Thursday, 30 August 2012

Ibstock Country Fair

Concentrating Casper
Photography by Stephen Colson

Misbehaving Casper!
Photography by Laura Cooper

Saturday before last we all set off down the M1 again, this time headed for Leicestershire and Ibstock Country Fair.  It was a lovely easy drive, and we were there before we knew it - then we had to get on to the site.  This proved slightly difficult as we missed the very small track down to the field, so had to go and turn around.  Then we realised the lane we were on was a dead end, so had to turn around in the tiniest of gate holes - good job the lorry has a good lock on it!

Having got on to site and set up we went to look at the arena properly.  Stuart (the organiser) had warned us it wasn't that flat - and he wasn't wrong!  We tried to pick the best bit out to mark the circle on, but it was still pretty uneven.  Not to worry, I know Tinker can cope with difficult arenas and Casper has to learn at some point.  At least it was dry so that made us very happy!

We were actually very lucky with the weather.  The sky was blazing pink when the sun was setting so we thought it would be a good day on Sunday, and it was!  The sun shone all day which was lovely, and very welcome.  In the morning we had a practise with Casper in the arena.  He was very good, as he had been at our previous show, the Cheshire Game and Angling Fair, so we had high hopes for his show.  As we weren't due on until 2pm we had quite a bit of time to look around the show and see what was there.  There was loads of different things, including parrots on tricycles, giant vegetables, sleeping pigs, noisy goats, and some gorgeous baby guinea pigs - I am definitely going to have another pair one day, they are such lovely little animals.  There was one who looked like he'd been electrified - all his coat was frizzy and standing up on end!

There was also lurcher racing, and the track was right next to us - those dogs can shift!  Have a look at this little video to see how fast they go:

Before long it was time for Casper's show.  As the lurcher racing had finished I'd been using the track to warm Casper up.  Although I usually lunge him before a show, the track wasn't quite wide enough, so I rode him around as much as I could until I felt we'd done enough.  He seemed very calm and I was enjoying working him in the sunshine.  However, appearances can be deceptive, and as soon as we got into the arena I realised it was not going to be an easy show!  From the word go Casper was difficult - even when I was doing my introduction he was charging around the circle of his own volition, bucking and farting as he went!  Vaulting on him was very hard, although he did manage to balance himself in the arena, so that was one good thing!  He did a good dance, until we got to the chasing and rearing.  He managed the first couple well, but on the third he reverted to his old bad habit of turning round and charging off on his own - once again bucking and farting!  The little bugger did two full laps of the arena flat out, and there was absolutely nothing either myself or Helen could do besides watch him.  All I could do was talk on the mic, saying 'well Ladies and Gentlemen, this IS NOT in the script, but Casper seems to be having a jolly good time here at Ibstock Country Fair - so I hope you are too!'  Luckily Casper then ran into the circle, at which point Helen shut the gate - the beast was trapped!!  We then carried on the show as if nothing had gone wrong, butter wouldn't melt in Casper's mouth!  I have learnt my lesson the hard way: Casper MUST be lunged prior to any show, no excuses!!

After the debacle of the first show I was very much looking forward to the second show, and good old reliable Tinker.  He didn't disappoint, and did a lovely show from start to finish - I can actually and relax and enjoy the show for what it is on him!  Despite Casper's naughtiness he seems to have been a real hit with the audience - since coming back home I have received lots of photographs of him and praise for him.  You can see lots of photos from the weekend by clicking hereWe can't have done as bad a job as I initially thought, as we have already been asked to come back to Ibstock next year!  Fingers crossed Casper will behave this time...

We're off on a road trip this weekend.  Friday afternoon we will be leaving for EST Leeds Donkey Sanctuary Summer Fair on Saturday.  This was postponed from July due to bad weather, so we're hoping the sun will shine as much as it did at Ibstock!  After the shows we're heading off down to Lincolnshire for Wragby Show on Sunday - again, hoping for sunshine (and good behaviour from Casper!).  I'll let you know how we get on.

Love Rosie xx

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