Monday, 22 June 2009

Middlesex Show

We've just had a really fun weekend at the Middlesex Show - and survived! Hooray! Rebecca, Ronan, Myself, Tinker and Rachael (our new glamourous apprentice) set off on Friday for Uxbridge. No sooner had we arrived than we were joined by Tim, who had decided to cycle the 25.5 miles to the showground from his work - crazy boy! We were there for a two day duo show, but I was also there for horse boarding!

Our first show on the Saturday was a bit of a tricky one. Not only was the music so quiet we could barely hear it, but we also only had one hand mic between us, and had to take it in turns to struggle with a head mic - not so easy when you're trying to vault!! Despite this, the show went well and our boys were fantastic! After the show there was no time to rest for me - I was off to compete! Having never even seen horse boarding before, let alone tried it, I was being thrown in at the deep end riding one of the fastest horses on the circuit towing a friend of mine, Dan. We had a couple of warm up runs then it was time for the competition! It was the second leg of the National Horse Boarding Championships, with five teams of horses, riders and boarders competing in heats over the two days - so I would be riding in sixteen races!

It was all very exciting, and the horse I was riding (Rohan, Dan's grey thoroughbred) was very keen, knew exactly what was going on and just wanted to race race race! The races were always between two horses in two adjacent lanes, over 100m with 40m stopping distance at the end. The starting off was tricky as you had to accelerate steadily to avoid pulling the board riders arms off - something Rohan and I struggled with! The actual racing was brilliant fun, with all the horses really going for it - I got proper wind tears when I was racing and my show makeup was all over the place by the end! And then the end was difficult as 40m isn't that much to stop a galloping horse in, especially when there's two of you side by side both with mountain boards and riders attached to you!

Having lost Dan a couple of times (once on the start line, once during a very very quick race) and had a couple of slow starts, we soon made up ground and won some races. Have a look at the video below to see us doing just that - at some speed!!

With the competition over (results kept secret until after the final) it was time for our second show - no rest for the wicked! Whilst we were warming the horses up there was a falconry display going on in the arena - next thing we know there's a white headed vulture with a wing span of eight feet swooping over us! I now know what it must feel like to be something's prey! It properly made me jump - it looked practically prehistoric!! Having recovered from the heart attack it gave me (Tinker didn't bat an eyelid!) it was into the arena, and thankfully this time we both had microphones! The show went really well, and we were properly cheered on by all the horse boarders - they were louder than the whole of the rest of the audience put together!

After our show the horse boarders did a demo in the main arena, and after that Tim had a go at being towed behind one of the horses, Sam (another thoroughbred and VERY fast), on his dirt board. Have a look at the video below to watch him, and check out how fast he has to run when he jumps off at the end!

All in all, Saturday was exhausting - and then Sunday came along! It was the same timetable so it was our first show, then the horse boarding competition. We were all working hard as I was riding, Tim was commentating (and has hidden talent for the mic so we may be putting that to use soon...), Rachael was time keeping and Rebecca was being photographer. And then it was our second show. Phew - we thought it was all over but then it was the horse boarders parade in the ring with results of the competition being announced - so I couldn't miss out and was riding in that too! Turns out Dan and I finished second, and only by the tiniest of time margins over the sixteen races - so not too bad after all! I even got a trophy!! It really is a very fun sport and anyone can get involved. The horses were a mixed bunch too - two thoroughbreds (very fast), two friesians (absolutely gorgeous) and a little Andalusian X mountain pony called Allequin. He was my absolute favourite, he was only five years old, it was his first ever competition, and he was unbelievably fast! He was like a little pony express, I couldn't believe how fast he was - he was even beating the thoroughbreds in some races! If you want to find out more, just have a look at the website and get in touch with them, I promise you'll enjoy it!

We also had visitors on Sunday as Becca's cousin David and his fiancee Anthea were visiting from Switzerland, who came to the show with Katherin, Becca's Mum. Becca hadn't seen him for about eight years, and I think he was quite bemused to see what she was up to! But they had a fun day, and even had a go on Tim's dirt board - pulled by Becca though, not a horse! There was also loads of other stuff to see at the show including a strong man competition (caber tossing and all sorts!), flyball racing, the RAF pipes and drummers band, and ferret racing to name a few - although I didn't get much chance to see any of it - I was too busy! We did manage to get quite a few photos of the weekend though, just click here to have a look at them.

We all had a fantastic weekend and met some really lovely new friends, including the most beautiful little black labradoodle puppy called Eric - I could have taken both him and Allequin home with me! It was exhausting though - thankfully next weekend's show is a one day solo show, which will be an absolute breeze in comparison! It's for the Circus Festival in Bletchingly, and I'll tell you all about it next week!

Lots of love

Rosie xx


Anonymous said...

Great Blog, cracking videos, wonderful pictures.... See you soon
Ken Sam Erik and Charlotte xx

Rosie said...

Glad you like it guys! Hope to see you soon xx