Saturday, 4 August 2012

July cancellations and what I did instead!

July has unfortunately been the most disheartening month I have had in a long time.  It was due to be our busiest month, and I was really looking forward to getting the show out and about.  However, it was not to be as the great British weather conspired against us and every single show cancelled.  I totally understand why the decision to cancel each show was made, and I also know it is one that organisers' never want to have to make, but it did leave us at a bit of a loose end!  We never stand still for long though, and July turned out to be quite busy after all!

Sunday 8th should have seen us at EST Leeds Summer Fair.  On learning of the cancellation however I decided to go back home (Oxfordshire) for the weekend.  Whilst home that weekend I managed to view two horseboxes (we are desperately in need of a new lorry - I don't want a repeat of what happened on the motorway on our way to Abinger Medieval Fair!), but unfortunately neither of them quite fitted the bill.  It was the first time I had been home since about January, so it was lovely to catch up with friends and family.  To top it off EST managed to rearrange their Summer Fair to Saturday 1st September, when we will be attending and hoping for some sunshine!

The following weekend we should have been up in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, for their Garden and Country Festival.  This was an outright cancellation unfortunately with no rearrangement.  It was going to be a two day show which we were really looking forward to - it's always nice to get properly settled in somewhere for a few days!  As I suddenly had another free weekend I rang Becca (Jive Pony) to see what she was up to.  They had a show down in Essex, the Tendring Hundred Show, and were due to perform their duo show.  

A little story here now... I was part of Jive Pony for six years before moving up to Yorkshire in October 2011 and setting up Galloping Acrobatics.  Throughout the 2011 season Becca and I trained up Amy to replace me on the team when I left.  Amy is an ex-vaulter who is now an aerialist by trade (she performs on the aerial  hoop, silks and corde lisse) and was offered the amazing job of performing at the Olympics opening ceremony (you may have seen her - she was one of the Mary Poppins'!).  Unfortunately this was slap bang in the middle of the show season, but as it was too good an opportunity to pass up, Becca asked me to cover a few shows with her.  One of these was the Tendring Hundred Show in Essex.  However, we were booked to be in Kirkcudbright so I was unable to help.  Becca then got in touch with Lucy (the current English vaulting champion) to see if she'd learn the show and perform at Tendring.  Lucy learnt all the show very quickly, but having never worked on the microphone before found the commentary quite difficult.  This is the point at which I rang Becca to say my show had been cancelled, and before I knew it I found myself driving back down south again to go on a Jive Pony show as their commentator!

It was like I'd never been away.  Having spent so long learning my new lines for Galloping Acrobatics (and trying not to revert to Jive Pony scripts which seem ingrained in my head) I had to forget all my words and reinstate the old ones!  It was lovely commentating for a show without having to work a horse at the same time - and it's definitely easier to talk without huffing and puffing from having just finished vaulting!  The two shows went really well, despite difficult ground conditions, and we didn't even get rained on - always a bonus!  It was wet though, the stables were a virtual quagmire which meant stealing some extra straw bales from around the arena in an attempt to bed them down better.  We decided it didn't really matter though as the bales were so wet nobody was sitting on them anyway!  Having dried off and packed down it was back to Becca's then straight back up to Yorkshire for me - I covered some miles that day!

The weekend after was scheduled to be the CLA Game Fair - one of my most favourite shows.  We have done the CLA every year, and always thoroughly enjoy it.  Last year we had four horses (Tinker, Casper, Ronan and Navvy) and performed three shows per day, but that really was too much and this year Becca had decided to cut down.  We were due to do just two solo shows per day - one as Jive Pony with Becca vaulting on Navvy and me commentating, and one as Galloping Acrobatics with me vaulting on Casper and Helen commentating.  We were all so looking forward to it, and were devastated when the news came through that they'd had to cancel.  So... What to do instead?  Go to the circus of course!

We'd been trying to all get together to go to Giffords Circus since early May when they started touring, but it had proved impossible so far.  All of a sudden we found we all had a free weekend so tickets were arranged and off we all went!  There was quite a few of us and it really was a bit like an old school Jive Pony reunion.  Aside from myself and Becca, there was Tim (whom none of us have seen since last September as he has hung up his clown shoes so hasn't been out this season) and Alex, Gemma (who we used to teach and is now clowning) and Mark (who we met at Blakesley Show in 2010 and built a lovely school for us to train in at Becca's - I really miss it!).  To top it all of my Mum came too which was lovely!

The show was fantastic, I absolutely loved it.  I urge anyone and everyone who lives in and around the Cotswolds to go and see it - more than once!  I'll hopefully be going back later in the season with Ben - if we can find the time...

That was on the Saturday and on the Sunday I had a couple more lorries to go and look at.  Once again they weren't quite what I was after, but I ended up right next to Longleat Safari Park, where Jimmy (a very good friend of Ben's) runs the 'Hunter's of the Sky' show.  I managed to talk my way in to free admission to the park and set about tracking Jimmy and his show down.  My timing was perfect, and I had a really good seat throughout the display.  It's always nice to see other birds flying, I get so used to all the ones at home that I forget how much fun it is to sit in an audience and watch a show where you don't know what's going to happen next.  At one point Jimmy had four vultures and seven kites flying all at once - I didn't know where to look!

It was a long drive back to Yorkshire from Longleat, but I did have a stop at Warwick Castle to pick up some eagle feathers.  The break in the journey was just what I needed, as by the time I got home I'd driven over five hundred miles since the morning!

The next weekend and there were no shows booked in, so no cancellations!  Early in the week though I had a call from Laura at the Devil's Horsemen asking if I was available at the weekend and would I like to work.  Never one to turn a show down I found myself on board their lorry (which I met at Carlisle so didn't have to drive down south again!) and headed up to Glamis Castle for their two day Countryside Festival.  We were going to perform one jousting show and one equestrian show on each day.  I was really looking forward to the equestrian show, as I would be working the standing saddle on Cuthbert (as I did at HOYS back in 2009) before trick riding on him too.  You can see a little bit of one of the shows in the video below.

All the shows over the two days went really well, and I really enjoyed myself.  It's so nice to be on a show where you have no responsibility!  Trick riding is similar but different to vaulting, like the difference between cross country and show jumping, and it's always nice to do something a bit different for a change.  Cuthbert was brilliant as usual, although much faster than either of my two - it always takes me a couple of runs to get used to the speed!  

I also caught up with a good friend of Ben's at the show, Mark Wylie, who does the brilliant Drakes of Hazard dog and duck show - and whose sister make delicious shortbread!  One of my favourite things about the shows is catching up with different people at each event, and why I was so disappointed about all the cancellations.  However, as you can see I kept very busy and am now looking forward to our next show, Ibstock Country Fair on Sunday 19th August - lets just hope it doesn't have to cancel!  I'll let you know how we get on, but in the meantime you can see some photos from the past month here.

Love Rosie xx


  1. Fantastic photos and video and great write up! It's going to be summer weather right through to about January now to make up for the last few months!!!!

  2. It had better be! You've been very busy too I see, what with weddings, donkeys, clicker training etc... Hope everything is going as well for you as it sounds! xx