Well, the day had finally dawned. The pony had been bathed and my outfit and Diva’s bridle, newly purchased from Native Pony Bridles, were stored in the horsebox along with our mascot, the Divacorn!

Kirsten came along as groom and after a rather ‘bouncy’ practice session the Sunday before, neither of us were entirely sure how things would go. We loaded Diva up and headed off up the A1 to Arena UK and The Midlands Counties Show

On arrival we checked Diva to ensure she was okay. She had travelled beautifully without turning a hair, although she now seemed to be wearing her hay rather than having eaten it! After collecting our competitor number and checking out our ring, we realised that we had timed it well and went back to start getting her ready.

 

After having previously shown coloured show cobs for years, I certainly appreciated how easy it was to get a small, black pony ready for the show ring, even with having to brush out what seemed like a bale of hay from her mane.

Most horses or ponies have their first time out at a small, quiet local show, but not Diva. She had to contend with piped music (which irritated me, let alone the horses) and loud announcements over the tannoy, in addition to ridden horses rushing past on their way to their classes. Diva did not bat an eyelid over any of it.

With a final polish by Kirsten, Diva—or Melland Queen of Scots to give her registered name—was ready to go into the ring for the Shetland Youngstock, 1, 2 and 3yearold colts, fillies or geldings. As it was her first time, I let two ponies enter the ring before us so she would have something to follow.

I was pleased to discover the ring had a good all-weather surface that was as easy for me to run on, as some surfaces—though lovely for the horses—can be like running in deep, loose sand for people. We walked around the outside of the ring until it was time for each pony to trot around individually. Diva strode out nicely, and I was really pleased when we were pulled into third place.

She stood like a rock until it was her turn to go forwards to the judge. He examined her closely, and she walked and trotted for him before returning to our place in the line.

Once all the ponies had been judged individually, we did a final walk around the ring before being pulled into the final line up in second place. I was absolutely delighted with the result and the fact that she would now go forwards to the championship.

We had time to give her a little break before returning to the ring for the championship, where she went on to be awarded Reserve Junior Champion.

What a fantastic start to her showing career.

 

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