It's always a super early start for the shows at Hickstead, the classes start at 8.00, and it's a fair old distance to walk up from the lorry park to the showground to get the courses walked, so Steff and I left the yard at 6.00 on Wednesday morning. My biggest concern this year was that Wednesday was over 30 degrees all day. The fans in the lorry are good, but we had to be extra vigilant about water, and I did manage to move the lorry into the shade halfway through the day.
The day started with Kvint jumping a good clear in the Foxhunter in ring 2. Only our second show together, our first 1.20 and his second show on grass. He was great although there were a couple of moments where he definitely didn't really trust my judgement. However, I came out thrilled with him and much more confident in his boldness and carefulness.
Kvint - Foxhunter - Wednesday.
We then had a long, hot wait before Emma jumped in the 1.35. She jumped a fantastic round and was fast enough to qualify for the main ring, I just should have sat up and held on for a split second more to the last fence, although she was on a great shot she just left one knee slightly lower and down came the gate. Benny then jumped a great round in the 1.25 - for some reason I missed a turn in the jump-off - but I expect I'd have been a bit off the pace in such a fast class.
The next morning wasn't quite so early as we had Charlie Purgal, our lovely visitor from Jersey, jumping in the first class, so she went ahead to walk the course and we brought the horses a little bit later. I managed to get a good soaking waiting to jump Kvint in the Foxhuter, but he jumped a much better double clear, so I was thrilled with him.
Emma then jumped a lovely double clear in the 1.30 and Benny also jumped very well, frustratingly we had jumped two fences in the jump-off when the judges rang the bell as one of the fences was still down from the last competitor, so we had to start the jump-off again, never the easiest job- and we just had one fence down - however he jumped absolutely beautifully so it wasn't the end of the world.
Friday was the longest day of the week, we started at 4.00 as all the horses were jumping in classes starting at 8.00. I jumped Emma first who span round a decent sized 1.35 to finish 5th.
Charlie and her Touch of Orlando jumped a fabulous double clear in the Foxhunter to be placed. Benny was wild in the 1.25, lots of bucking meant that he had fence 2 down before jumping beautifully, but that wasn't helpful. I then jumped Kvint in the Foxhunter where he just had a fence down in the jump-off when I got a bit keen! He jumped very well and I'm excited about the summer with him.
That was the end of jumping for me, but Charlie jumped two more lovely double clears on Saturday and Sunday, with all her family over from Jersey to watch. We then had a lovely time watching the two Derbies and the had a lovely quiet week.
We have had a tough time with little Catokyo who has injured her neck - we have no idea how. She has been very ill, and very wobbly for the past five weeks. She does seem to have turned a little corner in the last week, and can now go out in a little pen, with the others all round her which is making her much happier at least. She goes to Arundel Equine Hospital next Tuesday for a bone scan, and another full work-up to see if her problems can be resolved. She is one of the nicest horses I have had for a long time, and I really hope she will make a full recovery. You certainly never know what is round the corner - especially with young horses. I think she must have got cast in the stable or perhaps stuck her neck under the fence in the field, and she has been very sick and sorry for herself which has been very distressing for all of us.
We are now all prepared for the four day show at Pyecombe which starts tomorrow. Hopefully it won't be too hot as I think we are going to have some long days. It will be our last show with Charlie here as she has made the huge step of deciding to stay in England and has an exciting job with Ben Dalton and Charlotte Packham starting next week. We couldn't have had a better house-guest or horse guest than Charlie and "Star" and we wish them all the luck in the world in the next step of their big English adventure.
As always this would be a much harder job without wonderful Steff Gibbs, who looks after the horses so well, manages to have Benny Persil white for every class and must have walked about 30 miles at Hickstead.