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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Burghley Horse Trials 2018

Yesterday I had my first trip to Burghley Horse Trials (at nearly 11 weeks post hip replacement) and had a fantastic day.  I will never event but I have a whole heap of respect for the sport and love watching it.

The Journey

My non-horsey boyfriend was completely up for going to Burghley (having enjoyed Badminton 2017) until he realised it was going to be at least a 2 hour drive.  We left at 7.30 and arrived at 10.30 after having to cope with the Moreton Show traffic, a coffee and diesel stop and his own little detour to avoid some of the Burghley queue (which worked quite well!)  Our trip home was much quicker!

The Shops

We decided to walk around all the shops first as the horses hadn’t actually started when we arrived and I thought I’d get the lions share of walking out of the way.  It is my birthday in November so I looked at more possible present ideas for me rather than Pea (as she pretty much has everything she could possibly need and more!)  I found some of the shops (particularly Fairfax & Favor and Dubarry) just too busy for someone who is worried about being knocked or jostled but I managed to snap a few of my favourite things and shops.

  • I love the little pouches you can personalise from Will Bees Bespoke and since they originate from Salcombe (ten minutes from where I grew up) I feel even more of an affinity with them!
  • I saw this Mark Todd Deluxe Padded Coat on the internet recently and I love it.  I’ve never had a padded coat before and I’m not sure when I would wear it but I know that I like it!
  • I am a big Joules fan – I don’t need a new handbag but I do really like this tan purse though sadly now can’t find it online!
  • This Powder Blue Woof Wear Numnah is on my wish list for Pea – I love the look of my Le Mieux numnah but it isn’t very soft and I’m wondering if the Woof Wear one will be more so.
  • I really like this Official Burghley 2018 T-Shirt but I think if I were to get one I’d have to get it a few sizes too big as I don’t like t-shirts tight!
  • You can’t not love the gorgeous equine jewellery at Hiho Silver.
  • I had to visit Sophie Allport‘s lovely stand – my Stag Bag which was a present last Christmas is so nice and useful.
  • We visited the Brocklehursts shop which I described as ‘the shop that keeps on giving’ – having seen these Barbour coats with furry hoods I now want a furry hood for my Barbour but they don’t seem to exist on their own!
  • My boyfriend’s favourite part of horse shows is the lorries and trailers – the Equi-Treks are a particular favourite.

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Being only just back at work part time and in a job that isn’t giving me much pocket money, I did more window shopping than actual shopping.  I did pick up a shirt from Rydale which I almost bought at Badminton and will be suitable for work.

The Food

We opted to grab something to eat before we settled down to watch the horses.  I had some chips and my BF had a pork roll.  I feel we certainly didn’t take enough advantage of the ‘Food Walk’ which we saw later and looked amazing however my legs were tired, I was feeling a bit wobbly and so we just went for the closest food vans!  We did top up with an ice cream later.

The Action

We tried out a few different vantage points to sit and watch – Discovery Valley, the main arena, Lambert’s Sofa, the Lion Bridge as well as walking via a few other fences.  Highlights for me were Ben Hobday who I have been a fan of since I first saw him at Your Horse Live in 2015 and Pippa Funnell who was my idol when I was a little girl and only allowed to watch eventing on TV from the back of our rocking horse!  I was looking forward to seeing Ben Way as he is a customer where I work but unfortunately he retired before he got to where I was.  We didn’t walk the full course as I didn’t think I was quite up to that but from what I did see, a lot of it seemed massive and/or very technical – there was a lot of breath holding and squeaking from me as a spectator particularly at Capability’s Cutting where even if the horse managed to negotiate the banks down and up, some of the riders almost got taken out by the low hanging branches!

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The Setting

Like I said, I’ve never been to Burghley before.  I didn’t find it as easy to navigate as Badminton but the whole place is beautiful from the Lion Bridge to the House itself and I would love to go again with a bit more mileage capacity for my new hip!

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