HOYS Bound – Matthew Ainsworth


Just after my last blog instalment, I had the pleasure of going to Ireland to judge the “All Ireland 3 year old Championship” which is held at Bannow Rathangan Show, in Co Wexford.

The horses which came forward to compete in this class, have to have previously qualified for it, during the current showing season in Ireland. Presented to us, were approximately 30 horses, a combination of stallions, mares and geldings, all Irish bred. It was amazing. The standard was incredibly high, there wasn’t a single horse you wouldn’t want in your stables at home. This is a huge part of the equestrian calendar in Ireland, the crowd were four deep around the ring, no pressure then….!

Myself and my co-judge, Ali Tate, also from England, did get a bit nervous seeing them all walk in!

The class took about 2.5 hours to judge, but our eventual winner stood out from everyone else, from the moment he walked in.

3 yr old irish champion

Photo courtesy of Susan Finnerty

The Midlands Irish Draught show was held nearby, at Stourport Riding Centre. Here we took, Novice Heavyweight Hunter Columcille Bouncer, and Novice Maxi Cob, The Piano Man (Will). Both horses won their respective classes, and went forward to the overall Championship, having had lots of complimentary comments from the judges.

Lorna took the reins on Bouncer, and I rode Will, Will went on to stand overall champion, with Bouncer reserve, all in all a good day out!

Irish Draught

At the end of July we made our way to the Royal Welsh show, this was to be 4 year old Bostons final show of the season. He was 2nd in the four year old class, a great end to a really successful season for this little horse. He has gone home for a very well deserved break, and will more than likely head down the eventing route next year.

We also took Clive here, he won a really big Lightweight Hunter class, gaining his HOYS ticket, and went on to be Reserve Champion. We were obviously absolutely over the moon, and typically it was the one show that his owner Sue, couldn’t make! Luckily for her, Royal Welsh is shown on TV!

Clive at Royal Welsh Show

Another Welsh show we attended, was Wales & West Hunter show. Small Hunter, Wentworth, and new addition to the yard, Heavyweight Hunter Super Trooper (Red) went for a day out here. Basil won his class, in very good company, and Red was a respectable 3rd, not bad for a horse we didn’t know much about!


A couple of weeks later was another local agricultural show, Moreton in the Marsh. Red took full advantage of the lovely main ring and won his class, another ticket for HOYS!

Will also competed at Moreton, in his first HOYS qualifier, up against all the big boys! He behaved impeccably and held his own, finishing a very credible 5th. He is having a break now, before some winter jumping!

Addington was the venue for our last “big” show. Here, Bouncer finished second in the Novice Heavyweight Hunter class, a great end to a really good season. He has come on leaps and bounds since his first show, and looks like a different horse! He has had a few mornings out Autumn Hunting, and has now gone home for a good break before he comes back for next season.

Clive competed in the HOYS Ladies class and also the Ladies Hunter class, with his new rider Dolly Maude. He has been so unlucky in the HOYS Ladies class, just knocking at the door, and narrowly missing out on qualifying. Dolly has done a brilliant job taking over the ride mid season when Emma could no longer ride him. He was 6th in the HOYS class & 7th in the Ladies Hunter class, both were really strong classes, and under the indoor lights he looked an absolute picture.

clive side saddlle

Finally, (sorry this has been very long winded!) last weekend we went to Wiltshire Show, we took all the HOYS bound horses for a final run out.

Red and Clive both won their Hunter classes, and Basil was second in his, meaning all three qualified for RIHS ’18. Red went on to be Hunter Champion, we are so thrilled with how well this horse has done, given that he’s only been in the yard a few weeks!



So we leave you to continue with our HOYS prep, wish us and Team Ginger luck!

Team Ginger

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