Well, what a weekend that was with not one, but two of our riders named CYEF Pancyprian jumping champions!
In a thrilling finale to the Pancyprian jumping season, Anfisa took the top spot in Category B riding the supremely talented Curra Coevers Cruise, while Jay and Shy Boy were named Category A winners – a tremendous achievement especially considering this was the first season they had competed together at such a level, which also happens to be the highest level on the island. It was also a fantastic weekend for our youngest competitor, Melina, who did herself proud in her very first season competing on the wonderful Bobbie Dazzler.
Clearly, I am super proud of all our riders, especially as they have worked so hard in recent months, and they deserve to enjoy every moment of their success, but I’d also like to take this opportunity to say a few words about Jay and Shy Boy.
Jay was 12 years old when he first came to the Ranch, and he learned to ride on Tennessee and Pinto, like all the kids here. He then took one of our ponies on loan, Jeffar, before buying his own – a lovely little mare called Jubilee.
Although Jay and Jubilee left us for a while, spending time in a few other yards around the island, the two of them subsequently returned to begin training for the national competitions and they enjoyed some memorable years together before Jay outgrew her. He then started to ride and compete our Belgian warmblood Louisa as well as a younger warmblood, Lansi.
After leaving school, Jay worked at the Ranch for a year before joining the family business, Peter Morton Removals. For a short time, his riding had to take a back seat as he concentrated on other responsibilities, but this summer Jay took Shy Boy on a part-loan and the result has been nothing short of spectacular – trust me, it doesn’t get any better than being crowned Pancyprian Champion in the biggest class there is, and this weekend’s course was a big course.
For me, it was a special moment watching Jay lift that trophy because we have been on quite a journey together over the years. When he was younger, Jay was always very good with the horses and he liked to take care of them – he was always dedicated to the sport – but I think it’s fair to say that in his teenage years his attitude was a little difficult to deal with! Thankfully, in the last couple of years he has really matured and it has been like putting the final piece of the puzzle together. So, this weekend’s result was fantastic for Jay. It really was a dream come true for him to be announced the best rider in Cyprus at the highest level there is here. It was also a gratifying moment for me, not only as Jay’s trainer, but also as Shy Boy’s owner.
Shy Boy is a nine-year-old Polish warmblood and I originally found him for another client – also called Jay – who spent much of her childhood years at the Ranch. He was brought to my attention by a very good friend of mine, Kostadin Kalanov, who has impeccable taste and has pointed me in the direction of some very good horses over the years. Then, a little over a year ago, Jay told me she would be returning to the UK to continue her education and she decided the horse would be better off staying with me. Clearly, I’m delighted she thought that because Shy Boy is a really nice horse to work with and now he’s mine I’m pushing him that little bit further and he’s starting to show the ability I saw in him from the start.
Shy Boy is a multi-talented horse. He’s already proved to be very scopey in the jumping and it’s a sport he totally enjoys, but he also has great paces, and this year I would like to push on with his dressage career because it’s a discipline I think he could excel in to a high level. But above all that, he’s a really nice horse to have around the yard because he’s got such a good character. Trust me, you’ll be seeing a lot more of this boy in the years to come – and a lot more of our champions Jay and Anfisa too. Well done, guys. I couldn’t be more proud!