So here we are again.  The season of 2013.   A big year for the gingers as we hope to gain a place on team GB for the Pony Worlds 2013.

A bit late in starting the blog, we are currently at Royal Windsor having already completed Ashfields but lack of 3G at Ashfields meant I was a little out of touch with the world!

So Wednesday 1st May we packed up and hit the road to Ashfields this time with the new boy on board, Josh, for his first ever party with the gingers.  All on board feeling much cheerier than 12 months previous when we were preparing to live knee-deep in mud for 5 days!!

First 2 days at Ashfields were quite chilled out with Sara schooling the ponies and just getting the general jobs done. Weather was fantastic and we were all working on the tan!!

Dressage day was Josh's time to shine and he sure did. Sara drove a great test and achieved a score of 50.99, giving us the under 65 dressage score we needed in order to qualify Josh for the worlds.

Marathon day on Saturday.  The weather was not so great but probably a blessing for all the horses. After achieving a qualifying dressage score Sara then had to keep Josh in the team for the marathon and cones in order to qualify him. Bless him I bet he didn't know what had hit him! But he did a great job and really didn't put a foot wrong. Pip was a little put out as normally he takes it nice and easy and let's Shuffle do most of the work but having the new boy in meant Pip had to help him out!  As for Shuff, she thought she was on holiday. She was driven as a single a couple of times and ate plenty of grass. I think she was oblivious to the fact that she had been left behind on marathon day! Sara drove  the marathon exactly as planned - nice and steady to give Josh a good first outing and to complete all in one piece.

Finishing 3rd on the marathon but still retaining overall 1st position we were all in high spirits, except Josh who spent the afternoon fast asleep! Only joking ... after a couple of hours rest he was walked out and was full of himself, clearly pleased he had made it round his first marathon.

Sunday cones day weather brightened up and after more washing socks and plaiting we had the cones. Josh again in the team with Shuffle taking it easy in her stable.  3 down in the cones and a few time faults was a shame but was a tricky course with very few double clears over the day. However we maintained first place and Team Howe took home a big red rosette, a trophy and the relief of knowing that all ponies are now qualified for the worlds.

So back to Bradbourne Sunday evening, Monday was spent re-packing the lorry and making sure Shuffle did some work after her holiday at Ashfields!

Tuesday morning back on the road this time off to see the Queen!!  After the usual palaver that we have at Royal Windsor of trying to park and set the lorry, a trailer a jeep, a caravan and 2 tents on to the size of a postage stamp we finally get set up. The weather was superb today with quite a few people showing off pasty white legs! After a jig jog out with the ponies they all had a much needed bath.  A yummy spaghetti bolognaise for dinner tonight made by Sarah Mac's parents and then off to bed for a good nights sleep ready to be up bright and early for the trot up tomorrow morning.