The BE event on the Culden Faw estate at Hambleden is very much part of the local sporting calender and likewise the South Oxfordshire Hunt South Pony Club event, which follows hot on its heels some four weeks later, is eagerly anticipated. At a time when fewer Pony Clubs are hosting a level 5 (equivalent to BE Novice) event, alongside a level 4 (equivalent to BE 100) and a level 3 (BE 90) the SOHS branch of the Pony Club is keen to ensure that their members get a chance to compete at this level as preparation for Area Qualifiers, and ultimately the Pony Club Championships. Consequently a veritable army of pony club dads and mums, and the parents of former members are called upon to set up and run the event. In the week beforehand the estate was a hive of activity with fences being moved into position and new fences delivered – the BE event does not run at 90 level so SOHS has invested in new fences to supplement the steps and water complexes to create a 90cm course as the biggest demand is for this class. The art of fixing fences with ground anchors was quickly mastered by the willing dads, the fences were dressed, flagged and numbered by the mums, and a rota of fence judges, scorers, and stewards were briefed in readiness for a busy day of eventing.
After a day of much needed rain, event day dawned fair – and where could be more beautiful than Hambleden on a sunny Spring day? The “feel good factor” continued all day with beaming competitors and cheerful onlookers thoroughly enjoying themselves. Nor were competitors drawn only from the local pony clubs, as the Sparkford Vale were also represented and there were also open sections for non pony club members. Much to her delight local chiropractor Juliet Lock won one of the open 90cm classes. SOHS showed that they have strength in depth with their own members Maddie McTeague, Nell Hargrove, Rebecca Pope and Ella Kennedy putting in excellent performances with the team finishing in 6th place.
All in all it was a very happy and successful day of eventing, but the organising committee were very pleased to go home, put their feet up and have a well-deserved glass of wine!