The gymkhana at Springhill Stables was held on the morning of the 15th of January, just before term began. Club members travelled to the yard together and met at the clubhouse to hear what Fiona, our instructor, had in store for the day. There was also a chance for members to be introduced and start getting to know one another.
Everybody took it in turns to form teams and ride five of the riding school’s lovely horses. Harry, Buster, Jambi, Bailey and Oscar found themselves caught up in Pony Club-style games including a relay race, bending and “the tortoise and the hare”, where you have to ride both as slow and as fast as you can in one race. A particularly tricky event included riding to one end of the school and picking up a ball, then bringing it back to
a bucket at the other end and repeating the whole thing to fetch three balls. For those riders lucky enough to have a turn on the littler Oscar and Jambi it wasn’t too hard, but aiming the ball into the bucket from the taller horses was more of a challenge: several riders had to jump on and off their horses to pick up the balls and try again! Luckily the horses were very patient with us, staying slow for less experienced riders and (for the most part) speeding up when asked. Even Harry, known for having a slight aversion to speed, won a couple of races.
After a particularly exciting final relay race, involving changes of horses and riders over four heats, the horses were turned out and their riders returned to the clubhouse for sandwiches and cake. Everybody thoroughly mingled and the kind of incredibly horsey conversations you just can’t have with your college friends began. There was much excitement over the possibility of a competitive novice team to be formed one day in the future. Finally rosettes were given out (enough for everybody!) and the riders headed
home. All in all, the gymkhana was really enjoyable and a big thank you to the organisers and Springhill staff is due!
Report written by Caitlin Mayes