Jo Bates' Showing Blog

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The time from the Royal International until HOYS always flies along and Team Bates is now fully gearing up for an exciting week at the Birmingham NEC. Since my last diary piece I have been busy showing, heading off to dressage with Holly and doing plenty of teaching as well

Our most recent outing was to the BSHA Championships at Addington where we had a great weekend – despite the somewhat monsoon-like weather. Susanna Welby’s large hack, Chalky (Elusive) continued his unbeaten record and took the Classic Supreme Hack Championship. The rain was quite unreal during the class and judges Sue Rawding and David Ingle decided it was so bad there would be no individual shows. I think it is going to take a week for my jacket to dry out! Yvonne Jacques lovely ex-racehorse, Grandeur won the Restricted large hack and then Andrew Johnson and Marian Burton’s lightweight cob, Ernie (Quinton’s Ernest) took 2nd and a ticket to HOYS in a massive lightweight cob class

I also rode Ernie at Bucks County where he was pulled in 2ndand was then a little spooky with the ride judge and was rightly dropped to 3rdso it was great to get the ticket at the last chance. Andrew aka Bas is our farrier and has been a pupil of mine for the last 2 years - I helped him and Ernie on their road to winning the Search for a Star Cob final at HOYSlast year. Andrew shoes all our horses brilliantly and has worked so hard in conjunction with Jane Nixon to have Holly’s dressage horse, Cambridge on top form.

The pressure of HOYS is starting to mount in the yard, we have four horses heading there – Chalky in the large hacks, Grandy in the racehorse to riding horse final, Ernie in the lightweight cobs and Robbie Fallon’s Cashelbay Rocket in the M&M Connemaras

Cashelbay Rocket’s Irish rider Michael Harty is coming over to have a pre-HOYS practicand we have two shows lined up for the pair to go to. We have also booked the internationalarena at Addington, along with a few friends, to have a run through with some music and people clattering around in the seats and so on. The aim is to get any last minute niggles ironed out. Cashelbay Rocket is also qualified for Olympia where I will take the reins, the plan is that he will do some dressage and a bit of hunting before then. We took him cross country schooling recently – he absolutely loves jumping!

I am planning to clip Cashelbay Rocket before HOYS as despite rugging him up he hasn’t managed to keep his coat. Ernie is continuing to be beautifully produced by Andrew and his partner, Deborah Jones and they will clip him prior to HOYSFortunately Grandy and Chalky won’t need to be clipped as they have beautiful coats. We will use plenty of Absorbine ShowSheen, particularly for the quarter marks – we have found that anything oily really attracts the dust whereas the ShowSheen actively repels it! The ShowSheenreally helps the horses gleam under the lights as well. We will take each of the horses up to HOYS the night before their classes, as we aren’t too far away, we can stick to our normal routine of turning out at home and they can also be worked at home before heading up to HOYS in the evening. 

Annie Clark who joined us just after the Royal International as a part-time groom is going to be a real asset for what is going to be a very busy HOYS week. It is so lovely to have someone that really cares about the horses on the yard – and even better that Annie even has similar OCD tendencies to me and Holly when it comes to tidiness. 

Holly and Cambridge have been going brilliantly and have really consolidated their performances at Prix St Georgeslevel having recently come 3rd at the Bury Farm high profile show. Their next goal is to compete at Inter I. Cambridge’straining is coming on really well and he is now working at just below Grand Prix. We are also really keen to get some music together so the pair can take part in some Prix St Georges music qualifiers this autumn. 

Holly has been off on holiday with her boyfriend Jack leaving me in charge of her precious puppy, Luna. Fortunately she was exceptionally well behaved and I have been teaching Luna and my Jack Russell, Tilly some great tricks for a scrap of pork pie as a treat! 

The other bit of excitement on the horizon is a night out at the Showing World / Showing Council Awards Dinner.  I have been nominated for the PRP Rescue Service Show Rider of the Year Award. Voting has already closed, so we will be waiting until the evening for the result!

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