Hoys... Trip Of A Lifetime!

Arianne Fraser (16) from Whalsay has recently returned from competing at the Horse of The Year Show with her pony Hollydell Hazard. The 11 year old Skewbald Shetland Pony stallion, bred and owned by Stephen and Jane Rendall from Nesting, qualified for the NPS Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden Exmoor, Dartmoor and Shetland Finals at the recent Shetland Pony Stud Book Society Breed Show in Bakewell. Read Arianne's story...

The show took place at the NEC in Birmingham and involved an arduous trip from Shetland. We, along with our amazing back up team, left Shetland on theSunday night boat, had an overnight stay in Aberdeen with the Clothie Stud on Monday then the long drive down to Birmingham on the Tuesday arriving at around 3pm. On arrival the massive scale of the show was apparent. Lorries queued for miles to get in and had to pass through a vet checkpoint where the pony and its passport were checked then on to the stabling checkpoint with our vet certificate to get our stable number. Once we had found our parking spot and then our stable it was off to find the arena for our allotted exercise time. You had to walk for 15 minutes to get to the arena and we were allowed to exercise in the Caldene Arena where we would be competing in the morning. It was then back to the stables where hazard had yet another bath and was tucked up snugly in his rugs with his dinner. It was then off to our nearby hotel to try to get a few hours sleep before we had to come back.

On the Wednesday morning we arrived back at the stable at 4am to prepare for morning exercise where we had an allotted time of 5.15am! There was already a lot of buzz around the place and the walk down to the exercise arena was quite exciting passing a lot of the famous showing people and show jumpers, some of whom still hadn’t made it home from the previous nights partying! We weren’t due to go into our class until 9.50am so following exercise time it was back to the stable for grooming and breakfast and a chance to watch some of the other classes before we had to get ready.

When we were getting ready for the class it was quite a nervous time realizing that the moment we had been working towards all summer was finally here. We were ready in plenty of time and tried to relax on the way down to the ring. Hazard was very laid back about the whole thing and took it all in his stride. He had never been ridden indoors until the previous day so he coped remarkably well with it all.

There were a total of 28 ponies in our class, which was a mix of Exmoor, Dartmoor and Shetland Ponies. We all went in together for the initial walk round then half were sent out and the other half did their trot and canter as a group. These ponies then went out and our half of the class came back in. We did our trot and canter go round then lined up to do our individual shows, at the same time the other half of the class were stripped and run out for the conformation judge. It was quite daunting to perform in such a huge arena with so many people watching but we really enjoyed it although Hazard did start to sweat a bit as we were indoors with heating on and he is more used to being out side in Shetland!

Points were awarded for the two sections of the class with 50 available for manners and way of going and 50 for conformation, type and freedom of action so a potential maximum of 100 points. Waiting for the results to be called out was quite nerve wracking and we were slightly disappointed not to make it into the top 9. However we couldn’t be too disappointed as it was an achievement in its self to make it to HOYS and Hazard had coped and behaved so well during the whole trip. We were delighted though when we received copies of the score sheets for the class, which detailed each pony’s score, to find that the winning pony had 87 points and we were only 8 points behind with 79, so quite a closely fought class.

It was truly an experience to remember and hopefully one which can be repeated in the future. Hazard and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our generous sponsors and all of those who have helped us to get where we are. In particular Northlink Ferries, JWJ Whalsay Ltd, Whalsay Boating & Sports Club, MB Sondra LK365, June Brown, Harbro Ltd, Stephen & Jane Rendall of Hollydell Stud, and especially Kira and the rest of our family in Whalsay. Thank you.