I don't quite understand the rules of the Mini Major class, other than the fact that there are teams of two - a young rider and an adult in the ring at the same time, trying to complete the course as fast as possible one after the other.
What I can tell you though is that it's exhilarating to watch - those ponies can't half shift!
As I understand it, time faults are added if you knock a fence or refuse one.
Talk about scope!
This pony and rider pair were incredibly speedy, making turns and direction changes that would have been more normally seen at a Gymkhana.
They were on track to go clear with a very fast time, then the rider lost her stirrup and balance a bit after landing one jump and you could see her start to slip off as they headed for the next.
She wasn't having any of that however, and although her pony swerved off to the left, about to refuse the next, she pulled her back on track and they jumped it...
...but she didn't quite manage to stay on board!
|My favourite aspect of this set of photos is the guy in the background throwing his hands up in shock XD|
In a brilliant twist of fate, all was not lost. That had been the last fence of the course and technically, as the pony had landed before she hit the ground, the fall didn't count, and based on their brilliant time, they were now in the lead! 😄 I can't think of many instances where you fall off and still end up leading!
They were both fine, and got a big round of applause from the audience as they carried on.
...but alas, it was not to be as the following team were even faster and took the title.
They came a very credible second though!
The winners were asked to wait until the other horses had left the ring before they went for their lap of honour, to avoid the inevitable carnage of too many excited ponies in one place. XD
At one point the pony was trying to knaw on the person putting the winner's rug on and the announcer boomed out, 'If you could NOT kill the sponsor right now, that would be great'
Ah, ponies. 😝
After they left, the ground crew got busy with packing up all the fencing, as the next class was another Heavy Horse one, this time the Unicorn, with three horses. By now it was getting a bit late, and as none of us wanted to miss our buses, we headed for the exit with heavy hearts.
We had just enough time for hugs and a selfie or two. (please, for the love of ponies, ignore whatever it is that my face does in photographs 🙈😅)
It felt like we still had so much more to see, but as we'd been there for about eight and a half hours already, we knew it would have taken us forever to see everything.
Maybe next year... 🤞