Wednesday, 5 March 2014

How to be a Horse Trials spectator.

On Saturday morning my friend S arrived, we packed the kids and a breakfast picnic of warm cheese and ham croissants and hot chocolate into the Disco (or the fun bus as it is often known) and set off for the first local Horse Trials of the season.

We had a few friends competing, so we kept our eyes and ears open for any sight of them. This proved tricky due to the thick fog, and the PA system seemed to be having some difficulties.

We had a wander around the xc course, inspecting a rather large log and steps combo that S was desperate to show me as she had jumped it the previous year. I'll admit I was suitably impressed! We then joined the congregation around the ditch (Isleham Horse Trials has a notoriously tricky ditch) where we met up with some friends in time to watch our friend (and sometime babysitter) go through rather stylishly.

The kids had started getting fed up by this point, but S is clearly a genius and had packed several packets of Smarties. This helped keep the little ones occupied for a while.

We then saw another friend arrive so went to say hello and help her get on. I must admit I was pretty impressed at how calm all the horses were. My two would embarrass me hugely!

We watched the showjumping for a bit, discussed jumping techniques, and people who we knew/knew of/knew to avoid. The problem with watching the showjumping is that your comments can be overheard rather easily!

It was cold by then, the fog not clearing quick enough, so we retreated to the car for hot chocolate and more yummy things. Luckily our parking space was right next to the xc warm up area, so there we sat for an hour watching how everyone warmed up, what tack is currently 'in' and deciding which xc colours looked good, and which made the rider look like an oversized cupcake (there were a few!) It seems that the air jackets have really taken off at the lower levels, which can only be a good thing, also five point breastplates seemed to be the most recent 'must have' accessory. Personally I like my hunting breastplate for being good for the job and not rubbing or getting in the way, the five point ones seem a little fussy for my liking (yes, even the Devoucoux ones, dare I say it) but I am very much an amateur, so what do I know! Also spotted a few Micklem bridles which I quite like the look of.

Another thing I noticed was the trend for jumping the warm up jumps at an angle. A useful exercise I'm sure, but in the hour of watching I think I saw one person jump a jump straight. Is straightness not important anymore? S informs me that her non-horsey other half pointed this out at an event last year, while she was warming up, and instructed her to do the same in an effort to fit in.

Sadly we couldn't stay there all day, as we had our own horses to see to. But a great way to start a weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment