Tuesday, 12 May 2015

East Anglian Equine Fair

Photo by Helen Gilbertson

 Photo by Kate Jackson

Our last show of 2014 and it was a late one!  The last weekend in October saw Helen, Imie, Monty, Tinker, Casper and myself heading of to Trinity Park in Suffolk for the East Anglian Equine Fair.  Up until two weeks prior to the event I had had it in my head that it was an indoor show.  When I realised that actually it was outdoors I became slightly nervous!  Not only was it the last weekend in October (when the clocks go back), so the weather was bound to be revolting, but the last shoeing the boys had had we'd not bothered with stud holes as I thought it was going to be an indoor show.  Now we were faced with the prospect of a rainy show, in the cold, on slippery grass with no studs.  Eeek!

Having arrived and set up we were delighted to find some Yorkshire friends there too!  Hannah and Rachel from Connection Training were down for the weekend with a stall at the fair.  I'd not seen them for at least a year, so it was great to catch up with them.  There were there with another lady called Mel, who had her pony Toby with her for some demonstrations.  None of them were staying on site but Toby was, so we were introduced to him and promised to keep an eye on him.  We bedded down for the night and went to sleep hoping for fine weather the next day.

And we got it!  We woke up to a grey but dry day, and were so pleased to make it through the shows without getting rained on at all!  There were some showers but we escaped them all - phew!  We had a lovely big space for warm up, and the arenas were a really good size as well.  There were two different arenas, and one of them had a few trees in.  This didn't cause any problems, other than the fact that I had to duck whilst Roman riding a bit!

As the event was an equine fair there was lots of other horsey demonstrations and displays, everything from Parelli to Para Dressage and Clicker Training to Heavy Horses - it was great!  We spent a bit of time watching some displays and wandering around the stalls, but you never as much time as you think to yourself on a show day - there's always something to do!  We got an extra hours sleep overnight on the Saturday though which was lovely, I always appreciate extra time in bed!!

We were very lucky with the weather again on the Sunday, and both the shows went through well, so any concerns I may have had on arrival were thankfully unjustified.  We managed to gather a few images from the weekend, which you can see here.  Before we knew it it was time to pack up and head home - and before we managed that it was dark!  We set off, waving goodbye to everybody as we went, and then spent the next twenty minutes driving around and around Trinity Park (which is huge!) trying to find the way out!  We kept following little roads that ended at gates - but all the gates were locked.  We eventually managed to find our way out, and back onto a proper road and home.  2014 season done!!  At the end of the last blog of the season I usually say thank you to everybody involved, and how none of it would be possible on my own, it really is a team effort.  It feels a bit odd writing that now, in May, in the middle of another season - but it's still true!  Special thanks must obviously go to my most amazingly generous, willing and generally fantastic boys, Tinker and Casper - without them absolutely none of it would be possible!

And the 2014 blog is finally done!  Hooray!!  Now I can start telling you all about the shows we've already done this year - first up was Framlingham Country Show, and I'll write about that next!

Love Rosie x

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Rotherham Show

Sunday 7th September 2014 saw us at Rotherham Show in South Yorkshire.  Charlie, Adam, Monty, Tinker, Casper and myself had all piled into the lorry and headed up the M1 the day before, with Helen meeting us on site.  We'd arrived and set up in good time, and the boys were particularly happy as we'd turned them out in the arena where there was lots of grass.  Their paddock at home was practically bare at the time, so they wasted no time in stuffing their faces as much as possible!

The morning of the show we were excited to see we had been joined over night by Dingle Fingle. Dingle is a good friend who I'd not seen for a while, so it was lovely to see him again.  We'd not had a show together since Tain Gala the previous summer!  Rotherham Show had requested a little added extra, so we had rearranged the shows to include Roman riding in both performances.  We'd given the new shows a run through in August at the Poole Town and Country Show, but it was all still a bit new - we were all hoping it would go well!  Mainly that we'd remember the new running orders!!

Whilst we were getting everything ready for the show Adam took Monty for a walk around the showground - and between them they committed a massive social faux pas!  Not quite as bad as at the recent Dunscore Gala, but not far off...  They'd been for a walk around most of the showground and were just coming back up the main drag between all the stalls when Monty decided that was the most appropriate place to have a poo.  Now, Monty's poos have to be seen to be believed - they are quite simply enormous.  Adam waited for him to finish, whilst being eyeballed by all the stall holders, before dutifully patting his pockets down for the poo bags (you always need two!).  Only to realise with mounting horror that he had forgotten to take some with him!  Eeek!!  After a little while an obliging dog owner handed over a bag, but the offending mountain refused to fit in just one small bag.  Adam had to scrape up as much as he could, before they both came back to the lorry with their tails between their legs.  Needless to say Adam had to go back out with a second bag and collect the remaining turd - much to his disgust and the stall holders delight!  I just saw this 'Off The Leash' cartoon which sums up the situation perfectly!

