Top of the Morning to you,
And I hope you are all staying well? These are troubled times to be sure but if we follow the guidelines hopefully normality will return. March started off with so much promise. Minnie Haha rode me at Port Royal in the Pony Club Dressage series where I won not one class but two with scores of 74%. This was all part of the build up for the under 18's BE competitions in April. Glamour Girl was on board too that day but found it all rather exciting and her usual calm demeanour was absent. She still managed some good scores and picked up a couple of 2nd places. Little Sis was also in attendance and posted the fastest test ever seen, blink and you'd have missed it. No one can deny the pony wasn't going forward… so while we were dazzling everyone with bling browbands and fancy footwork other members of the gang had headed to Epworth for a NSEA Arena Eventing Qualifier. Fancy Piece and Minnie Hehe, aka The Limpet, along with other members of Woldgate School Team were keen to qualify for the final at Hickstead in May. For the third year running they did just this taking a win in the 80cms team event with Fancy Piece collecting an individual place too. There was much celebrating when Dolly Bird collected a final ticket with individual 3rd place in the 90cms.
The following weekend we were all at Bishop Burton Arena for the long awaited Pony Club Winter Series Area final. This is one of my favourite competitions always so well run by the hosting club, The Middleton East. This year the standard of riding was higher than ever and competition fierce. The York & Ainsty South PC Branch had a goodly number qualified in all the classes so we were hopeful for some tickets to the final at Arena UK in April but no one could have predicted what an amazing day it would turn out to be.
First the warm up class which saw Sprout execute some amazing turns to take 2nd and 3rd places on her ponies. The Legend gave a gutsy performance with Minnie Hehe to finish 5th but I think the size of his belly slowed him down (don't tell him I said that though).
The Debut Class followed where the ability to turn on a sixpence in the jump off was paramount. Fancy Piece set a blistering pace but clipped a fence, Glamour Girl second in threw the gauntlet down wowing the crowd as she produced a clear with incredible lines. Others tried to catch her but only I was close to her time but touched the penultimate fence which annoyingly fell. Still, it goes to show even the bigger ones amongst us can turn if the flatwork is in place (and I have had a winter of that with He Who Must Be Obeyed) and with the fuel from Fibre-Beet in our tanks we can fly.
Next the Winter Series Novice Challenge class where only three combinations posted clears in the first round - Minnie Haha and Glamour Girl being one of them! With the current National Champion also in the jump off we were in for some great viewing, and when she clipped a pole Glamour Girl sensibly went for a clear round. The pressure was too much for the 3rd competitor who momentarily forgot her route and crossed her tracks for four faults. Double Whammy for Minnie Haha and Glamour Girl, what great results.
The Grand Prix was equally exciting with another win for the YAS PC when an older member took the class with the only double clear. The Old Girl said it was one of the best competitions she had watched and every year the standard improves in all levels.
So we were all excited with championships to aim for and an April full of events to head to when the announcement came, the country is on lockdown. With access to miles of tracks and off road riding we are very fortunate. The Young Master and I have been taking our daily exercise in quite a sedate manner. Fast and Furious are banned until further notice, The Old Girl has been busy posting quizzes and brain teasers on the PC AREA 3 Facebook page if anyone faces a challenge, the answers can be sourced on the YORK & AINSTY SOUTH PC website under Fun and Frolics.
So stay safe everyone, remember wash your hands and hooves, and keep your distance. If your grazing is sparse, like ours, then Fibre-Beet is a great substitute and the BHF team are working to ensure their products are available at the feed stores.
Keep smiling everyone
Billy Bank xx