Horse of the Year Show is, for many, the pinnacle of the showing calendar. It started yesterday and I went along to do some shopping and watch the Mountain and Moorland Connemara class.
It’s my fifth visit and I was delighted that the organisers have changed the timetable for the Mountain and Moorlands on the Wednesday morning. The Fells & Dales are the first in the ring, and the New Forest Pony and the Connemara Pony classes have been split. The upshot is that I get an extra half hour in bed 🙂
It was a shame to see only 10 New Forest ponies come forward – they are an iconic breed, versatile and suitable for adults and children alike. In comparison, 39 Connemara’s competed in their respective class.
I’m no expert on showing nor on the Connemara breed, so I won’t comment on the entries, however, as an enthusiastic amateur keen to show my on Connie, it was very interesting to see how the professionals do it (more on that here).
Considering how early it was, there were lots of spectators and a great atmosphere .
The tradestands open at 9am, so after watching these showing classes we headed to the shopping.
There were noticeably fewer shops this year, and as usual, there were quite alot of non-horsey stands (from makeup and nails, to massagers and exercise machines). I’m not saying this is bad – the massage machines were very good, and welcome after a long day – just an observation.
In the main, the majority of the equestrian stands were good quality and I spotted some new, innovative products as well as some bargins.
I came home with a Thermatex rug for Betty, (it matches Abbeys!) and a pair of peddies from Noble Outfitters, which are apparently all the rage (where have I been?!)
The Peddies are supposed to make it easier to get your boots on and do them up if they are tight. My Dublin Pinnacle’s are still being broken in, so I am looking forward to being able to slide my boots on daily rather than the daily wrestle that is currently the norm. Product review coming soon!
I stoopidly tried on a pair of Ariat Berwick’s – just to prove that Ariats are too wide up the calf. They are beautiful and annoyingly, fitted like a glove (size UK 4.5, if my OH is reading this and looking for Christmas present ideas!)
After a spot of lunch (Cornish pastry, which was nice and expensive but that’s what you get at shows at the NEC), we watching the jumping element of the Cuddy Working Hunter class. The fence designs were impressive and I really enjoyed watching the 39 rounds.
Afterwards we had a final mooch around the tradestands and a massage. There was still a few hours before the final performance and there was nothing else we wanted to watch so we left, tired but happy at about 3.30pm.
All in all, I’d say it was a good day out. It’s a shame that there weren’t as many shops to keep us entertained for another couple of hours ahead of the evening performance. If we had stayed for that, I think I’d be more inclined to say it was value for money, but at around £50 for a ticket, it was an expensive day out.