Sitting writing this on New Years’ Day it’s safe to say it feels like an age since I last wrote a blog post, I’ll be honest the last few months of 2023 have been full on and chaotic to say the least.

I have been flat out with clipping and riding since HOYS, it’s been lovely to see so many regular clients as well as plenty of new ones including three horses for the London International Horse Show. On top of my day to day work I have also been juggling a fairly hefty renovation project turning the old store room for the family antique business into an Airbnb. It’s been stressful to say the least especially after having to change builders halfway through the project, fortunately the new builder is absolutely fantastic and has made life significantly less stressful.

With all of this going on the creative juices haven’t really been flowing and I’ve had a bit of writers block since HOYS but now things are a bit more settled I have my mojo back and I’m ready to create some more instalments of the Diary of a Show Groom!

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas, ate and drank too much, spent time with family and friends and got lots of lovely presents. It was lovely to be at home for Christmas this year after spending it on the beach in Australia last year, though I certainly missed the 30 degree weather and sunshine! I knew I wouldn’t be able to top my New Years’ Eve of last year so it was a quiet one this time, an Aussie wedding in wall to wall sunshine with some totally fabulous people, cocktail van and a crème brûlée cart is pretty hard to beat.

The 2023 show season was a slightly different one for me, it felt a little strange to start the season without a ride, because of this I ended up doing a lot of shows for Team Elenor which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have to say my time in Australia and the 2023 UK show season reinvigorated my passion and enthusiasm for the sport, I remembered why I enjoy my job so much and how lucky I am to be able to call this my work.

I was fortunate to pick up a few lovely rides during the season, they were all a pleasure to show and I’m very grateful to their owners for asking me to ride them.

There was controversy as always within in the showing world in 2023, I think this is something we have to accept as you can’t keep everyone happy all the time, that being said I believe things need to change in order to revive showing and prevent the sport we all love from being lost in the future.

The 2023 format for the HOYS intermediate show riding types was hit and miss in my opinion, I think it was very disheartening for those that won their class but just missed out on the ticket, especially those that had several near misses, however I think it created an exceptionally strong class at the final. Whilst the new format for 2024 (one mixed height class with the winner or highest placed unqualified animal taking the ticket) has had a mixed reception I believe it will be an improvement on the 2023 format, at least there won’t be any class winners walking away feeling disappointed that they still don’t have that golden ticket.

I think the new BSPS performance and BSHA rising star classes at the London International Horse Show have been a great addition, it’s been super for the amateur riders to have a big final to aim for and the performance pony classes have given those with ponies that possibly just miss the mark conformation wise but are well schooled and go correctly a chance to shine at a big show too. Great to see the societies supporting the county and agricultural shows that don’t have RIHS or HOYS qualifiers. It will be interesting to see how these classes progress next year.

I have to say I am very ready to head to a show now, it feels like an age since I pulled out of HOYS on the Monday morning and I’m itching to get back to it now. I had a fantastic few days at HOYS with Team Elenor, it was a very busy show (when isn’t HOYS busy) but we were super organised, everything went to plan and we had a successful show, four seconds on Super Saturday isn’t bad going.

2024 will hopefully be a year of adventure again, I don’t want to say too much yet as things aren’t set in concrete just yet but I have some plans for this year that I’m really excited about. All will be revealed very soon but I don’t want to jinx anything.

For now I will wish you all a Happy New Year and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2024, here’s hoping it’s a good one!

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