I’ve been riding for most of my life and was lucky enough to be able to do a bit of competing on my old share pony, Honey. I was devastated when she was sold but, after a bit of luck, I finally ended up with my own pony called Percy. Looking at Percy, you wouldn’t think he could ever be a champion. His front and back legs always seemed to be going in different directions, and he was more interested in cuddles than he was in going fast! But I didn’t mind – he was my very own pony and I loved him to the moon and back, whether or not he was destined to be a winner.
“What on earth is that?” Beth giggled as I hacked up my instructor’s drive on Percy for the first time. Beth and I had been sharing a weekly jumping lesson for six months, but I’d always ridden Honey before.
“Meet Percy!” I announced, grinning widely. Beth looked shocked. “He doesn’t look like he’ll be as scopey as Honey. I hope he can keep up with me and Jet,” she mumbled. I tried not to let her comments get to me as I warmed up – I knew Percy might not be as scopey as Jet, but I was determined to prove he was just as fantastic.
“Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that!” Sally, my instructor, exclaimed as we landed after the final fence in our lesson. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face – Percy had been amazing! He hadn’t put a hoof wrong and when we finished with a course, he flew every fence for a clear round, while Beth had struggled to encourage Jet over the water tray.
“I hope you’ll be entering the showjumping series at Brookes End Farm this summer?” Sally asked as I prepared to hack home. “Erm, I hadn’t planned that far ahead, I was thinking we’d need a quiet summer to get used to each other,” I replied, doubtfully.
“You’re both definitely ready for the challenge, Charlotte,” Sally persuaded me firmly, “you’ve always dreamed of qualifying for the championships – and with Percy you seriously have a chance.”
As I rode home, I knew Sally was right. I hadn’t expected Percy to be so talented – his last owner had been very nervous, so had just stuck to low-level jumping. But Percy was obviously loving stepping up a level!
A summer of fun
It turned out to be the best summer I’d ever had. It was amazing to finally have the chance to compete on my very own horse!
People didn’t think much of Percy when we arrived at Brookes End Farm, but they soon changed their mind when they saw him jumping. We collected loads of points throughout the summer and I was beyond excited when I got the email to say we’d qualified for the end-of-season championship show.
Our time to shine
The big day arrived, and I spent hours in the morning getting Percy to look his best – it was finally our turn in the spotlight.
“And in next is Charlotte Campbell riding Percy,” the tannoy blared out loudly as we trotted confidently into the ring. Well, I tried to look confident – my legs actually felt like jelly!
“We can do this,” I whispered to Percy as I squeezed him into canter. A single ear flicked back and he snorted – he seemed to want to win this just as much as I did.
I held my breath over the first few fences, but as we got into a rhythm I really started to enjoy myself, pushing Percy on faster through the timed section. He responded to my every aid and I couldn’t help but laugh as we flew through the finish line.
The moment of truth
I couldn’t believe my ears when my name was announced as the winner of the class – only a few months ago I hadn’t even thought I’d be competing with Percy, let alone achieving one of my horsey dreams!
The photo of me and Percy with our sash and trophy has pride of place in my bedroom and I show everyone who comes over. I have the best pony in the whole world and I wouldn’t swap him for anything!