So now the day has dawned. It’s showtime! We got up nice and early and took Flora for a walk before heading over with our bridles and grooming kit to get the ponies ready for the ring. The stables were a hive of activity with Clydesdales, Highlands and of course Shetland ponies all being prepared for their classes.

We groomed both Diva (Melland Queen of Scots) and Jackson (Melland Jackson Jive), put hoof oil on and then put our waistcoats and hats on before leading them up to the collecting ring. Jackson was in before Diva and so I led her around whilst Michelle and Jackson were in the ring. Unfortunately I couldn’t see the ring from where I was, so I had no idea how they had been getting on and I also missed the tannoy announcement! When I saw the ponies exiting the ring and coming back over the bridge I was delighted to see Jackson had been placed fourth. Jackson always knows when he has done well and was prancing beside Michelle. This meant that they were in the grand parade over the next few days.

Brown horse

All too soon it was time for Diva and I to go into our class. What a procession it was. Of the 27 ponies entered, all but one had turned up. I was very proud leading Diva into the historic main ring and despite being slightly nervous at being part of such a huge class, I was soon enjoying the experience and concentrating hard on showing Diva.

With so many in the class after the initial trot round the ring we were pulled in to the line in any order. The judge, David Hodge, then looked over every pony before pulling ten forward for further assessment. Diva was one of the ten. Another walk and trot was performed and then we stood in line in front of the other ponies. He pulled four ponies forward into another line, including Diva. At this point I was so pleased to know that Diva was going to be at least fourth!

The judge sent us off for a final walk around the ring. Knowing I had made the final four, I kept an eye on him as we walked along. He pointed at us and said first! Wow, what an incredible achievement for my little mare, still only five years old. I was over the moon with her.

Just when I thought our day couldn’t get any better, the judge awarded her the Dryknowl Trophy for the champion mare. What a fabulous end to the day. I don’t think the result sunk in for at least a day. So many top Shetland pony studs had mares in the class and everyone was so complimentary about Diva.

Over the next three days both Diva and Jackson were part of the grand parade in the main ring showcasing the native Scottish breeds of Clydesdales, Highlands and Shetlands. The ring and walkways were thronged with people making it such a great occasion to part of.

Royal Highland Show, we had a great time and we will be back one day.


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