Ardvreckian Success at Horse of the Year Show

James Houlden was competing at Horse of The Year Show which is the most famous and number one horse show in the world. It is every competitive riders dream to compete there at the NEC in Birmingham surrounded by the worlds greatest show jumpers and top show riders. Riders have to qualify to take part and only the winners from the select qualifiers can take part. 
The class was the 133cm working hunter pony, which means the ponies can’t be over 133cm in height and riders under 14 years. The jumps are decorated to copy the hunting field and ponies judged on suitability to ride for a days hunting.
There are three sections to the class – section 1 jumping over a course of approx 12 fences at 1m which can all be knocked down if touched and are penalised accordingly and judged also on style; section 2 – riders present their ponies in front of the judge to be marked on correct way of going, manners and presence, and the final section is looking at the ponies conformation by seeing the pony without tack and looking for suitability of its type.
This type of class is a test of accuracy to ride the correct lines, memory of learning the course, balance of rider to help present the pony accurately to each fence, coping with an audience, having an ability to show your horse off to its best, internal and external pressures and as with any sport, coping with success and failure.  Riding in this atmosphere in particular was a real test of controlling the nerves but most of all an honour and a great experience.
James finished 9th with one unlucky pole down but we were all thrilled he was presented with a final line up rosette as so many of his fellow competitors did not complete or had more poles down.  He rode with maturity and dedication and was a true Ardvreckian, THANK YOU all for all the tremendous support and encouragement. (Mrs Houlden)