Every year, the Cyprus Equestrian Federation schedules a number of development shows as a precursor to national competitions – and last weekend George’s Ranch had the honour of hosting one of these shows.
As ever, everyone gave their all and while some of our more experienced Ranchers used the last development show of the year to hone their skills, it was the young and less experienced riders who really shone on the day – showing marked improvements in both dressage and jumping. Our mini-Ranchers also excelled in the cross poles with every one of them coming away with clear rounds.
Of course, special mention must go to our wonderful horses, especially Lily Milan who helped Ella achieve first place in the dressage, and Gina (Genie in a Bottle) and Cruise (Curra Covers Cruise) who were double winners in the jumping rounds with Gina flying into first place in the 55-60cms and 65-70cms, ridden by Eva and Anna respectively, and Cruise, ridden by Anfisa, literally cruising into the top spot in both the 90cms and Accumulator rounds. Well done, all! You were blinding!
Although it was never the intention of George’s Ranch to enter the competition circuit, over the years it became a natural progression for our riders, many of whom wanted to test their skills within a show environment and emulate their heroes competing internationally. As a result, we listened to what our Ranchers had to say, took heed of their ambitions and ran with them.
As a result, in the ten years that George’s Ranch has been competing nationally we’ve produced Children’s Champions in both dressage and jumping as well in the junior and senior classes. And last year when Cyprus won the prestigious FEI World Dressage Challenge, the top qualifying equestrians all came from George’s Ranch. That was an immensely proud moment for all of us.
Of course, while it is always nice to win, there are multiple benefits to be had from competing. Not only are shows great fun, but they also teach children responsibility – after all the competition is only a small part of the day and there is tack to clean and horses to care for before they even set foot in the arena. Shows are also character building because horse riding is not simply a solo pursuit, but a team sport and just as a person might have an off day, a horse might have one too and that has to be accepted, understood and forgiven. This is why the development shows are an invaluable arena for young and less experienced riders to learn how competitions work and how to behave in such an environment.
Although the development shows are unaffiliated, they are subject to the same strict controls and rules as the national shows. Therefore, as the only stables registered with the national federation within the Paphos region, we have to make sure that everything is done by the book, right down to hiring the renowned course builder Chris Joplin from the UK. Trust me, setting up jumps is not simply a matter of sticking up a few fences. It is a job that requires skill and knowledge to ensure the safety of both the riders and their horses.
Now that the summer is well and truly upon us, it is time to give our competition horses a break, which means there will be no more show news until August when we will host a Pre-Season Show Jumping evening. Watch this space for more details. In the meantime, we will continue to offer quality hacks and first-class lessons as well as plenty of other events for horse lovers and riders of all ages and all levels – starting with Summer Pony Club this Tuesday.
The Summer Pony Club is an annual three-day event at George’s Ranch packed with fun, games and, of course, pony rides for all our young Ranchers and their friends. For more details and availability of places, please contact Michelle.
Happening later in the summer, we have the the 4* International Dressage Judge Peter Hansaghy flying in to conduct a dressage clinic at the Ranch, and we’ll also be welcoming Carl Hester protégé Amy Woodhead whose sister Holly, was recently shortlisted to represent Great Britain in the eventing class at Rio, which is a stunning achievement!
As ever, watch this space for details about Peter and Amy’s dressage clinics plus other events coming up as well as news on our riders and horses. And if you’re coming to visit us anytime soon, make sure you wear sunscreen!