to pull on the heart strings to get some extra Fibre-Beet for tea.

So while I was having an easy time up it with my feet up reading Horse & Hound, The Young Master went to help younger pony club members at the final competition held at Port Royal in the show jumping series. With the York & Ainsty South Branch in the lead he was keen to keep the advantage as the first prize was a free rally using the fantastic facilities there. And what a great victory it was with the Branch members all delivering the goods. Team work really does make the dream work. I can't wait to be at the rally.

More excitement and success followed when The Woldgate School team ventured into the world of eventing. With two team members making eventing debuts The Old Girl was delighted when the girls qualified for the final to be held at Stonar School in Wiltshire later this year. That really rounded off a busy month well. May looks like it will be just as busy, thank goodness we have had some rain!

Keep eating Fibre-Beet, your energy needs it will meet, your coat will shine, you'll feel fine when you remember Billy's rhyme!

Keep smiling
Billy Bank x