We are lucky that the South of England Show is very local, it is a typical, old-fashioned county show and provides not only excellent experience for younger horses, but also top class jumping and good prize money for the older horses. Having decided that Catokyo and I weren't quite together enough to leap straight into a Newcomers, Heather Trevor-Jones and I set off very early on Thursday morning with Culana Z, Benny and Doonaveeragh Emma. Culana Z jumped very well in the Newcomers for one fence down in the jump-off. She has progressed so much in a relatively short time and I just love riding her.
We then had a chance to watch the Area International Trial in the main ring before it was Benny's turn to jump the 1.25. He worked in well, he is getting fitter, and really perks up when he gets in the ring. I just let him make up too much ground in a distance, but otherwise he jumped well. Doonaveeragh Emma then jumped a fabulous double clear in the 1.35 to finish 3rd - she such a clever little horse.
Friday was another early start - this time for Steff Gibbs and I. Culana Z felt excited but tired and jumped rather greenly in a slightly stronger Newcomers. I then rode both Benny and Emma in the 1.30. A quite brave decision for me with Benny and I felt very nervous - but he jumped fantastically - just let down by me not getting him straight at the first fence. Doonaveeragh Emma jumped another great round to be placed.
On Saturday Steff, Mark and I had a more civilised start with just Emma for the 1.40 Accumulator in the main ring. She jumped a really good round just having the 6th fence, which was the bogey fence, and the joker - which only fell once we were through the finish. Mark and I took her home quickly and then came back to watch the Grand Prix and the Inter-hunt relay and to spend a relaxing afternoon with friends.
It was lovely having Zandra, my stepmother, and her friend David Brookes to stay for the show. They are knowledgeable and enthusiastic supporters and a tremendous help as well.