Saturday, 12 December 2009

Cirque du Cheval

I had a lovely week in Dublin last week performing at the Cirque du Cheval with the Devil's Horsemen. We left on Wednesday morning (more the middle of the night - I had to be up at 4.15am!), got the ferry from Holyhead (quite a rough crossing) and arrived at the venue at about 7pm (in the rain) - so not a very glamourous start to the week! We were the headline act at the show, and were topping the bill on all the posters and programmes - along with a big photo of yours truly!

The entire show was a couple of hours long and had loads of different acts in. There were miniature horses, a Western riding display, a fantastic Cossack trick rider - and some vaulters! There were two female vaulters from France (one of whom was half Irish), but also our very own Team GB - based just up the road in Warwickshire. Team GB are trained and organised by a lovely lady called Julie, who was one of the very first vaulting coaches in this country (along with Becca's Mum Katherin) and set up one of the original clubs. I have known Julie since I started vaulting (at the age of eleven - nearly sixteen years ago now - eeek!), but unfortunately I have only seen her a handful of times since I retired from competition in 2004. It was therefore a real treat to see her again, along with her beautiful horse Go Fast. Julie's team have been selected to represent Great Britain at the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Kentucky next September. However, in order for them to be able to compete the squad needs to raise a massive £35 thousand - so it's all hands on deck for fundraising! If you'd like to find out more about Julie's vaulting group just visit her website, or to find out about Team GB and WEG and how to contribute to the fundraising effort click here. Julie's team will also be performing at Olympia next week so if you're lucky enough to have tickets make sure to see their display - if you've never seen team vaulting before (and even if you have) it'll be a real treat!

Back in Dublin and our act was the final one of the show, and thirty minutes long. We certainly filled our half hour slot - we had me in the standing saddle, all the boys doing a big fight with lots of falls, full drags and a horse fall, Dan and I dancing, a roman ride race, Dan performing Garrocha, and finally some trick riding and a finale - phew! The audiences were fantastic for every show, and were so positive and enthusiastic with their comments afterwards - they made us feel very special! After the show we went out to meet and greet everybody and had to sign loads of autographs, which always amuses me but hey ho! I had a different horse again for the standing saddle (Bolero the old faithful was busy filming in Cardiff and Cuthbert who did HOYS wasn't very well); one who I'd never even ridden before let alone stood on! Prince is a six year old Friesian stallion - and I am now his biggest fan! He looks really impressive, has loads of presence - and a mane about a metre long! The only problem I had was keeping him cantering for the full five laps of the arena for the entrance and the chase. He much prefers trot, and as I am unable to use my legs whilst standing on him there was very little I could do to keep him going. However, being a Freisian he can trot at about the same speed the others canter so it wasn't too much of a problem - it just didn't make for a very convincing chase scene!!

When we weren't busy with the shows we spent much of our time playing cards - there were no trade stands or shops about, and the venue was pretty much in the middle of nowhere and we had no transport so there was very little else to do! Despite this we managed to entertain ourselves! All the organisers were lovely, and looked after us really well. The show was put on by Irelands Horse and Pony Magazine, so keep an eye on their website for a full report. Judging by the success of the show I think they may be putting on a summer one next year - fingers crossed we get to go back! I've managed to collect quite a few photos from our week in Dublin, just click here to have a look at them. I've also found a video on YouTube - have a watch to see what we got up to!
Becca and I are currently trying to get our hands on some tickets for Olympia, not only is Julie there but also our old friends the Metropolitan Police with their Activity Ride. We first met them at the Suffolk Show back in May 2008, and ended up stealing shavings from their stables before they'd even arrived - oops! Jean-Francois Pignon is there too, and I could never ever tire of watching him and his beautiful horses, his liberty act is just incredible! I'll let you know if we manage to get here, and if we do who we manage to see!
Lots of love
Rosie xx


Helen said...

Thank you very much for the write up Rosie. Beautiful photos and you look stunning, as always!!

We are all coming to the evening performance on the 28th, so really looking forward to seeing you there. Zoe has been so kind and generous to us.

Do have a wonderful Christmas and please will you give Tinker an extra carrot from me.

Lots of love,


Rosie said...

Tink will be getting plenty of carrots! (And Casper, Ronan and Navvy too of course!)

I'll hopefully be taking both mine to the farm for the panto, so you can meet them then - I'm really starting to look forward to it now!

Have a fantastic Christmas yourself and see you on the 28th