I screamed and shouted until I was hoarse, and clapped til my hands were sore – and all because of the Prince Philip Cup at the Horse of the Year Show. Emma and Faye, daughters of a friend of m’family, are stalwarts of the Badsworth Hunt Pony Club team which this year qualified for the final, and I went down to Birmingham to watch with my friend SarahP.

The whole show is fabulous. I cry regularly as the winners are so ecstatic and the atmosphere is electric. I wasn’t so bad with the tears this year as Sarah, although loving horses and riding, is not such an emotional personage as me, but even she was enthralled and totally caught up in the shouting and cheering. “Come on Badsworth!” and “Go OOOOONNNN Emma!”. One game involved a member of each team wearing an emu suit. The audience gaped in disbelief, the commentator dissolved in a fit of giggles, and the ponies, as one, went bananas and did their level best to avoid going anywhere near the scary feathery things.

Other excellent moments: 1) Ooohing and aaaahing at the showjumping classes. The Foxhunter jump off was particularly good and Sarah, who has never seen live showjumping before, remarked on how much better it was than when watching on TV (this is true. On TV you have no real idea of the size of the fences and speed and agility of the horses).  2) Watching Sarah split her sides laughing as she tried to understand the scurry class (these are 7-month pregnant sides, BTW, and I had a few nervous moments as she laughed so much I thought she was going into labour). 3) The musical ride of the Household Cavalry, ending with the troop leaving the arena at full gallop, with pennants and flags flying. They got a standing ovation, and I clapped so hard I thought my palms were going to bleed.

No photography is allowed, unfortunately, as if nothing else some shots of the ponies and the emu would have been hilarious. So here are a couple of pics m’husband took earlier this year, at Bramham Horse Trials, as Emma and Faye competed in one of the earlier heats for the Prince Philip Cup.

That’s Emma on the left, about to take the stick. She’s wearing a white band on her hat to signify she’s the last rider to go on her team. Don’t know who the other rider is.

The team take off around the arena after winning their heat.

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