Thursday, 26 June 2014

Todmorden Agricultural Show

Last Friday Tinker, Casper, Monty, Imogen and myself loaded up and headed off up the M6 towards West Yorkshire for Todmorden Agricultural Show where we were to perform on Saturday.  Helen was going to meet us on site, but it always feels very odd driving off in the lorry without her!  The journey was 160 miles, so I was reckoning on about four hours maximum - how wrong I was!  Traffic and roadworks were horrendous, and there were a fair few overheated broken down cars and a couple of accidents as well.  All this combined meant it took us six hours to get there!  My sat nav log on arrival to site informed me that our average speed was 27 miles an hour - even though my top speed had been sixty!  We had a good welcoming committee on arrival, Helen (the organiser) jumped into the cab to direct us onto site, and our Lovely Helen was also there along with Stuart and Olly from the Sheep Show.  It was a very tight squeeze on to the showground through a little gateway with stone pillars either side and over a small bridge.  It took a couple of attempts, but with Stuart stopping traffic and Helen and Olly directing me we made it - breathe in lorry!

We unloaded the horses and turned them out into the arena for the evening whilst we got set up.  I moved the lorry to where we were to park up for the night, but then we decided to go back a bit to straighten up so we weren't on a slope (Helen might have rolled out of bed otherwise!).  Back I went, then stopped.  And stayed stopped.  I'd managed to find virtually the only piece of soft ground on the entire show filed, and all three wheels on the right hand side of the lorry were sunk up to the rims.  Whoops.  We were going to make do and set up with the lorry now on even more of a slope (Imie would be the one rolling out of bed now), but Helen and two other chaps were unbelievably helpful and arranged for a JCB to come and tow us out.  Shortly afterwards we were repositioned and had the tent and stables all set up in no time.  Olly very kindly helped us with the set up, and along with our shiny new ladders, this had us done in no time.  Good job too as the midges were out in force and we were very glad to finally be able to shut ourselves away in the lorry for the night!

In the morning we had a really good rehearsal.  Tinker and Casper were both brilliant, and as we were doing our double act I practised the Roman riding through as well.  Walking back towards the tent I was so happy - the whole set up is finally (three years down the line!) exactly how I always wanted it.  Everything looks just right, and I'm so glad I put the extra effort in to paint the stables blue and the tent poles red - it was definitely worth it!

Show time soon came around and in we went.  Tinker opened the show and did the first freestyle beautifully, followed by a lovely dance and some fast skipping.  Next up was Casper, and he went really well too!  His maths were good and he was good to vault on too, if a little fast, but much better than last week.  Next were his games, and although he was more interested in eating the grass than fetching his dog toy he did manage it eventually!  Roman riding next, and it went brilliantly!  I did loads on them; lots of jumps, going from one to the other and stands on one leg then the other - it was almost a shame when the music came to an end and I had to stop!  Tinker's turn again with the choreography vaulting, and the crowd had me going all over the place - not an easy freestyle!  We finished with the bridleless vaulting on Tinker and once again he was superb, I really cannot ever fault him.  The audience were absolutely fantastic all the way through, cheering , laughing and clapping along, we couldn't have asked for more.

In fact, we were looked after brilliantly all day long.  Soon after the show Helen (the organiser) bought us over three platefuls of sandwiches and cakes, as well as cartons of orange juice - none of which lasted very long!  Absolutely everybody we met and talked to were so friendly and interested in the show and the horses it really was a delight, and we stayed chatting to people for a good hour following the show.  This booking had been three years in the making, what with other bookings and cancellations getting in the way, but it was definitely worth it!  I've been in email correspondence with Helen all this time and was so glad to finally put a face to the name, and will absolutely now count her as a friend.  We were sorry to pack up and leave, but we soon did and were on our way again.  Luckily the drive home went a lot quicker, and we were back in under four hours, even with a fuel stop.

We're back off up North again this Friday (but the M1 this time, hopefully it'll be better than the M6 was !) ready for Ackworth Gala on Saturday.  I'll let you know how we get on, but in the meantime you can see a few photos from Todmorden Show here.

Love Rosie 

NB: I received the most wonderful thank you letter through the post this morning from Helen.  It's always nice to know the show organisers are happy, but this was above and beyond and bought a tear to my eye!


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