Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Stapleford Carnival

 Photos by Helen Gilbertson

Well it was a while ago now, but our last show of the 2013 season took us down near Nottingham, for Stapleford Carnival. We arrived to an empty field but were assured that by 11am in the morning it would be packed, and they weren't wrong!  It always amazes me how quickly small shows can be built up, and this one was no exception.

Once the arena had been set up in the morning we were straight in there with Casper for some practice. We'd almost finished and were just about to go back to the lorry when we were approached by a lady with a parrot. Gizmo is apparently a very famous parrot, having appeared at events all over the country, met royalty and even ridden a motorbike at speed.  Candie was wondering whether he'd be allowed a ride on the horse. Why not?!  To start with I had Gizmo riding on me as we cantered around the circle.  He was supposed to be sitting on my shoulder but almost immediately he climbed up on top of my head - not very comfortable I can assure you!  So there I am, cantering around on Casper with a parrot on my head.  As you do.  Next we decided to let Gizmo ride Casper on his own.  It was going really well, Casper was cantering around beautifully, when Gizmo squawked and put his wings out.  At this point Casper actually realised what was on his back!  Luckily he is very used to big birds, as he has lived with thirty odd birds of prey for the past two years, but it was still a bit of a shock to him.  And at the point that he sped up and refused to slow down I realised what an idiot I was!  Poor Casper, not the best way to settle him down before a show!!  He soon stopped and we rescued Gizmo and Casper from one another.  They were both fine really, and Candie was convinced Gizmo had really enjoyed himself!  Helen got some photos and video footage, so you can see our funny warm up for yourself:

Once we'd finished rehearsal we were joined by one of our biggest fans, Alice.  We met Alice back in 2012 at Ibstock Country Fair, and saw her there again in 2013, just a few weeks previously.  She stayed with us throughout the day, and was very helpful holding spare horses, keeping folk safely out of the way whilst we were warming the horses up, etc etc.  We're very self-sufficient but it's always nice to have an extra pair of hands!

We did have a minor disaster just before the first show.  Helen managed to stand in some dog poo and walk it right through the lorry - yuk!  I really didn't want to go and do the show and let it settle in, so I was there on my hands and knees scrubbing away with marigolds on whilst in my stripey playsuit.  Not ideal! 

Both the shows went through beautifully, and we had a lovely day at Stapleford.  Robert and Katharine, the organisers, looked after us really well and the sun shone all day which always makes for a good show!  The carnival got some really good publicity, and Robert and Katharine were kind enough to send me through copies of all the newspapers we'd been in.  You can have a look at these, along with a few photos from the day by clicking here.

I can't believe we've reached the end of another season.  2013 has been busier than I ever hoped for - I was aiming for twenty show days and we've ended up doing twenty-six!  I'm so happy with how everything has gone, everyone has helped so much, but especially Helen who is now more than critical to any Galloping Acrobatics outing!  I also couldn't do anything without either of my wonderful horses.  Both Tinker and Casper are so kind and generous, despite all the crazy things I ask off them.  I love them both so much, and owe them everything - thank you boys.

Onwards to 2014!  At the time of writing our first show of the season is only three days away!  EEEEK!!  It came in as a last minute booking five days ago, so not much notice!  We're off to Lambourn Open Day, and will be performing our double act display.  Nothing like being thrown in at the deep end!  I was thinking our first show was 17th May, so still a while away yet, but they had been let down by someone so needed a gap in the arena programme filling.  I'm very much looking forward to it, although to say I'm panicking slightly would be putting it mildly!  I'll let you know how it goes - if we all survive!!

Love Rosie x

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