Well, after a mammoth 8 hour drive in the new truck we arrived safely and everyone travelled well. Wentworth is in the western district of New South Wales, so a fair way from Inman Valley. My wife ,Kate, has a family connection with the area and she was the first Miss Wentworth showgirl. As this was the 20th anniversary of that milestone in her life we felt duty bound to return for the show ( plus the mother in law said we had to!). I took two Showjumpers and the kids took a pony each , plus a pony hack that Kate was to ride. We settled down to a cosy night in the truck, the four of us in swags, having bedded down the horses in their stalls.

The first day of competition, Kate and I went in the dressage, just prelim, Nick had a rider class and a pony class and Briony had a pony club best presented class( she is 6 and blonde and loves to have things pretty). Nick won both his classes as did Briony, very happy kids. The thing with these two kids is they have fun on their ponys regardless of any ribbons they might win. Kate and I finished 3rd in our respective classes in a field on 30 +, so a decent result. I went off to the showjump ring after that for the 75cm class with the baby, Oscar, lost my way round the course, should have taken a cut lunch and a waterbag with me it took that long (the dressage took so long I missed walking the course) . Still, he jumped well. Out in the 1m class with Itchy ( I did manage to walk the course so no excuse) I tell you 8 hours is a long way to drive to fall off in the second round for the day!!! So the ground at Wentworth is nice and soft, the rails are a bit hard though!

Saturday is another day. Briony didn't have any thing on so she went with her grandma for the day. Nick had three more pony hack classes and the musical chairs for a bit of fun run around. He won all three hack classes and got to ride off in the championship round, so a big thrill for him. I'm sure the hi-light of him day was the musical chairs. It was for under 12's , Nick is nine, he got all the way to the last chair and missed by a bees whisker for a second ribbon.

Kate , after spending hours plaiting and grooming gets out in the ring only to find the pony is as lame as a cat on a hot tin roof! Witch was good anyway, because she got to spend more time helping Nick. I had Itchy in the 105m class first off, and he jumped like a champ, just had an unlucky rail(and I didn't get lost or fall off). HOWEVER, the 115m class was a little different!!

Started well, got a bit close to the third and had a rail ( but jumping well, this is his first 115m class) all the way to the 8th things are going very well. A related line, 6 strides to a 1 stride double , strait , spread , strait, heading into the grandstand . Two strides out from the double and Itchy has seen the crowd , I'm thinking gee this is going to come up well. WRONG, ITCHY GOES WEST and I come off quicker than a honeymooners pants!!! Two falls, two days. A thousand kilometre round trip to bite the dirt!! That's horses for you, still, I was quite happy with the way we went. The kids had fun, came home with some ribbons, a trickle of prise money, and some stories to tell.

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Comment by Geoffrey Pannell on August 31, 2010 at 5:39pm
Thanks Jackie, no bruises, lame pony is fine now. Does seem to be a family tradition with the horses. I remember years ago, when dad was still riding, an American tourist came out with us and I heard him ask dad ( in my best southern drawl) " So, how did youall get started riding ." Dad replied " My father started me off. His father started him, and I quess his father started him."
Nick came home from school one day a bit upset ,as a boy had teased him about riding horses, saying that's what girls do ( not a lot of boys riding in shows Nicks age) . I told him of all the males that ride in our family, me, my dad, my two brothers, Kat's brother, his sons ,her father and thats just the immediate family!! Cheers Geoffrey
Comment by Jackie Cochran on August 31, 2010 at 9:16am
Poor Geoffry. May your bruises heal quickly.
Good for Nick. Sounds like you are raising a wonderful horseman.
My sympathies for Kate for her lame pony.
Congratulations to Briony. A promising horsewoman, boy, Geoffrey, your family does spawn horsemen and horsewomen, doesn't it? You lucky guy.
The joys of driving forever across a big country. I hope the traffic cooperated with you.

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