Royal Highland Show 2010

Date posted: 25th June 2010


ClassNovice riding horse mare or gelding

Yesterday, thursday 24th June I took my 4 year old gelding Tjipke to compete at the RHS. This is the first time I have entered one of my horses in this show and as always was a little anxious about how the judge would feel about having a Friesian in his or her class. I would have loved to have taken Oscar but no stallions were allowed to compete in this class and so I have spent this season preparing Tjipke for the show.

The judge was extremely complimentary about my boy and had nothing bad to say about him, some of her comments were “he is absolutely stunning”, “has masses of potential”, “just too handsome”, expects that “he will be a fantastic dressage horse” and although she was quite nervous about riding him to begin with, after riding him said he had given her “one of the best rides she has had”. So some excellent comments but to my utter disappointment she also added “he is in the wrong class!”. The class was novice riding horse, mare or gelding which is exactly what Tjipke is and he performed beautifully. Perhaps I am wrong in thinking that the definition of a riding horse is a horse who is or can be ridden. Also the word novice, I am aware that the definition of a novice riding horse in the showing world is one who has not won X amount but when 19 and 20 year old horses who have potentially been working for 15, 16, or 17 years can be entered as a novice riding horse along with 4 year olds who have only just begun their working life it really makes the whole thing quite ridiculous.

The sad thing is that unless you have a heavy, bay Dutch warmblood in a riding horse class in Britain then there is little chance that you will win or even be placed, even if your warmblood is a veteran you are still eligible to win the novice riding horse class. Essentialy what the judge had implied was that the only thing this horse had to change was his breed!

If the judges would say to me that they simply do not like Friesian horses or that they do not like my horse or that my horse did not behave as he or she should have then I would accept that as his or her opinion but it is so frustrating when my horse has performed well, looks great, beautiful movement etc and very importantly the judge can not fault him but then to not be placed because he is not the typical breed in these classes is just such a bitter disappointment.

I should say that although there were much older horses in this particular class, the winner was indeed worthy of 1st place and was a true novice at 4 years old.

The months of preparation have not been in vein however as Tjipke has proven himself to be a an absolute star, a true performer and I was so proud of him at the show. At only 4 years old I trust him entirely and surprisingly this was one of the worst youngsters I have ever broken as he was so nervous about everything and really not true to breed at all but he is now one of the most loyal and trusting of horses, a real solid riding horse with no fear and will do anything for his rider once he has formed a bond. He is a truly amazing horse who has made me very proud.

The video clip below was taken of our class at the RHS, do feel free to let me know if you think Tjipke does not belong in this class and please do tell me why as to me he certainly did not feel out of place.

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