Friday, 6 July 2012

Brocklesby Country Fair

 Photography by JFK at

 Photography by JFK at 

Last Saturday Helen, myself, Tinker and Casper set off for Brocklesby Country Fair where we were going to be performing on Sunday.  We were minus Jess as she lives relatively close so was planning to meet us there on Sunday morning.  Arriving on site we were told we would probably need to be towed into position (as at Rawdon Fun Day a few weeks ago).  However, I floored the lorry and we got on with no problems at all!  Having set everything up we went off to mark out the arena - once we'd found the flattest, driest part!  Unfortunately the ground was quite soggy, but we found a spot that seemed ok and marked the circle out.

Back at the lorry we were joined by Richard from The Sheep Show for supper.  One of my favourite things about the shows is meeting people from other displays and getting to know them over the years - it's always lovely when you arrive at a show and bump into familiar faces!  Ben was at the show too and all three of us were next to one another in the Countryside Area - all very sociable!

Following supper Helen and I took Casper and Tinker out for a little exploration to see what we could see.  As it was nearly 10.30pm we couldn't see that much!  We pootled about the showground and although I took quite a few photos (Casper next to the steam gallopers for instance) none of them came out as it was just too dark!  We meandered back up to arena and had a little ride round just to show the boys where they would be working the next day, and then finally back to the lorry and into bed.

It rained ALL night.  Constantly and very very heavily.  In the morning everything was absolutely soaked, and the roof of the tent was practically resting on the horses backs and bottoms it was that weighed down with water!  We squelched up to the arena to reassess the ground, and although it was completely saturated we decided that we'd be ok to do the shows as planned.  We'd just come to this decision when the organisers came and asked us whether we thought we'd be safe to perform, or if we wanted to pull out.  Unfortunately, a number of other acts had had to cancel due to the arena conditions and weather, and they were convinced they'd end up with an empty arena for the entire day.  But the show must go on and on we went!

Casper had been a nightmare to warm up as I had taken him out of sight of Tinker, and he always panics a bit when he's on his own somewhere new.  He has separation anxiety which we have been working on, and he is getting better, but it's a very slow process!  Having charged about on the end of the lunge line for about fifteen minutes, plastering everything in mud, and not concentrating whatsoever, I was dreading the show.  I needn't have worried though as he went in and performed impeccably - as if the last half hour hadn't happened!  I was so very pleased with him, as the ground was extremely deep and very difficult to work in.  He tried so hard throughout the show, and even did his catch first time despite the high winds!  We were actually very lucky with the weather, and only got wet from the ground up, not from the sky down! 

Tinker's turn soon came around and we had an interesting moment whilst warming up.  We'd been twiddling about at the bottom of the large car park field before cantering up the long hill.  Tink was cantering smoothly up the hill and I was looking over to my right watching what was going on with the cars (and not really concentrating!), when all of a sudden Tinker shot forwards and charged off!  I grabbed his reins and looked round to find a pack of hounds chasing us!  The hunt had just been parading in the arena and were back in the car park loading up to leave when the hounds had spotted Tinker and myself and taken off after us.  The whipper in was running after the hounds shouting at them and trying to get them back under control.  Tinker has never been hunting, so luckily he didn't get wound up by the kerfuffle, but it was a very funny few minutes!

Our second show went through really well again, although Tinker did struggle in the deep ground as well.  Helen and Jess had done a brilliant job of moving the circle (without markings) onto a new piece of ground, as Casper and I had completely ruined the first circle, but it didn't take long to churn that one up too!  Following both shows everything was absolutely filthy - there was mud everywhere.  Me, Helen, Jess, both horses, costumes, props, tack, bunting everything - covered.  It has taken me a long long time to get everything clean since!  I have managed it though which is a good job as we're off to EST Leeds' Summer Fair this weekend.  EST is a charity which provides riding therapy for special needs and disabled children - using donkeys!  I'm very much looking forward to seeing all the donkeys, and last time Casper saw one he was fascinated - he just couldn't seem to decide what it was.  We're all hoping for sunshine for this weekend, as shows in the mud are much too hard work!  I'll let you know how we get on, but in the meantime you can see all the photos from a very muddy Brocklesby by clicking here.

Love Rosie xx