Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Otley Show

 Photo credit: Carol Stevens at Raycrosse Photography

 Photos by Helen Gilbertson

We had a different team for Otley Show, as Jess was busy working and couldn't make it, so Helen's sister Megan came along to help out - a brace of Gilbertson's!  Having made it safely to the show ground we put the horses out in the arena and started setting up.  It took us a ridiculous amount of time to put the stables together, and we just couldn't work out why.  Helen finally realised that we'd put the doors on the wrong way round - that'll do it!  The ground was also anything but flat, we used all our chocks and could have done with a few more!

We finally managed it and bought the boys in from the arena.  As per last week at Ilkley Carnival they were so glad to see some grass (we hardly have any at home at the moment) that they just stuffed themselves as much as they could!  They weren't the only ones who enjoyed their food, as Helen made some delicious thick half moon omelettes for supper - helped by the fact that the lorry was on a slight slant!

There was no chance for a lie in in the morning, as our first show with Casper was at 10.30am and it takes about two hours to get ready for each show.  This may seem a long time but it soon goes!  We have to clean the horse, do our hair and make up, warm up, tack up, warm the horse up and get into costume, as well as making sure the music has been tested, the props are ready and the shop is set up - two hours goes in a flash!

The showing classes started at 8am, so even though I was up at 7.30am there were lots of horses knocking about.  Casper found the whole thing very exciting, and had been whinnying his head off since about 6am - and lots of horses and ponies had been answering him!  One of the earliest classes was for Shetland Ponies, and I've never heard such high pitched whinnies.  They were all squeaking away and Casper was doing his best to imitate them!  He was absolutely wired and I knew he'd take a lot of settling down before his show, and I wasn't wrong.  After twenty minutes of flat out lunging he was still charging around shouting his head off - great.  There was nothing more I could do though so just had to hope he'd pull himself together.

It was pouring with rain and the last thing I wanted to do was take my coat off (playsuits are not very warm or waterproof!), but the music came on so off it came and in we went!  Casper surprised me because as soon as we went in he was absolutely perfect.  Shame I can't say the same for my microphone, which refused to work right from the word go.  Poor Helen ended up having to do all the commentary, apart from a couple of sections where I grabbed the head mic from her (and probably a chunk or two of her hair at the same time - oops!) and talked myself.  There is a reason why we ask for two hand held radio mics, and although we managed with one head mic between us it was far from ideal!  Despite the pouring rain we had a decent audience, and everybody clapped and cheered.  Casper's games seemed to go down particularly well, and the ever popular hoop jump definitely got the biggest applause of the show.  The only slight mistake Casper made wasn't really his fault.  I was doing the explanation freestyle in walk and Helen was commentating away.  Part of one of her lines is '...and in the canter...', Casper heard the word 'canter' and off he went!  He's very very good on his voice commands, and he was obviously listening a bit too closely!  Other than that I really couldn't fault him.  By the end of the show all of us were completely drenched, and more than happy to head back to the lorry to try and dry out.

Luckily the rain stopped in time for Tinker's show - I didn't even get wet warming him up!  He was as good as gold all through his show, and we had two working mics, so it couldn't have gone better.  Following the shows we had a walk about all the marquees, and there was lots to see.  In the produce tent there were all kinds of competitive classes on display, my particular favourites being 'Layered jelly in a pint glass', 'A pizza face' and 'A vegetable animal'.  Helen took lots of photos, which you can see alongside ones of the show by clicking here.  We also went to see the countryside area, where Ben had his Eagle and Vulture team on display.  They'd had a good day too, and as their display had been in the afternoon had managed to escape the rain.  Les Dixon was there with his Mountgrace Gundogs, as well as the Sheep Road Show.  Unfortunately we didn't have much time for stopping and chatting as we had to get packed down before it started raining again.  The tent had dried out during the afternoon and I wanted it to stay that way!

When it was time to go we had to be towed off, luckily there was lots of very helpful tractor men about and we were gone in no time.  Despite the weather we had a really lovely day, and the crowds were brilliant.  I'm amazed so many braved the weather in the morning, but by the afternoon they really were out in force.  We're back at the same site in a few weeks for Otley Carnival - hopefully the weather will be glorious and the crowds even bigger!

We've a busy weekend coming up as we're at Castle Howard for a three day show over the Bank Holiday.  We're doing our two shows a day and as it's one of our most local events there's quite a few people coming to see us.  I'll let you know how we get on!

Love Rosie x

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