Thursday, 27 June 2013

Witton Castle

 Hey Casper!  Photo by Christine Percival

We spent Saturday at the very beautiful Witton Castle Country Park - and it was the easiest day we have had all season!  We arrived on Friday evening to a wide open field, that was flat and perfect.  Having been told we could set up wherever we liked we did just that, before having some yummy omelettes and settling down for the night.

In the morning we decided that we'd do the two separate shows rather than the one combined show, as it would fit in better with the day, and we went for 11.30am and 1pm display times.  There was no other arena acts, it was literally just us in the arena we had built the evening before!  It's a good job I packed extra fencing stakes, as it meant we had enough to build a perfect sized, round arena.

In the morning we turned the boys out into the arena, and after filling themselves up with as much grass as they could manage they both lay down and went to sleep!  This is becoming a bit of a habit for them as they spent most of the morning the previous week fast asleep at Otley Carnival!  Helen and I managed to set the whole arena up around them, all the posts and bunting, as well as Casper's cones, hoop, fetch toy and catching towel - neither of them batted an eyelid or moved a muscle the whole time we were busying around them, lazy boys!  You can see the photos here.

Before long it was time for Casper's show, and luckily he had managed to rouse himself!  He did a lovely show, and was really calm and steady, an absolute pleasure to vault on - I even managed to throw in a couple of new moves!  It was a welcome change from the last couple of weeks that's for sure!  We were really lucky with the weather as well, as even though it kept threatening to pour with rain it never actually did (until we were packing away that is!), and it was actually quite sunny for a lot of the time.  Tinker's show went really well as well, and I did my new moves yet again.  I was especially please with him at the very end of the show, as he came out of the arena and did a whole lap before stopping of his own accord by the arena gate - very good as when he's bridleless I have no way of making him do this if he doesn't want to!

Helen had driven up separately in her car, as she had to make a quick getaway in the afternoon.  It was probably the quickest exit ever, as even having packed all the stables and the tent she managed to get away for 2pm!  Lily and I finished up and we left at 3pm, meaning we were home by 4.30pm which is very unusual but extremely welcome!

It's going to be a different story this weekend as we're at Tain Gala, up in the Highlands of Scotland.  It's 384 miles one way, so is going to be a long drive!  I'll let you know how we get on next week.

Love Rosie x

Friday, 21 June 2013

Otley Carnival

Last Friday we set off once again for Otley, this time to perform at Otley Carnival.  We knew the way, as the carnival takes place on the same field as Otley Show, which we performed at back in May.  We didn't even need the sat nav to get us there!  Having pulled on to the field the space we were allocated meant the only sensible way to park the lorry was to parallel park it - which I did!  It was really funny, but I got it in the space straight away luckily, and somebody even said they couldn't have done the manoeuvre in their car!

The boys were once again in their element munching on the lush grass, and having settled them down for the night we got an early night ourselves - all in bed by 9.30pm!  We had a bit of a lie in as well, as we weren't due to perform until 3.15pm.  We spent the morning getting everything ready slowly, and I spent quite a bit of time running Casper through all his tricks, as I really didn't want a repeat performance from him as at Rawdon Fun Day.  The carnival was being built up around us, and very soon there were lots of stalls and marquees.  It didn't affect the boys one bit though, and they both lay down for ages for a good long morning snooze!  See the photos of the lazy beasts here.

Before long the sun went in and the heavens opened, which unfortunately coincided with the parade setting off from the town.  Luckily though it seemed to only be a heavy shower, and the sun soon came back out.  We were hoping the weather would stay nice for our performance, as we had had enough of Otley rain at the show in May!

Before long the parade started to arrive on the show field - and kept on coming!  There were many different floats, all of which had had lots of effort put into them and looked amazing.  The new carnival queen was crowned in a coronation ceremony, and the field was soon packed.  Then it was our turn!  The was a large crowd all around the arena, and Tinker was brilliant.  He didn't put a foot wrong throughout the whole display, which is more than can be said for Casper!  I don't know what's got into him recently, but he decided to play his charging off on his own accord game a couple of times - thankfully not as badly as at Rawdon Fun Day, but not far off!  He did eventually settle and I did manage to do nearly all of my freestyle on him, even going upside down a couple of times!!  The Roman riding went well despite a few bucks from that naughty Casper, luckily Tinker was the ultimate professional and just ignored him!

