Royal Windsor Horse Show
Rise to The Occasion
This year we had actually qualified to compete at Royal Windsor Horse Show, we have been before, not every year but, most years we would compete, however, this year was one of only four times we have actually qualified to go there. Qualification was made during last summer, you would think that would be enough time to get ready, but, you can never be fully prepared when competing at a show like "Royal Windsor". Set in a truly spectacular setting, in the grounds of Windsor Castle, and its surrounding parkland, while being breathtaking, it is also exciting and exhilarating. We had entered for the whole week from the 8th-May to 12th-May-2013, and it was simply just as good, if not better than ever before. From our perspective we were there for the showjumping competition, and our main event was The All-Tech Grand Prix, which was big and technical, however, the first part of the track wasn't to bad at all. The course designer Bob Ellis, who incidentally built at last years 2012 London Olympics, had built a flowing, yet technical track to catch as many riders as he could out. That is the beauty of a top class course designer like Bob Ellis, he can make a track seem simple enough, while in fact it is not, giving the rider doubt, and that is when the mistakes happen. With this track he made no exception, first few obstacles rode and jumped with a good fluency, giving you false confidence, yet, the second half of the track was big and technical. Aiming to get around 7 to 10 competitors clear in the first round out of 39 starters, Bob Ellis was somewhat disappointed when 17 went through to the jump-off. And to add further to the pressure, we had three Gold Medallists from The London Olympics competing against us, Nick Skelton, Ben Maher and Peter Charles, all gunning for first place.
Scope to Burn
Keeping Cool Under Pressure
For us, in these big shows, though there is more pressure, there is less competing with only one or two at most competitions /events per day. In this class we had Harvey, our most experienced and oldest Horse, as he had qualified to be here. We warmed up well and he felt fantastic, in the warm-up arena he was clearing the fences with ease, not even scraping a pole, he was that good. When we entered the ring you could here a roar from the spectators, and the grandstands were packed to the rafters, with 6000 spectators waiting in anticipation. From our point of view Harvey didn't disappoint, knocking one fence down for 4 faults, a set of planks standing 1.60mtr high, positioned right by the entrance. We were not the only ones to knock it down, as the majority of faults came at that fence. He jumped all the other obstacles in fantastic style, ballooning every one with plenty of clear air, there is one thing that will stay with me for a long time. There was a huge triple-bar fence standing 1.60mtr high (5ft 3inch) and 2mtrs wide (6ft 6inch), with the class sponsors name on it, All-Tech. Coming off quite a sharp corner, with a short run-up it took some jumping and Horses were struggling, not only with the height, the width was taking its toll, with some Horses paddling with their legs. However, when Harvey and me came off the corner I gave him no pace at all, I just kept the power in his hind legs, his spring off the ground was amazing, clearing it with scope to burn. He jumped it so well the spectators gasped as we cleared the back pole, and that will stay with me for a while. As for the honours, they were contested between the seventeen that went through to the jump-off against the clock. The first true attack in the jump-off came from Britain's Olympic Gold Madallist Peter Charles riding Murka's Odie de Frevent, jumping clear in a fast time. Galloping down the length of the arena towards the last fence, spectators were on the edge of their seats, Murka's Odie jumped it fantastic and went clear. The following ten Horses all made the same mistake knocking down the last fence, by this time Peter Charles honestly thought he had done enough. I even patted him on the back, what a mistake, the penultimate pair of Ireland's Shane Breen and his super Horse, the Stallion Balloon, decided on a different tactic of attacking the first half of the track. And it worked out, beating Peter Charles is time by just 0.53 seconds, the grandstand erupting with applause. With one left to go USA's Lauren Hough riding Tackeray, though her best efforts she could only manage third, and Shane and Balloon were the winners. A fantastic competition thoroughly enjoyed by all the spectators, as they cheered the winners on their lap of honour.
Waiting To Go Into The Arena
A Spectacular Experience For Everyone
The whole show was a superb experience for us all, and our two younger Horses benefitted a lot from competing here, though we are used to competing at quite a high level, Royal Windsor is always special due to the Royal connection. Doug and Daphne our 6 year olds both performed in the smaller arenas, of The British Horse Society Arena and, The Copper Horse Arena. Though we didn't win any of our classes, we did get placing's Doug performed very well earning a 6th and a 4th place, both classes being a Grade "C" competition. Now both him and Daphne cannot compete in Grade "C" competitions anymore, as they have won to much money and have up-graded to Grade "B"s. The same is true of Kate, she up-graded here to Grade "A", after competing with Kevin in a 1.30mtr Open. Though being the younger of the two, she managed 3rd place in this class, winning a cool £450 in prize money, very nice indeed. We also had two other placing's Kevin in a 1.25mtr speed open, and Daphne in a 6 year young Horse championship. Kevin was 2nd in the speed class, one round of jumping straight against the clock and the track suited him with sweeping turns, and two sharp turns, he simply flew round. For Daphne it was a tougher task, three round's of jumping with the first two having to be accurate, and the third round against the clock. After three rounds of jumping, we ended up third which for us was very good, as the competition was pretty tough. We had a good show overall and were happy with how it all went, the Horses performed admirably, considering the foul weather we had suffered late winter early spring.
Royal Windsor Horse Show, in spectacular scenery, with one of the Royal family attending the show every day whatever the weather. The Queen herself was in attendance most days, and she is an avid Horse lover, and knows what it takes to get Horses prepared for competition. Royal Windsor has a wide variety of entertainment, though suited towards equestrian lovers, but the variety is varied, from driving carriages, to speed driving against the clock with ponies. Dressage to music, and freestyle, the British Ladies Side Saddle Championship to Endurance Riding, even Classical Riding to Music. It doesn't end there, shopping is a huge part of the show, with row upon row of shops selling everything from all that is equestrian, to clothing and country wear even jewellery and food. A spectacular event to enjoy, surrounded by Windsor Castle's grounds and Parkland, scenery to die for what could be better in springtime, especially if the weather is nice. Thanks for Reading. Until Next Time.