The weather had a huge impact on the first half of our show season this year. It was so consistently wet that many of our local shows were cancelled. Our ponies who, with the exception of our ridden ponies, live in the field full time without rugs, failed to lose their winter coats until much later than usual. Unusually for us we did not have a colt or stallion to show this year and as the ponies were slow to look their best, we did not have high expectations of show successes. However, our fillies and geldings rose to the challenge and proved us wrong.
Hollybrooke Ginger got the season off to a great start by winning the gelding class at the Bath & West Show. He followed this by being well placed in the same class at both the New Forest Show and the Breed Show, in what is always a very strong class both in terms of quality and number. All these are Elite shows and will add to the not inconsiderable number of elite points he has already accumulated.
The photo on the left shows the two year old gelding Hollybrooke Merlin who gave us another Elite show success by winning his class at the New Forest Show. The cup he won now has the names of ponies with Hollybrooke prefixes engraved on it for two consecutive years as Hollybrooke Chablis won it last year.
Hollybrooke Melitta had a superb season. She was only shown three times and won on every occasion including at the Breed Show. On her final appearance she not only won her class but the overall New Forest championship and was then reserve NPS Silver medal champion. We are so lucky to have three small mares Melitta, Ruby and Sparkle who are all able to
hold their own at the highest level in the show ring. All three are sired by Burley Branston. Pictured below are the two we showed this year Melitta on the right and Ruby on the left.
Another pony who really changed dramatically as the summer progressed was the two year old filly Hollybrooke Grace by Hollybrooke Rambler. Although she had some show entries earlier in the season including at the New Forest Show, we left her at home as she did not look her best. By the end of the summer she looked super so we took her to the Breed Show. A combination of the dreadful weather, lack of ring experience and a large class of mares and foals in the next ring combined to upset her and she was very unsettled in the early part of the class. However, by the time she did her individual show her normal calm and equitable temperament had returned and she came up from last to a very creditable third. She followed this by winning the two year old class at Romsey Show and was then awarded the reserve New Forest young stock championship. She is out of the same mare as Hollybrooke Ginger, so we look forward to producing her under saddle when she is older.
All the ponies had a super season but Hollybrooke Dazzle was quite outstanding.The six year old mare who had been shown in hand a few times since she was a yearling came in to be broken in February. Eight weeks later she went to her first show under saddle and won the Nursery novice ridden. There followed the most amazing season in which she won all five of her novice ridden classes. This included the six years and over novice ridden class and the trophy for the best over all small novice ridden at the Breed Show. She also claimed the New Forest Championship and reserve show supreme championship at the Ellingham show. Not only did she excel in ridden show classes but also in dressage where she won four out of the six tests she entered and on her last outing she not only won the Prelim class for small New Forest ponies but she also qualified for the NPS dressage championships next spring. She has now gone to a new home where we hope she will continue to develop her talents.
Apart from having a successful season in the show ring Hollybrooke Ginger also did well in dressage. He gained his (and mine!) first BD dressage points. He was placed third and forth at the NPS dressage championships. He has already qualified for the championships next year by winning both Prelim and Novice classes. He also qualified for the National Riding Club championships by being part of the NFPEC novice team. He was the best placed of the team members by being second in his arena. Sadly we were unable to go to the championships as he picked up a virus at the Breed Show. He is now working towards the movements required at elementary so that we hope he can start competing at that level next year.
We have had lots of lovely news of Hollybrooke ponies with their new owners. Including some wonderful photos of Hollybrooke Caramel in France with her
four year old owner dressing the pony up as a fairy complete with sarong, tiara and flowers in her mane and tail. Hollybrooke Astra giving a whole family an immense amount of pleasure in a range of activities. Hollybrooke Astronaut who qualified for and was placed in the Picton Novice Championship final at Malvern. Hollybrooke Jackson who took everything in his stride when backed by his new owner, who now can't wait for next year and Hollybrooke Brown Sugar who has just flown round her first hunter trial.
We were not expecting any foals this year as we did not cover any of our stud mares last year and none of our Forest run mares were close to places where the stallions were turned out in 2013. We were therefore, rather surprised when one of our favourite forest run mares Hollybrooke Briar gave us a filly foal Hollybrooke Fern in May, who we have decided to keep.
We still decided that it was not the responsible thing to do, to breed foals so there will again be no Hollybrooke foals in 2015. We missed having foals this year but never the less we had a huge amount of fun and success with our ponies.