Following the show we had a very busy little shop, selling lots of posters and keyrings - I think most of Otley must have pictures of us somewhere on their walls by now (at least the eight year old girls anyway!).  Following our display the whole field was taken down in record time.  I have literally never seen a field emptied of absolutely everything so quickly - one of the organisers told me it was thirty years of practise.  Either way I was very impressed!

Casper has another chance to redeem himself tomorrow, as we're off to Witton Castle near Bishop Aukland to perform the double act again.  I've been working him all week so he really has no excuses this time!  I'll let you know how we get on!

Love Rosie x

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Rawdon Fun Day

Photos by John Davies

 Photo by Helen Gilbertson

I can hardly believe that a whole year has gone past since we were last at Rawdon Fun Day, but it must have done because last Saturday we were back there!  Thankfully the weather was far kinder than in 2012, and as a result we managed to drive the lorry onto the field and straight into position without being towed.  It was just Helen and myself, and Tinker and Casper, who arrived on Friday evening and set up camp for the night, as we were due to have yet another new girl join us in the morning.  We spent the evening cleaning tack (Helen) and cooking (me) and had a very peaceful time.  The boys were out in the arena busying themselves with eating as much as possible once again - this seems to be their default setting at shows now!

In the morning we were joined by Emma, who had come to help us out for the day.  Emma works at Hope Pastures in Leeds, a rescue and rehabilitation centre for horses, ponies and donkeys.  Helen knows Hope Pastures through the work she does at Hannah Dawson Equine, and it's lucky she does as we were stuck for someone to help until Emma came along!

Having given Emma a crash course in what she needed to do throughout the shows, it was soon time for our first display.  In Casper and I went, and off we went!  I don't know what was up with him, but we were flying!  The arena was on quite a slope, and he was definitely using that as an excuse.  I managed everything fine though thank goodness!  All went well again until the dance, when Casper did something he has never done before (and hopefully will never do again!).  In the middle of the dance he just charged off!  He was doing laps of the circle and showing no interest in stopping whatsoever.  Poor Helen, she didn't know what to say, and I just kept saying to her 'keep talking!'.  I finally got the beast back under control, but I have no idea why he did it, just attention seeking I think!  Then it was time for the games section, and once we were out of the circle Casper would do one of the toys/games with me and then charge off again.  He kept running to different points in the arena and sticking his head over as if he was saying hello to people.  It got quite embarrassing after a while!  The saying 'Never work with children or animals' sprang to mind - and it seems as if I have a perpetually childish animal!  To be fair to him, he did do everything I asked of him, he just did a few laps of honour in between!  Once we got back in the circle he did the rest of the show very well, so I can't grumble too much.  I was struggling to vault on him a bit on the slope, but looking back over the video you can hardly tell.  What was really funny afterwards was how many people asked me if Casper was actually being naughty through the show or if he was supposed to run around on his own.  The little monkey was definitely being naughty!!

When Casper behaves like that, it makes me eternally grateful to Tinker.  He did a wonderful show, and made it all feel easy again!  Even the slope didn't matter on Tink, he really is lovely to vault on.  I know him so well I can just concentrate on the vaulting and not worry about him in the slightest - even when he isn't wearing his bridle and side-reins.  I cannot wait until Casper is at the same stage!  I think it may be a good few years though...

We had a lovely day, and I'm so pleased the weather was so good.  There was hundreds of people there, all through the day, and lots for them to see and do.  Benji was there with the Interesting and Unusual Team, and did two really good shows.  There was demonstrations by the fire brigade about cutting cars at accidents, which sounds a bit morbid but was fascinating.  There was also a visit from the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, who are one of the charities the fun day supports, although this year they didn't come right in the middle of Tinker's dance like last  year!  Unfortunately they couldn't stay very long, as they had a call to help a biker who had been injured in an accident.  This just highlighted what a fantastic service they offer, and how vital it is that they are well supported.  The fun day did a brilliant job in this respect, as the day raised made over £15,000 in profit to divide between their charities - their best result yet and long may it continue!  You can see some photos from the day here, and I'll be adding some more soon hopefully!

We're off back to Otley this weekend, where we will be performing at Otley Carnival on Saturday.  We'll be doing our two horse show as we did at Ilkley Carnival, and I'm hoping Tinker behaves better than he did there!  Entry to the carnival is free, so we'll see you there!  I'll let you know how we get on.

Love Rosie x