What a week it was!
Yet again, a glittering HOYS comes up trumps, with a father and son enjoying the spotlight
HORSE of the Year Show (HOYS) is always a highlight in the Horse & Hound office, but this year it feels as if there were a huge number of exceptional victories to celebrate. From the 17-year-old broodmare bagging her first Cuddy in-hand title (p56), to the five-year-old coloured champion at only his fourth show under saddle (p60) plus the multiple back-to-back Royal International (RIHS) and HOYS title winners,
I’d be interested to know how many bottles of champagne were popped over the five days.
While watching Thistledown Van Der Vaart scoop his third successive mini natives title, I had an inkling he’d stand supreme on Sunday evening. So small in the enormous Andrews Bowen arena, yet this lovely grey — our cover star on 1 June — commanded attention.
In the supreme horse equivalent, what a position for Allister Hood to be in for the second time this year — following RIHS in July — with two incredible animals qualified. Few would envy him having to choose which horse to ride, but he has long had a soft spot for Our Cashel Blue.
Diamonds Are Forever gleamed under the spotlights and was a worthy winner with son Oliver in the plate. This being Ollie’s first-ever HOYS supreme gave even more cause for celebration — plus it must feel good to beat your dad! H&H in an application form, my certificates, CV, a reference from a BHS assessor and £50. I might also have to attend a riding or knowledge assessment which I’d have to pay for!
Surely the point of taking an exam is to prove that you are of a certain standard? Why then do
the BHS insist on making it as difficult as possible for people to use their existing qualifications? Alexandra van Randwyck Alresford, Hampshire The British Horse Society replies: “Through extensive consultation and development, the BHS is proud to offer a variety of BHS Career Pathways to support every individual; whether your aspiration is to be a groom, a rider, or coach.
“The BHS Equine Excellence Pathway has been designed to be flexible and align to other qualifications, including qualifications from the Pony Club. We allow anyone to use Pony Club qualification as a direct entry into the next level BHS equivalent qualification. The BHS has worked closely with the Pony Club to put in place our recognised prior learning (RPL) policy and this is now a free process.
“We do, however, ask that the RPL application comes with a reference from a BHS assessor to ensure that robustness of
BHS professional qualification is maintained.”