Poo Bag Panic

Whilst all this was going on we had welcomed Helen's parents, Chris and Sue, who had come to watch for the day.  It was to be the first time they had seen Helen vault in the show so they were very excited - and Helen was determined not to fall off!  In we went and it was soon Helen's turn to take centre stage.  She started off well and then it was time for the dreaded shoulderstand on the back - her nemesis move...  Up she went... and then down she came!  But she somehow managed to squiggle around and stay on!  Hooray!!  I'm still not quite sure how she managed it, as looking back at the photos she was practically half way off Casper at one point - it was definitely a good save!  The Roman riding went through really well as well, despite the fact that the arena was on a bit of a slope - we got plenty of speed up coming down the hill and around the bend!  The thing I remember most from the Roman riding is Sue's face as we whizzed past her, it was a mixture of excitement and horror - at least that's what it looked like and was hilarious!

Helen had bought her camera and Adam managed to get loads of photos of the two shows.  You can click here to see them, and bonus points if you can spot Dingle in the background who filmed it all!

Following Rotherham Show we had a break of about six weeks, before heading off to the East Anglian Equine Fair over the last weekend in October - I'll tell you all about that next!

Love Rosie x

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Earls Barton Rally and Country Fayre

The late bank holiday in August 2014 saw us packing up and heading off to the relatively local Earls Barton Rally and Country Fayre.  It was a real treat to only have to drive for an hour, and not even touch a motorway.  We've spent so many Fridays sitting in motorway traffic over the summer, but not this weekend!

Having arrived on site we were directed to a lovely quiet little corner that had been cordoned off especially for us.  One side of our area was fenced with an adjoining paddock.  In this paddock were a couple of donkeys and a couple of pigs.  Pigs are quite literally the only thing I have ever found that Tinker is genuinely terrified of, and Casper has always been absolutely horrified but also fascinated by donkeys.  Needless to say from the second I got them down the ramp their eyes were on stalks and they were both snorting and puffing like a pair of ridiculous dragons!  We let them off whilst we were setting up, and the snorty ridiculousness continued for quite some time!!

It was a three day show, and the Saturday went through very well. Following our second show, Helen jumped in her car and shot off to a friend's wedding for the evening, but later on we were joined by Imie's boyfriend George.  George is lovely and Imie was really happy to have him with us, although I think he was a bit unsure about having to bed down in the cosy lorry!

Sunday morning and Helen reappeared!  The boys were mooching around their paddock, and had actually managed to get used to their pig and donkey neighbours.  The weather was lovely and sunny, we had George with us for the day and Adam was due to come down later that evening - what more could we ask for?!  Things did improve though, because before we'd even gone in for the first show the organisers came over and rebooked us for their 2015 event, which was brilliant!  I love getting repeat bookings as it means we must be doing something right!!

The shows went through really well again, apart from a slightly panicky moment just before we were about to go on for the first one when I relised we hadn't got the boys plumes on their bridles.  Luckily speedy George sprinted back off to the lorry and fetched them for us just in the nick of time!

We were very lucky with the weather over the weekend, but then on the Monday it was the opposite.  It was a very miserable day, and pouring with rain.  The organisers came and told us that as there were so few people on site we didn't have to go on if we didn't want to - but how could we not do the shows!  We reached a compromise and ended up doing our forty-five minute show, so everybody was happy.  And it turned out we did have quite a good audience, what they lacked in numbers they made up for in enthusiasm!  We got back to the lorry to find that in the hour we'd been gone Adam had made a super human effort and managed to pack up the entire tent and stables all by himself - it normally takes all three of us the best part of an hour!!  It was lovely not to have to do it, we literally untacked the horses, packed away the show props, and we were away - I think we were home by about 4pm, which is unheard of on a show day!!

We met lots of lovely people over the weekend, as well as catching up with some old friends who came especially to see us, so we are all very much looking forward to our repeat visit in 2015!

Next up is our trip to Rotherham Show, but in the meantime you can see some photos of our weekend at Earls Barton Rally by clicking here.

Love Rosie x