The Balanced Horse Feeds Blue Riband Show Hunter Champion 2000 and 2001

Photograph by Pleasure Prints

Well here we are again, another year, another article, what an honour! It just goes to show that if you want something so badly and live your life around your dreams then you will do it, no matter what barriers stand in your way or who tries to put you down! 2001 brought with it a disastrous start.

Foot and mouth reared its ugly head in February and knocked out the early shows, and personal matters meant that I wasn't going to show - thank goodness I decided not to go down that path. Basil went to Julie's at the beginning of January, looking a million dollars, with the intention of contending the early qualifiers.

Obviously that was never to materialise, therefore our first outing was at Southview, where we finished 3rd. With a lack of shows on offer our next show was NPS Area 5, Osbaldeston, where we qualified for Wembley. With only two RIHS qualifiers left, Basil travelled up to Lanark and took the championship, gaining full marks for performance along the way.

Hickstead was next on the cards and we were to repeat our eighth place gained in 2000. Having only competed at four shows and with the BSPS Championships looming large we thought it might be best to travel up to West of Scotland for an outing.

After working in well, Basil decided that he would show off to the crowd and finished last. Remember it's the taking part that counts! After West of Scotland he came home and so between then and BSPS Championships we spent a few days hacking out and preparing for the week ahead. Thursday was our first day of competing.

The Classic was a class I had never done on him before, so I was pleased to get through to phase three. After our free style show both judges awarded nines, the highest mark, and an overall 2nd. On the same day was phase 1 and 2 of the Blue Riband. Here we were again to get the highest marks, leading by four marks going in the Saturday finals. Friday was to be open day in Cooper Corporation ring.

In 2000 this particular ring had proved to be very unlucky for us, so I was very nervous about competing in it. However, there proved to be no need and with the highest mark for performance and full marks for conformation we won.

That evening's championship was an occasion when we must remember to laugh! Saturday morning was the final of the Blue Riband and another free style show. Again Basil's fabulous 'way of going' saw him gain the highest mark, making us the 153cms Blue Riband winners by six marks that night. Between Basil and Rocky (my other 15hh) Saturday night seemed like a daze and one of those times when nothing sinks in until the next day - Rocky winning the Packard Bell Show Hunter Championship and Basil being crowned Blue Riband Champion for the second year in succession.

Again so many thanks to everyone at Balanced Horse Feeds for all of their fantastic sponsorship and lovely prizes that I received just in time to wear at Wembley. Winning at Wembley just over a month later ended the season I will never forget. I always dreamed of winning and thought if I was ever lucky enough to, that I would be really calm, but when 902 was called out I fell apart. Never mind, everyone is allowed to cry every now and then. In the championship that evening I kept thinking that at any minute I would wake up, just in time to go off for exercising, but that never happened, so I really must have won! Basil truly is an amazing horse.

Although he is not always the easiest, there is no nicer horse to ride when he 'goes'. Thus is the reason he will definitely never leave New Intax and although he is only going to be eight next year his future in the show ring lies in the hands of what happens over the winter, hopefully he will have as much success in the dressage arena. There are so many people that I want to thank (if I miss anyone out I'm sorry!). Many thanks to the BSPS for providing the BSPS Chps - one of the most spectacular shows today.

To all the judges who thought we were worthy of winning, to the well wishers at BSPS and Wembley (you all know who you are).

To Michelle for her 'behind the scenes' work; to Denise for all her help and encouragement at BSPS and HOYS; to everyone at Westwood for their kind works; to all my brilliant clients at home for their unwavering support; to Helen for her endless hard work at home, her loyalty, friendship and regularly used shoulder to cry on (ta babes); to my sister Lauren for never allowing me to get too carried away; to Suzie for everything; to Julie for allowing me to do what I want, her guidance when things looked dull, her willingness to teach and pass on her knowledge and her amazing attitude to everything.

But most importantly to the two people who really help make it all happen - Mum and Colin, you have given me so many opportunities to fulfil my dreams, never allowed me to take it all for granted, been there when it all went wrong and made sure you were the first to praise when it all went right, one day I might be able to pay you back (I did say might!). And not forgetting the horse that has made it all come to fruition, Basil, truly the best horse I'll ever have and destined to be a life long companion.

Thanks Bas. Kris McCall