After the last show didn’t go as planned, as I was too ill to take Diva (Melland Queen of Scots) in the ring myself, I was determined for a more positive outing at the Royal Highland.
For the first time, we would staying for a week at a showground. Usually, it is only a couple of days, but the Shetland ponies at the Royal Highland are required to stay at least from the Wednesday before the show to Sunday evening. As we were travelling over 300 miles to get there, we opted to take advantage of being able to arrive on the Tuesday and leave Monday morning.
The ponies get stables, of course, and we get to convert Bee – our beautiful Bloomfields horsebox – into a camper van for the duration. To make things cosier, we bedeck the living with bunting, fairy lights and cushions. Our beds go in the horse area once we arrive and get it cleaned out. We take rugs for the floor, so it really is a home from home.
Flora the dog was travelling with us, so she had a little bag packed with food, treats and a new squeaky toy.
I did wince when I filled up Bee’s tank, as it’s typical that when we are doing our longest trip, it is in the middle of diesel prices going through the roof.
So with my case packed and ready to go, I had one rather important job left to do; drive down to collect my sister, Michelle, and Jackson (Melland Jackson Jive) and bring them up to spend a night in Rutland before setting off the following day.
Both ponies had their beards trimmed to enhance their jawlines, excess ear fluff clipped and a final bath before being rugged and put to bed.
It was almost 11 pm before we went to bed and I must admit to not getting much sleep. We’ve wanted to compete at this show for several years, but this is the first time since Covid that it’s run in full format with spectators allowed in.
The alarms were set and soon we would be on the road to Ingliston, near Edinburgh, for the 200th anniversary of the Royal Highland Show!