Saturday, 4 May 2013

Oakedge Park Game and Country Fair

 Photo Credit: Roy Westwood
Our 2013 season has started!  I can barely believe it, it's come around so quickly.  Friday afternoon we set off for Staffordshire, and Oakedge Park Game and Country Fair.  Unfortunately our sat nav (affectionately known as Wow Cow) decided that she couldn't find any signal whatsoever throughout the journey.  Luckily I had printed off a route planner as well, so along with the atlas we found our way pretty easily and arrived on site after about four hours.  The best part about the journey was that with the lorry's new cctv we were able to watch the horses - Casper Cam!

Having arrived we were directed to an area which was 'slightly sloping' - by about forty degrees!  We set everything up and spent a pleasant evening mountaineering around the lorry.  During the night the slope meant Jess kept nearly ending up in the cab, Helen kept nearly ending up on Jess, and I spent most of the night squashed up against the wall!

I the morning we took Casper down for a rehearsal in the arena (he's always better for a bit of practice), and he was foot perfect.  This makes me very nervous!  I needn't have been though, as he was absolutely brilliant in his show.  He got ever so slightly distracted by the pony ride ponies during his dance, but other than that I couldn't fault him.  He didn't seem too bothered about where Tinker was either, which was a far cry from our first show of the season last year!  After the dance came the bit I had been looking forward to - the hoop jump!  Those of you who follow us on facebook and/or twitter may have seen some of the videos of Casper learning this particular trick, and it was finally time to see if he'd do it in front of an audience.  He did - brilliantly!  He flew through it twice, so I really was very happy with him.

In the afternoon it was Tinker's turn, and he was brilliant as usual.  The bit I was most worried about with him was the bridleless vaulting, and where he would go when Helen opened the circle at the very end.  During practice the previous week at home he ran round the circle once as planned, then made a beeline for the open field gate and was headed straight towards the bird field.  Luckily he always stops whenever I get off, so I jumped off (and grabbed his head just to make sure!) and he did stop.  Helen was left in the field and apparently all she could hear was me saying 'No, No, NOOO!!'  Thankfully in the show he was very good and just went around the edge of the arena.  As he approached the rope I jumped off and he stopped straight away - what a perfect boy!

During the final section of the show I spotted Richard from The Sheep Show, who I've not seen since last year.  One of my favourite parts about doing the shows is meeting up with old friends and making new ones.  It was lovely too see Richard, and even better as he whisked us all out for an Indian meal that evening!  We'd fed him at Brocklesby Country Fair last summer, but this repayment was definitely in our favour!  Working with Richard was Jason, who was doing The Dog and Duck Show, and we all had a lovely evening with some very funny moments! 

Sunday soon came round and it was time to do it all over again.  Both the shows went through really well again, with the horses behaving brilliantly.  I don't want to speak too soon and say it seems like Casper has finally got the idea, but.....!  Tinker was very good as usual, although for some reason the sponge slipped out from under his roller during the final freestyle, which made the last couple of moves a bit dicey.  Good job it was right at the end of the show!

After the shows we wandered around to see what was about, and took ice creams down for Richard and Jason.  It was a lovely little show, with quite a bit there for its first year, and I'm sure it will grow and grow over the next few years - hopefully we'll be back as well!

Having packed up it was time to truck on home.  Wow Cow was still being temperamental, so we were trying to read the route planner in reverse - we only went around a couple of roundabouts a few times...

We've got something different for next weekend.  We'll be at Ilkley Carnival on Bank Holiday Monday, and will be performing our  forty-five minute two horse show.  We last did this at Abinger Medieval Fair back in June last year, but I've changed everything around quite a bit, so once again Helen and I have new scripts to learn!  If you're anywhere nearby do come and see us - we always love to see as many people as possible!  I'll let you know how we get on, but in the meantime you can see some photos from Oakedge Park here (courtesy of the lovely Roy Westwood who has sent them through - thank you!).

Love Rosie x

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