My plan for Diva’s last show of the season, the East Anglian Shetland Pony Group’s Performance Show, almost came to a halt the day before the show when the country decided to panic-buy fuel! I had been blissfully unaware of the news regarding fuel shortages until the Friday afternoon when I tried to get some petrol for my car. I couldn’t believe the queues. Having only 30 minutes for lunch, there was no way I could get some until after work. Luckily, I had enough to get to my home village, where I found no queues and no empty pumps. Instead of filling up the horsebox on Saturday, I decided I ought to go and do it that night. I then spent the night trying to work out the miles per gallon and number of gallons in the tank to ensure I would have enough fuel for the 170-mile round trip.
Thankfully, I decided I would have enough and so spent Saturday getting Diva ready for the show. After years of showing coloured horses, I do have to say I really appreciate prepping a small black pony! I packed the horsebox with the grooming kit, her bridle and my waistcoat and hat. As I was aiming to leave at about half past five, I turned the box around so it was facing the gate to save a few minutes in the morning.
Only a few minutes behind schedule at 5.40, Diva marched onto the box like the little star she is. First stop was to kidnap Jackson along the way! Michelle had to work for a couple of hours so was going to meet us at the show. Jackson was all ready with his passport and headcollar, tail bandage on, so I literally just had to load him up.
I arrived at World Horse Welfare in good time, and having checked the ponies I went to get the competitor numbers. My friend Marilyn luckily was on hand to help me swap Jackson and Diva over when it was time to get Diva ready for her first class. I had pre-entered all four of the classes she was eligible for, as it was the first show I had entered where she could go in more than one class.
The first class was Novice. Michelle arrived before we had to go in the ring which was lovely. The in hand classes were indoors, Diva’s first time too. There were large mirrors on the wall and she enjoyed looking at her reflection whilst we were waiting to go in the ring. She strode around the ring with a lovely active walk and I was pleased with how she trotted out. It was a strong class with a good number forward, so I was delighted when Diva was awarded first place. Her first ever class win and a trophy to hold for a year too!
She had a little break before the next class for Black Ponies and Jackson was joining her in the ring for this one. Diva was again judged the winner, with Jackson coming third. It was a very strong class with the judge taking time to thank us all for bringing the ponies forward as she had enjoyed judging it so much.
There was a welcome lunch break for the judges and ponies alike. With Diva and Jackson enjoying some hay on the horsebox, I caught up with an old friend, Julia. More about that next time!
Diva was the first back in action, this time for the Standard Mare class. At only four years old, she was in the youngest age group eligible for the class. I honestly shed a few tears when she was placed first again! A hat-trick of wins – what a day!
Jackson was forward for the Gelding class and was placed third again. He is so consistent, over his whole career he has never been unplaced.
Diva had one final class to go in, which was – in addition to the Novice class – the one I originally thought she might have the best chance in. The Intermediate class was for ponies four to six years old. After the amazing results so far, I was in two minds as to whether to take her in, but the lovely show organiser and other competitors encouraged me to go forward. I could barely take it in when she won it, making it four out of four class wins!
Diva had a little more work to do as her wins had qualified her for the Senior Championship. Even after her previous classes, she had more to give and was awarded the Senior Championship. Little Diva was also awarded Reserve Standard Champion and Reserve Supreme In Hand Champion behind a lovely skewbald stallion.
Wow! What a red-letter day for my lovely little mare. She so deserved to have such a wonderful day.
And to cap it all, I did have enough fuel to take us back to Rutland!