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Journey to the Shetland Pony Grand National – The Trials Day

In our last blog post we met the lovely Layla and her gorgeous Shetland pony Rosie, whose dream was to take part in this year’s Shetland Pony Grand National. We caught up with them to find out how the all-important trials day went!

The trials day took place at Keysoe International arena on 4th April, a rather bleak spring day – but that didn’t faze the ponies or their riders who were all sprightly and raring to go! After all the entries were registered, the ponies and riders where given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the arena where the trial races would be taking place. The SPGN team said “Everyone got the chance to show their ponies the arena and the jumps before coming in to be assessed. We feel it’s important for the ponies & jockeys to be relaxed and know what is expected of them.”

The jockeys and ponies were then split into groups of 8. Each group then got the chance to race around the track while the SPGN team assessed the performance of both pony and rider. Rosie put in a stellar performance showing her fabulous speed and agility under the brilliant riding of Layla. It was a nerve-wracking time waiting to find out if they had done enough to impress the assessors – but they were both delighted to find out that they were through, ready and raring to take part in this 2022 season’s races! Layla’s Mum, Becky, said “They both had a ball of a time and did such a fantastic job!’…’They gave it their all, it was the most exciting yet nerve-wracking time but what a super experience, I was so proud of them…here’s to the races ahead!”

There was a fantastic turnout of over 55 jockeys, and the SPGN team said: “We had a very good group of jockeys and ponies try out this year’…’we are now very excited for the 2022 season to start.” The day was a huge success and sold over 85 spectator tickets! 40% of the proceeds were to be donated to the wonderful Bob Champion Trust. If you want to find out more about this great cause or make a donation head to www.bobchampion.org.uk

The first confirmed show date of the season is 7th May at the iconic Badminton Horse Trials. We cannot wait to see how Layla and Rosie get on this season, and we will be keeping you up to date with the latest news in their journey to the Shetland Grand National!

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