Our first Point to Point of the season took us to Alnwick and the Ratcheugh Racing Club on December 11th. This is one of our regular northern Point to Point destinations and it’s always a day to look forward to with plenty of runners and quality racing. A few weeks later we headed north again to the West Percy Point to Point. Strongly contested fields and friendly crowds always make the trip north enjoyable. The early meetings are incredibly busy for us with so many customers looking for new kit to start the season.
Early January is our local Yorkshire Area Point to Point Club meeting at Sheriff Hutton, by kind permission of MW Easterby. We sponsor the Area PTP Club Members Riders Conditions Race which was split into two divisions. Both Divisions were won by owner Mrs D Williams, trained by Philip Rowley and both ridden by A Edwards. After 10 years’, this is the first time my late husband Chris’ memorial trophy has left Yorkshire. Sheriff Hutton Point to Point is our local event and is always a very sociable and busy day on the trade stand, with very little time to watch any racing. Thankfully there’s YouTube and I was able to catch up on all the racing the following day.
A couple of weeks ago I headed to the British Equestrian Trade Association Trade Fair at the NEC. This huge international trade event is an opportunity to meet up with old and new suppliers and look at new innovations in the equestrian industry. Two specific areas caught my interest; the Society of Master Saddlers staged a saddlery demonstration in the British Saddlery area, showcasing apprentices making bridlework and; the ‘New Product Gallery’ which is a shop window for new exhibitors and provides retailers and wholesalers with an insight into new products making their way on to the market. BETA is huge and fills many of the halls at the NEC and there’s a lot of walking required to get round the exhibition. A sit down to watch the fashion show was a very welcome rest for my weary feet.
In my last blog I mentioned our sponsorships for the season, which included brothers John and Chris Dawson. John rode a double at Sheriff Hutton which is a great way to start the Yorkshire P2P season. John won the Yorkshire Area Point to Point Men’s Championship in 2012 and had 14 winners riding as a professional a couple of years ago. He is now back riding in the amateur ranks and training point to pointers with his wife Alice. His ambition is to become champion amateur and to win the Yorkshire Area Point to Point men’s championship again.
Chris Dawson received the green light to ride again after a crashing fall last April left him with head and facial injuries. I love following Chris throughout the season; he is a real P2P stalwart. His ambition this season is to see his string of young stock win at the races and for him to stay injury free!
Early February saw myself, Les and Becky heading down to London for The Society of Master Saddlers National Saddlery Competition on 7th February. Once again I was delighted and honoured to be asked to judge at this prestigious occasion. Hosted by The Worshipful Company of Saddlers, at Saddlers Hall in London, this year’s guest of honour was HRH The Princess Royal who presented the awards and trophies to the winners.
We were lucky to have been given a grand guided tour around the Royal Mews by Master Saddlers Catrien and Frances who work there. We were shown all the royal carriages and harness, including the 200 year old Gold State Coach which is used only for coronations. Catrien also showed us around their saddlery workshops and the carriage restoration room.
Les received his qualification certificate from the Princess Royal and is now a Qualified Saddler working towards becoming a Master Saddler. His competition piece was a pair of plaited reins which saw him finish a creditable fourth place.
Becky and I were awarded a Premium Award for the Master and Apprentice class. Becky made a hunting breastplate and I made the martingale attachment. Becky is working towards becoming a Qualified Saddler and started with us in August 2016. She needs to spend two years with a Master Saddler and also attend The Saddlery Training Centre in Salisbury where she will work with harness as well as saddles and bridlework alongside other apprentices.
I had a rare day off to take our horses for some Pre Eventing show jumping practice. My horse Grandioos was in good form and came home with a first and a second place ridden by event rider Emma Corner. It was a very nice change to receive some cash with a rosette and he now has British Showjumping points to add to his CV. We are looking forward to going Eventing now. Please don’t snow!!
By the time this post makes its way to social media we will have been to the Sinnington P2P at Duncombe Park, Helmsley. This has to be one of the grandest venues in Point to Pointing but I will likely sell a lot of warm hats and gloves because it’s always a cold one!