Julie Ashby’s Championships: Glen Miller and Ladypop Kangaroo..

Well there it came and went again, for another year…the RDA UK National Championships. These were as well attended and brilliant, as ever.

The number of competitors and horses attending this prestigious event in the RDA calendar seemed in number, more than ever.

What’s more, the standard of turnout and equestrianism was jaw dropping and perhaps in some ways the best year yet – and this is my 6th year of qualifying and taking part.

Horses and ponies of all shapes and sizes were put through their paces by competent riding talent, at every level. I am reliably informed that Paralympic talents scouts mingle and observe there; possibly picking out our future Paralympian competitors of the future .It is a very exciting thought.

This year, I was just thrilled to actually have made it there. After last year’s Nationals event, I was diagnosed with cancer requiring massive life-changing surgery. I was back riding, in walk only, after 3 months and cantering after 6. Therefore at so many levels, it gave me hope and incentive to stretch my goals, as I had done years ago when first riding with RDA.

I met my equine partner 2 weeks before the event and had a 40 minute getting to know each other session. Ladypop Kangaroo (Roo to her friends) is a beautiful 15.2 HH mare. Incredibly at age 24, she is feisty, strong and knows what’s what! Her owner had cheerily told me that she behaved more like 4 than 24 and he wasn’t far wrong!

We would not meet again until the day of the competition! I was planning to compete in 2 classes, my grade 3 championship class and grade 3 dressage to music. I measured her paces, watching the footage my partner took and planned and practised my music with another horse that I ride locally. This would mean that I would ride the music ( she had never experienced music before)with her for the very first time, in the massive indoor arena, that has seating for over 600 people and a restaurant and bar overlooking the arena. My horse had never been to this event before and consequently had never seen this either – and I did wonder if I was totally crazy.

No not crazy….it is all just life enhancing to me and absorbs my concentration in a way almost nothing else is able to do.

I may not have been placed in the top 4 this year, but I can honestly say that my four-legged partner and I had a blast.

As it turned out, she loved my choice of the Glen Miller theme for our music test and she simply could not have tried any harder for me than she did.

It was all quite simply magical and so special for us both, in a funny sort of way. I would not have changed a thing.


Page Last Updated: September 18, 2018