Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Ilkley Carnival

All three photos by Karen Mitchell at The Peppermint Gallery

Sunday afternoon and having given both the horses a deep clean with the hot shower and LOTS of shampoo and conditioner Helen, myself, Tinker and Casper set off for Ilkley, where we were due to perform at their carnival on the Bank Holiday Monday.  Jess was working so would be joining us there in the morning.  On arrival we squeezed the lorry through the gateway, and promptly put our new lorry chocks to use - no mountaineering at this show (unlike last week)!  The arena was once again a perfect size for us, and dead flat so just ideal.  There was to be a five-a-side football tournament in the morning, and there were two pitches marked out in the arena which we soon decorated with our own arena markings - eight little yellow crosses, hopefully not too confusing!

The horses spent most of Sunday evening in the arena munching their way through the grass.  We've very little grass at home at the moment, so they really went to town!  Andrew, the organiser, even asked if they ever did anything else, and would they actually be doing anything in the show or just eating!

We were going to be performing our two horse show, and although we did this a couple of times last year (at a private wedding and Abinger Medieval Fair) I've changed everything around so it was all new to us.  I'd also put in a totally new section; games with Casper. We've been practising everything lots, so I was really hoping it would all go to plan.  We had a forty-five minute slot in the arena, which is quite a long time to fill! Jess's boyfriend Dan had agreed to film the show, so any mistakes would be caught forever.  No pressure then!!

The day itself was absolutely beautiful - easily the hottest day of the year so far.  Andrew was hoping for a good turn out, and they certainly got it.  As the parade started to arrive we were astounded by the number of people involved.  And they just kept on coming.  The field was soon absolutely rammed, with people everywhere.  Even warming up we had a big audience!  The horses felt quite lethargic though, and I was concerned they would take quite a lot of encouragement to get going in the arena.  However, that turned out to be something I definitely needn't have worried about!

I opened the show with Tinker, and he was brilliant for his first section.  Having finished the skipping it was time to introduce Casper to the show, ready for Roman riding.  I've been practising this lots and had a really nice little routine worked out on them.  Unfortunately however, Tinker decided it was time to justify our name and galloped around for the entire duration, dragging poor Casper along with him!  Needless to say it was as much as I could do to stay on, stand up and stick one arm out occassionally.  I was really annoyed with Tinker, as it was totally unnecessary and I thought the Roman riding had looked rubbish as a result.  But having looked back at the filming it actually looks quite impressive because we're going so fast!

The downside of our speedy Roman riding was that Casper was then far too wound up to concentrate properly on his games, and although he did manage most of them he could definitely have done better!  He was then also fast again for the vaulting which meant my freestyle had some pretty scary moments, so maybe my optimism last week that he was finally settling down was a bit premature.  I do blame Tink for winding him up though, so hopefully that won't happen again!  

Following Casper's part we had Tinker back again, and it was as if butter wouldn't melt - he was absolutely perfect! It was as if he'd just wanted to sabotage Casper to make himself seem like the golden boy!  We finished the show with the bridleless vaulting, which always goes down really well, especially when we do a lap of the arena at the end.  I have no control over Tink at this point though, so we tend to go wherever he wants!  Luckily he always stops when I jump off and run alongside him - maybe I should have tried this approach during the Roman riding...

After the show we slowly packed up and mooched home.  We had a really lovely day and the organisers seemed over the moon with how the day had gone; apparently it was the biggest carnival parade and largest attendance ever!  I hope we can go back another year!  There's lots of photos of the carnival all over the internet, and it's had fantastic publicity.  For a few photos of our day please click here.

We've had a weekend off (Helen and I took Casper and Gertrude, Helen's horse, on the Rievaulx Ride on Sunday which was lovely), but we're back at it this weekend with Otley Show on Saturday.  We're back to doing the two shows, so hopefully both the boys will behave themselves - I'll let you know how we get on!

Love Rosie x

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