Thursday, 14 June 2012

Rawdon Fun Day

Last weekend it was sunglasses and shorts, this weekend it was wellies and waterproofs!  We were due to leave on Friday afternoon for Rawdon Fun Day on Saturday, but on talking to Mark, the organiser, on Friday morning they were unfortunately planning to either cancel the day entirely, or postpone it to Sunday.  We kept all our fingers, toes and hooves crossed that it would go ahead as planned, and by midday we were on!  So Tinker, Casper, Helen, Jess and myself trundled off as planned - hoping for at least a break in the rain, if not some sunshine!

On arrival it was clear why Mark had been so concerned.  The field was totally sodden, and absolutely ruined where vehicles had been trying to get through.  We got as far as we could but then had to unload the horses before having a tractor tow us into position - never a good omen!  Having set the tent and stables up (far quicker than at the Yorkshire Game Fair!) we went to mark the circle out and assess the arena.  One word - squelchy.  It was the most perfect size, round, and relatively flat, but just very, very wet.  We would definitely be having to move the circle in between the two shows.  Having got everything set up, and the horses settled down (two bales of straw just to try and keep them a bit dry), it was time for bed - and time to listen to the rain batter the lorry all night...

Come the morning and it was still raining.  I took a very excitable Casper for some work and it wasn't long before his lovely white legs were covered in mud - so much for his bath!  Having worked him in the arena a bit we'd finished just before the show opened - with cannons!  The cannon blasts were in series' of three, with each bang getting progressively louder.  The first one was ok, the second one made me jump, and the third blast was so incredibly loud it set off some car alarms!  I can genuinely say now that both my horses are bomb proof - they didn't even flinch!

Ben was also at the Fun Day with his Eagles and Vultures, and having him at a show always makes me enjoy it more.  Once the rain had stopped (which it did briefly) the conditions were perfect for his birds, and his first show went really well.  The birds flew spectacularly as the wind coming up the hill was quite strong and ideal for them.  Not so ideal for me though, and it was still blowing a gale as Casper and I went in for the first show.  Everything went well until the start of Casper's dance.  Helen asked for the music and no music came.  She then asked again only to realise that her microphone wasn't working either.  Neither was mine.  So, with no music, and no mics, we carried on as best we could.  And then it started raining.  A lot.  We ploughed on through with Helen and myself both shouting as best we could, but the audience just couldn't hear what we were saying over the wind and the rain.  Despite the setbacks people stayed around the arena and when we got to the final freestyle we set everybody off clapping a rhythm for me to vault to.  Needless to say the vaulting was a bit dicey.  Casper had had enough of the weather by this point (he doesn't like the rain at the best of times!), and showed it by putting his head down and back up - not ideal for vaulting!  I managed a full freestyle on him though (still just to the clapping - thank you to everyone who did!), but I have to admit I was very glad to get out of the arena by the end of what seemed like a very long show!

We'd only just got back to the stable tent when the music came back on and the commentator could be heard again!  It turned out that a trailer door had slammed shut in the wind severing a power cable which had caused the whole system to short circuit.  Typical!  By this point the rain had stopped as well, so we were just hoping for a better time of it for the second show!

Ben's second show also went really well, with the birds again flying beautifully - and then it was our turn.  The weather had broken and during the show we even had brief spells of sunshine - I'm sure I saw my shadow at one point!  The show went through very well, with the only problem being the wind.  My dress really isn't very suitable for windy days - all I can say is it's a good job I have very big knickers on!  You can see from the photos what problems I was having - even standing on the ground it wouldn't stay down.  We also had a small break in proceedings just before Tinker's dance as the Air Ambulance was due to leave.  We were asked if we wanted to take Tinker out of the arena whilst the helicopter flew out, but no need for that with the Tink - I didn't even hold him and he stood like a rock even as the helicopter went right over us!  The rest of the show went really well, and it was great to finish on a high.  Lots of people followed us back to the stable tent afterwards for meet and greet - again, I'm sure this is Tinker and Casper's favourite part of the day!

Before long we were packed down and ready to be towed off the field.  It seemed a shame to be going as they were in the midst of a brilliant welly wanging competition, and I'd have loved to have had a go!  You can see hundreds (literally!) of photos of the day by clicking here.  Despite the weather and power cut we had a lot of fun, and it's good to know we can carry on with the show regardless.  We've got a long drive tomorrow as we're off down to Guildford for Abinger Medieval Fair.  It'll be a bit different to usual there though, as instead of doing two one horse shows we're doing one two horse show - the same as we did at the private wedding show back in May.  I'll let you know how we get on!

Love Rosie x  

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