An update from our Supported Rider Hannah Atkinson …
I know it is a cliché at this time of year to say ‘where has the year gone?’ but this year really seems to have flown by scarily fast. When I look back at everything that’s happened this year I am not sure how I managed to fit it all in!
It doesn’t seem that long ago we were preparing for the first show of the season, and now our last show of the year has been and gone and we are well underway with the winter breaking & schooling liveries. Infact the only one left to back now is my own! Hopefully I will have time to get going with him in the next few weeks as some liveries will go back home and before new ones arrive in the new year.
I remember thinking at the start of this year “how were we ever going to follow such an amazing year like 2018?”. I was sure that this season would be disappointing in comparison as we weren’t going to have a repeat of last year’s successes. However I think this season has been just as great if not more special.
We decided at the beginning of the season that this would be Ronnie, my welsh cob’s last season contesting HOYS qualifiers. He has been 6 times and been placed in the top 10 every time, and at the age of 16 we felt he really had nothing left to prove. For this year I just hoped he would qualify one last time, look and go well at the final and hopefully get one last top ten placing. To my surprise he qualified on his first attempt at Derbyshire Festival in June, as well as taking section champion. He has had a few reserve HOYS championships over the years so to take champion in his last year was an amazing feeling!
When HOYS came around, we all felt a bit emotional that it would be his last time in that special arena. I was really worried he may not make the final placings as the competition was so strong. That wasn’t the note I wanted to end his HOYS career on. He tried his heart out for me as always in his individual show and I was pleased. I thought we couldn’t have done anymore. When they started to announce the placings I was over the moon to be called forward into the top 11, his previous highest placing had been 5th so I really didn’t know what to expect. Then the results came in reverse order; 5th, 4th, 3rd. All went forward and we were still left. When the words ‘the runner up for 2019’ and our names were said I was completely shocked, I reacted like id won! To finish 2nd in such a fantastic line up and to a very worthy winner was just the best end to Ronnie’s HOYS career I could have wished for. I have wanted to ride in the M&M championship for so long and to be able to do it on my special boy was an emotional moment for us all as a family.
I was also fortunate to be able to go to Denmark in the summer after being invited over by the Danish Welsh pony & Cob society to take part in a study day for their members. The society have seen the popularity of Welsh ridden showing classes over here in the UK and would love to have the same in Denmark. Everyone who took part was really eager to learn and showed a huge passion for our welsh breeds; I thoroughly enjoyed my time over there!
Finally, I wish everyone all the best for a happy, healthy and successful 2020, bring on the lighter nights!