I do believe that after several abortive attempts, spring has finally arrived. Yes, I know we have had daffodils, glimpses of sunshine, but only after copious amounts of water, snow, hail, etc. none of the latter conducive to riding. Those of us lucky enough to have an indoor arena have been weighed down with bulky clothes, thermals, and various styles of gloves all promising to keep us frost-free and warm! (They omitted the words ‘for five minutes’). Now we have been promised a few weeks of warm weather and blue skies, which, combined with the lighter evenings, makes excuses non-existent for not bringing your horses up to speed for forthcoming shows.

Talking of shows, I feel very privileged to be accorded the honour of judging the 25th-anniversary WES championship show. I hope as many of you as possible will put the date in your diary and attend, either astride or on foot! I am sure a large proportion of your readers started western riding through the efforts of WES. Over the years, the society has probably been ‘responsible’ for a lot of sales of the American Quarter Horse as during the early days there was only one annual Quarter Horse show and three major WES shows. The society also spawned the re-invention of British Reining. Most of the trainers in the UK attracted the majority of their first client base through the Western Equestrian Society. So please try to attend, if only to pay your respects to a society that has given so much to the sport of Western Riding.

On the judging side, after a 14-hour delay (thanks, EasyJet) I finally managed to get home from Kreuth, where I was at the NRHA Germany Easter show. It was my last FEI reining judging appointment and I think it will be the last time I conduct the NRHA Germany judging seminar. It’s been a fun trip, and while making myself redundant, I feel full of confidence in the ability of the new judging management of NRHA Germany to carry on the good work.

Not long to go now before our AQHA Youth Team (with a little help from WES) travels to Australia for the Youth World Cup. I would sincerely like to wish them all the very best. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the team members and I hope that they use it wisely and diligently. I also hope that they will come back full of enthusiasm to further the sport, but may they also remember the effort and finances that have been put into sending them on their way. Above all, I hope they never forget that while they can win with a grin, should they lose, then always lose with a smile!

Onwards and upwards,