Monday, 27 July 2009

CLA Gamefair

We've just had an absolutely fantastic weekend at the CLA Gamefair, a show that we always look forward to and love being part of. However, not everything went smoothly! Rebecca, Ronan, Myself, Tinker, Alex and Rachel set off on Thursday for Belvoir Castle, with Tim due to meet us there. We had almost reached the site (we could see the castle) when BANG! We had a blow out on the lorry! Alex took one of the bikes on a reconnaissance mission and reported back that we were only a few miles away, so having rung the road rescue people (they know us quite well by now!) Rebecca and I decided the best course of action was to ride the horses the rest of the way.

So we set off, bareback, leaving the stranded lorry behind us! Although we had directions from Alex we had only gone a hundred yards or so when I spotted a bridleway signposted Belvoir. Do we take a risk and hope it's a shortcut, or do we follow the road the way we've been told? We decided on the bridleway, and it was gorgeous! We ended up riding through some beautiful woods, open fields and farm tracks before rejoining the road - and the gamefair traffic! Riding along the road we spotted a helicopter, which decided to start up and take off just as we were going past - good job the boys had had helicopter training last weekend at the Chilterns Show, they weren't fazed at all! We finally arrived at the site in true style, as you can see from the video below!

But then we had to try and find out where to go! By following our little site map and asking stewards we finally found the stables, put the horses in a couple of empty ones, and then tried to find a lift back to the lorry. Luckily the first people we saw were lovely Robin Gee and Willowe, who always look after us at the gamefair, and Robin became our knight in fluorescent armour and offered us a lift. Unfortunately, because we'd taken the bridleway we weren't too sure whereabouts the lorry was in relation to the roads! Thankfully Robin knew the area well and having described where we had stopped we soon found it - and it turned out our shortcut had cut off a good two miles of road - brilliant!

We arrived back at the lorry just as the tyre man was starting work, and a few minutes later - new tyre!! The old tyre had a massive hole in it, explaining why it had sounded like a small explosion when it blew! Olly the tyre man was brilliant, he got us back on the road (with air in our other tyres too) really quickly, so huge thanks to him! So it was back to the site for a second time, but this time we knew the way! We managed to set up in record time, with the boys and Rachel putting the tent and stables up whilst Rebecca and I marked the arenas out - and all before it got dark! Due to all the drama we were exhausted by the time we got to bed - and we had ten shows to do over the next three days!

Friday was our busiest day, with the duo show in the main arena in the morning, then the two solo shows one after another in the mini ring in the afternoon, and then a parade in the main arena in the evening - it was non-stop all day! Everything went really well and although we were tired we ended up spending much of the night at the Dubarry party - something I regretted the following morning! Saturday was a gorgeous day, and once again all our shows went really well. As we were waiting to go into the main arena for the duo show in the morning the main commentator for the show, John Lamb, started telling the crowds all about Jive Pony. Nothing unusual there. But then he told them about the website, and then about my blog! I was gobsmacked and delighted! John went on to say how he never misses it and keeps up to date with all our antics every week! So a special hello to John and thankyou!

Saturday evening was lovely and warm, and as we were enjoying sitting outside eating our supper (head chef Tim excelled himself again) a series of hot air balloons took off from the grounds and flew overhead. The evening was really idyllic and bought home to us how lucky we are to live the life that we do. The horses were grazing nearby, all around us people were laughing and having a good time and the sun was shining - who could ask for more!

Sunday came around all too quickly and, having done three more shows, before we knew it it was time to pack up and go home! Unfortunately Rebecca and I were too busy throughout the days to have a look around the show, but Tim and Alex managed to go for a bit of a wander - and took the camera with them! Have a look at all their photos and loads of others from the weekend by clicking here. Our good weather luck also held and over the whole weekend, which was forecast to be VERY rainy, we only got slightly rained on a couple of times, and never very much. The same couldn't be said for our old friends Doug and Ella, who got caught out in an enormous thunderstorm during one of their displays, and got completely soaked through!

All in all we had a brilliant weekend. Not only were we visited by lots of lovely friends but we caught up with many people we haven't seen in ages. Special thankyous to the wonderful Robin Mackenzie, who always looks after us so well, Robin Gee and Willowe, Darby and Matilda, and John and Mark, plus anyone else I've forgotten - THANKYOU! (And hope to see you soon!) Also a big thankyou to anyone who watched one of our shows, as all our audiences were fantastic. Never have we heard a crowd roar as much as they did on Saturday morning during the roman riding in the duo show. We saw so many people doing the 'Greased Lightning' arms along with us it was amazing - and a sight I won't forget in a while!

We've got another monster of a weekend coming up. We up to Dumfries (275 miles) on Friday for a duo show on Saturday, then driving down to Gower (380 miles) overnight for a solo show on Sunday, before driving home (147 miles). That's 802 miles altogether (!!!) so fingers crossed we don't have any more blow outs and all of us and the lorry survive! I'll let you know how it goes...

Love Rosie xx

Monday, 20 July 2009

Chilterns Show

We've just had a fantastic weekend at the Chilterns Show in Great Missenden. We were there for a two day duo so Ronan, Tinker, Alex and myself set off in the lorry on Friday, with Rebecca following in her car, and Tim due to meet us on site. We arrived in the pouring rain, got absolutely soaking setting up, and really weren't looking forwards to performing in the continuous torrential rain that had been forecast. However, the Jive Pony good weather luck we've been having all season continued and although it rained before (so much so the organisers offered for us to pull the show), in between and after all our shows, not once did we get rained on whilst actually performing! Hurrah!

