This show almost passed me by as I was unaware of the show organisation. Luckily, the schedule was posted on one of the Shetland pony Facebook groups that I am a member of. The show was being held at Onley Grounds Equestrian Complex, which is where I should have gone to a show a month or so earlier, but was ill and unable to take Diva (Melland Queen of Scots).

Horse Show

I checked out the schedule and saw that the classes were for American Miniature Horses and also Shetland ponies, with the Shetland ones being affiliated to the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society (SPSBS). I decided to enter and I am so pleased that I did.

Diva had a zoomie session in the school before I bathed her and put a rug on her overnight. It was going to be an early start as the Shetland section began at 8.30. Even though it was the miniatures first, I wanted to arrive in plenty of time as I was going on my own…well, apart from Flora the dog, who is always a welcome travelling companion but doesn’t really help to get the pony ready.

I had never been to Onley Grounds before and the satnav offered me a couple of options. I think I opted for the wrong one on the way there, as the journey wasn’t the nicest. On arrival, I found the show secretary, collected Diva’s number and was presented with a goody bag by the organisers. This was a lovely surprise, especially as a piece of cake was included!

Horse running

Diva had travelled well and didn’t take long to get ready when it was time to go up to the ring. I ensured Flora was cosy in the lorry and headed up with Diva. I was there a little early and so settled near the corner of the ring to watch. When it was near time, I took Diva’s rug off and gave her a rub over with my new favourite grooming tool, a Tiger’s Tongue. It is a sponge-like product, but really grips on to loose hairs or grease.

I walked Diva into the ring first for the Standard Shetland mare class. The ring entrance had an arch of balloons over it, so we did shoot in a little faster than usual! She marched round the ring and did a lovely trot round the outside. We were pulled into the line-up just as we were, and so I was first to present to the judge. Diva had a bit of a sideways look at the balloons as we passed, but moved really well. I was delighted to be pulled in first. The pony in second was owned and handled by the judge who had given me the championship at Midlands a couple of weeks previous.

All the winners of the Standard Shetland pony classes were then judged for Champion Standard Shetland. Diva again strode out well to be awarded the championship. In addition to the show’s lovely rosette and sash, Diva got an SPSBS championship rosette. We also were given a goody bag with samples of feedstuffs, much to Diva’s delight. This championship win qualified us for the Joan Wolfe Overall Supreme Shetland Pony in the evening performance.

We had a long wait for the championship but decided to stay, so I pulled the partition in the horsebox over to enable me to untie Diva and give her room to turn around if she wanted to. I topped up her hay and gave her a drink of water before turning my attention to Flora. We had a lovely walk around the showground and even a bit of a nap in the cab of the lorry!

Watch out for the next blog post to find out how we did in the Supreme Championship!

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