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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Christmas Gift Guide 2018

Christmas is a time for friends, family and a bit of time off work HOWEVER it can also be a good excuse to give and receive some presents!  I have put together my top 8 picks for equestrians, equines and even non-horsey support teams.  I have chosen mostly small, British businesses – remember, when you buy from a small business, a real person does a little happy dance!

Click on each heading to be taken straight to the item.

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Gallop Guru – ‘Palomo’ Leather Saddle Handbag £175

I was lucky enough to receive one of these for my birthday several years ago.  It is great quality and totally eye catching – I have had lots of pointing, looking and ‘where did you get that?’ when I have worn it.  It is the perfect gift for the equestrian who isn’t afraid to express their passion for horses even when dressed up!  It is well worth checking all the other gorgeous items Gallop Guru have to offer.

Eqclusive – Brush Pack – £80-102

Christmas is a time to treat yourself and your four legged friends.  I have an Eqclusive brush pack and use at least some of the brushes on Pea every time I ride.  They were so worth the money.  If you’re after more of a stocking filler, my top picks would be the Schimmel brush and the New Generation Curry Comb.

Derby House – Pro Snowman Medium Combo Turnout Rug £54.99

I’m a big fan of Derby House rugs, they are good quality and they always have fun prints.  Pea has had a varied wardrobe of checks, spots and fair isle in the past and she has written to Father Christmas to ask if she can be bedecked with snowmen this Christmas.

Olivia Towers – Zip Jumper £46.99

I’m an avid follower of Olivia Towers’ vlogs and social media.  Her riding and mindset skills are inspirational.  I’ve ordered myself a ‘Believe it’s possible’ jumper which I know will both remind me to get my head in the game and will be great to ride in.  Do check out her other slogans and pieces.

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Horseshoe Hearts – Original Horseshoe Heart Good Luck Charm £23-6

I discovered this wonderful business on Instagram and if I could, I would fill my house with everything they sell!  I think that a heart would be a particularly nice present especially as you can personalise them.  Get your order in quickly as they close their order book on the 10th December!

Willberry Wonder Pony – Berry Pony – £20

Christmas is a time for charity and this charity is so worth supporting.  To keep the memory of Hannah Francis alive, I think every rider should have their own ‘Berry’ pony.  ‘Peaberry’ certainly helped me to put my life in perspective when I was in hospital.  All the proceeds go towards bone cancer research and granting equine wishes to seriously ill people.

Emily Cole – 2019 Calendar £7.99-9.99

If you’re a regular blog reader you will already know that I love Emily Cole’s work.  Her calendar is a 12 images in 1 present whammy but I would highly recommend having a search around her website at the prints and other items as there are pieces to match each rider and horse’s personalities and interests!

Daniel Skinner AKA Skint Dressage Daddy – From Nags To Numbnuts £6.99

If you’re not familiar with Skint Dressage Daddy, he’s the ultimate reluctant pony-parent (and writes a blog). His book makes the perfect present for other long suffering non-horsey partners and family members who will be able to laugh and cry (and swear) with Daniel through his guide while us equestrians try to defend ourselves!

What’s on your Christmas list this year?

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