It’s been a busy week for Abbey and I, culminating with our first proper show.

On Thursday we had a jumping lesson where we did some ‘athletic jumping’.  Our instructor set up a series of poles that were a little short for Abbey.  The aim of the exercise was to reinforce that ‘bounce’ is more important than ‘speed’.

Abbey got the idea straight away, and having trotted through the line of poles on the floor a couple of times we cantered through.  Abbey gave me a lovely short bouncy canter.  Bit by bit our instructor added jumps, until there where three.  Two small fences and a 90cm upright with ‘A’ rails at the end.  Although we only jumped for half an hour Abbey had been so good that we called it a day.

On Saturday we did our first proper show. We learnt lots….

#1 it takes longer than you think to get ready and the in-hand classes don’t take long!

The large Mountain and Moorland in-hand class was the third after 12 noon. Arriving at the showground at 12 noon, I thought I had plenty of time to enter and get ready. Wrong!

While I was busy polishing Abbey to perfection my ‘groom’ spotted that the class before mine had already gone in. So I threw my clothes on and we trotted up to the ring.

On route,Abbey stopped twice to take it all in. There was lots to see. From the motorbike demonstration (yes from time to time there were motorbikes appearing over the top of the hedge!) to the bouncy castle. Thankfully she took most of it in her stride.

Getting to the ring the steward let me in with a curt “we’re waiting for you”.  Unsurprisingly she was a little tense and rushed (feeding off me!) while we walked around.

On that first lap a man ‘appeared’ from behind the back of a marquee and we identified which corner would be the spooky one!

It was a shame that Abbey didn’t stand up for the judge.  Having learnt what we were supposed to do at the showing clinic, we’d practiced a little at home where she was perfect. However on the day:

The trot up started well unfortunately we got our feet into a tangle at the end and Abbey took great offence at getting a kick from me:

That was lesson #2…don’t kick your own horse during the show!!

The ridden class was better.

She’d warmed up well and had settled to the atmosphere (though miniature Shetlands in fancy dress were still a curiosity).

Abbey did find cantering in a group a little exciting but she did her best to contain it.

She did a nice individual show (though it shows that we still need to work on our canter transitions).  With such a small space the movements come up thick and fast and there’s little time for lengthy preparations.


Overall I was delighted with how well Abbey coped with all the distractions, settled when given a chance and got on with her job.  It was a really fun day and getting a 2nd in the ridden class was the icing on the cake!