All the shows went well, although they weren't our easiest. The arena was on quite a slope, and after all the rain was very slippery, but our boys were fantastic and really looked after us - especially in the Roman Riding which was quite tricky in some points (think cantering fast downhill and around a corner, on slippery grass standing on the backs of two horses)!! There was also a helicopter taking off and landing quite close to the arena which although didn't bother Tinker or Ronan meant we couldn't hear any of our music - choreographing schmoreographing!! Despite the difficulties the shows were all really enjoyable - we don't let little things like helicopters get in our way!

There was lots of other entertainment during the two days, such as flyball, mounted games (those ponies can really shift!), ferret racing, falconry displays and a strong man competition. On Sunday we saw Britain's Strongest Man (who was absolutely HUGE!) set a new world record by dead lifting 365kgs - nearly sixty stones!! And he made it look easy! The falconry displays were fascinating, and were the same we'd seen before at the Middlesex Show (where the enormous vulture flew over me and Tinker) - and the birds were still massive! Although Ben's (the lovely bird man) birds are all amazingly well trained, in his show he tells stories of how one bird bit him one hundred and eleven times during a twenty one day training session, and also how he had one bite his tongue whilst he was talking to it! I think I'll stick to the horses!! Have a look at the little video below to see just how big one of the birds is - and this wasn't even the largest!! You can find out more about Ben and his birds by visiting his website.

After our final show on Sunday afternoon who should come and introduce himself but lovely Lloyd the helicopter pilot! Having teasingly berated him for causing us such difficulties throughout our shows, I asked if we could have a ride in his chopper - and he said yes! Before we knew it (and I hadn't even had a chance to change out of my costume) Rebecca and I were taking to the skies! It was incredible - like being in a flying bubble. Because it had been raining, everything looked really green, sparkly and beautiful. We could see the show ground spread out below us, as well as houses and gardens (lots of swimming pools and trampolines) - you can be really nosey in a helicopter! All too soon it was time to land, but not before I'd taken some video - just have a look!

I also took loads of photos of the flight, as well as lots of other bits and pieces from the weekend - just click here to have a look. We're off to the CLA Gamefair at Belvoir Castle on Thursday for a three day duo. Although we all love the show, we do three performances a day for them - so it's always knackering! I'll let you know how we get on next week...

Lots of love

Rosie xx

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Fiona Bridgeland Photo Shoot

Back in May we had a photo shoot with Fiona Bridgeland to try and get some more publicity images, and also some for our new sponsors Hornets Hats and Christys'. Fiona is a very talented photographer and is responsible for the very first Jive Pony photo shoot back in 2005 (click here to see the images from then), so we were very much looking forwards to working with her again!

We had great fun doing all sorts of different things, and Fiona ended up with hundreds and hundreds of photos of us all! I've put quite a few (fifty seven!) up in the gallery, just click here to have a look at them. We're trying to decide which one should go on the back of our lorry - let us know if you have any favourites!

We're of to the Chiltern Show on Friday for a two day duo over the weekend - I'll let you know how we get on!

Love Rosie xx

Monday, 6 July 2009

Eynsham Carnival

We had a lovely day on Saturday at Eynsham Carnival. We were there for a one day solo show so, as Eynsham is local to us and the show wasn't opening until midday, Rebecca, Ronan, Myself, Tinker and Alex set off bright and early in the morning - no overnight stays this time! Unfortunately, just as we arrived Ronan decided to releive himself whilst still on the lorry, and due to the angle we were parked on and the gallons he managed to produce (he must have been full to bursting!) all the stands, poles, tent, stakes, and stables were covered. There was also quite an impressive river flowing through into the hallway, under the lino and out onto the side steps - not very pleasant but very very funny! (And hooray for baby wipes!)

Having set everything up we were starting to wonder what was going on, it was getting on for midday and there was still nobody on the showground, when all of a sudden - the parade arrived! The place was instantly packed. The parade included an enormous fancy dress competition, floats decked out in crazy decorations, the Carnival Queen and her entourage, the sack race competitors (all slightly worse for wear!), and hundreds and hundreds of followers. It was a glorious sunny day and everybody seemed to have come out to enjoy the sunshine - finding a space big enough to warm the horses up turned out to be quite difficult, and we even had an audience for that! Both our shows went really well, with the huge crowds giving us lots of encouragement, which both Tinker and Ronan (and the rest of us of course!) absolutely love, it really makes all the difference!

We'd been looking forward to the Carnival as there were lots of other acts there that we knew but hadn't seen for a while, so it was really good to catch up with some old friends, as well as making new ones! Dingle Fingle and Paddy Pump Waters were there with their Clown Town Fire Watch, as well as the Sheep Show and K9 Dog Freestyle Displays. For a small show there was a lot going on! We managed to get a few photos of the day - just click here to have a look.

We've got this weekend off, but then the following weekend we'll be at the Chilterns Show for a two day duo. I'll let you know how we get on when we get back - unless we see you there!

Lots of love
Rosie xx