Your Horse Live 2019

This year’s Your Horse Live was my fourth consecutive year!  It has me going back each year to see the demos and peruse the extensive shopping stands.  This year I was lucky enough to get a complimentary ticket but Alex was keen to come (can you believe it!?) so I paid for him to come along too.

I was highly restrained when it came to the shopping (especially compared to Badminton) and although there were lots of beautiful things, I only came away with a trailer-tie bungee and a new competition whip.  I would have liked to walk away with the ponies from the Rescue Village too but that wasn’t to be!

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Alex was particularly keen on the 3.5 horseboxes and the Ifor Williams trailers but made do with a pork roll instead!

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Charlotte’s demo was what I really wanted to see.  It was interesting to see her coaching one of her riders.  She kept telling her to go more forward and really go for it, it was somewhat reminiscent of my lessons!  It was also a good reminder of the importance of transitions – I get too lazy when it comes to that but if Charlotte says I should.. I should!

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At the end she brought Valegro around for everyone to pat – is it sad for me to say it was amazing to be so close to him and to touch him?  I’m sure for a lot of people he is just a horse but I’d rather meet him than any A list celebrity!  The way she jumped on him bareback while the jumps were being set up and the arena was being harrowed just highlighted what a special guy he is.

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We stayed with the demos to watch a bit of Jonty Evans jumping with Padraig McCarthy.  Jonty’s big fall was just before my hip replacement and I’m in awe of how he spent 6 weeks in a coma, suffered a brain injury and is now back eventing.  What is really incredible is how effortless his riding looks considering how the injury has affected his thought process and speech.

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We left that demo early to go to Charlotte’s signing; I had taken my copy of “The Girl On The Dancing Horse” to get her to sign but unfortunately the queue was shut off just as we arrived.

We managed to catch some of Sharon Hunt’s cross country demo with Karla (from Muddy Mayhem) riding.  If you don’t already follow her, she is hilarious and the way she pinged round the tiny arena with tight skinnies was so brave!

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Our last watch was Ben Atkinson’s behind the scenes demo.  Last year we watched his proper demo – I was totally in awe of what they did then so it was really interesting to get more of an insight into how they train their horses to do that.  You clearly have to be very calm, brave and confident to do the kind of liberty work they do.  I would love to give it a go but I think I would need to do a course or something first.

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I had a thoroughly enjoyable and educational day (and Alex enjoyed his pork roll!)  I can’t wait to see the line up for next year – I’m already thinking about who I hope will be on their demo line up!

Badminton 2019

My first words on Saturday morning were ‘I don’t think I can actually move my legs’.  Friday had been a busy day.  I’m just in the process of upping my exercise again now that I am 10 months post hip replacement and feeling pretty invincible.  Nevertheless, I had the motivation to crawl out of bed – it was Badminton cross country day!

The Journey

We left home just after 8 with a rough journey time of about an hour.  I had made the error of suggesting we leave at 7 in order to really beat the queues but that didn’t go down very well with driver Alex!  We did hit traffic on the way into the trials but it was moving and I was excited so it didn’t matter.  It did give us the opportunity to look back at pictures from 2 years ago (our last Saturday visit) to see that we had left an hour earlier and hadn’t hit any traffic.. who had the better idea eh?

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The Shopping

I’ve done Badminton, I’ve done Burghley, Blenheim, HOYS, Your Horse Live, pretty much all the big horsey shopping opportunities and Badminton has got to be the best.  I’ve had a big shopping list for pretty much the last year (!) so I’ve been saving my pennies in case I saw anything from the list at Badminton.  I did!  I managed to snaffle some HALF PRICE Tredstep Donatellos from Townfields Saddlers so that I finally have some smart black boots that fit my skinny calves.  I also visited Emily Cole’s stand to treat Alex to some new oven gloves, Hiho for a new leather bracelet and Colne Saddlery to get some more bio reins and a bit for my spare bridle.  At the end of the day I snuck back to Gibson’s Saddlery to try on/fall in love with Woof Wear’s new Fonte Verde Marvao’s in cognac..  woops!

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Thank goodness we don’t have endless funds because we were very tempted by the Ifor Williams Eventa and basically all of the horse boxes.  Badminton is the perfect place to dream big!

The Action

Despite the lasting effect on my bank balance (and probably a large percentage of the other visitors’), Badminton is not about the shopping.  It is about over 50 supersonic horses and their brave riders, doing a dressage test (when all they want to do is jump), pinging around a showjumping course (when all they want to do is gallop) and flying around Badminton park over mental cross country obstacles!  The later was what we witnessed on Saturday.  We started walking the course at fence 6 and steadily made our way around from fence to fence, seeing a different rider at each.

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The Shogun Sport Hollow (fence 10) was the first scary hairy one we saw – there were some big leaps over the ditch onto the bank the other side.  The combination of the Outlander Bank at 13 and the allegedly straightforward Rolex Grand Slam Trakehner at 14 were the next to have me swearing in awe!  The fence that gets me every time is undoubtedly the HorseQuest Quarry (at 30) – maybe I have an immense fear of banks!

Favourites for me were Ben Hobday on his newest super cob, Harelaw Wizard.  He’s just so personable and I love his penchant for chunky horses with dinnerplate feet!  I also love seeing Pippa going round, she was my idol when I was a child, sitting at home watching the TV and she still is now.

The Return

Last year (pre op) I went to Badminton on crutches so to be returning and walking the whole course (and shopping village) this year without any real problem was awesome.  I did get to a point where I was dead on my feet and at that point we trundled off home, just in time to do some quick midwifery.  Two years ago I hand raised four lambs and this year they are having their own lambs.  Buttercup (one of my babies) was having a bit of trouble delivering what turned out to be a big bouncing baby girl so my small hands were drafted in to help.  What a special end to a special day!

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