Friday, 16 July 2010

Kingham Commotion and Northcote Heavy Horse Centre Vaulting Training Day

We had a busy weekend last weekend with two very long but very fun and useful days. Saturday morning started bright and early as usual with our vaulting group. Our girls are all really coming on now and I will write a post dedicated to them just as soon as everything else settles down! Having arrived back it was time to bath Tinker, Casper and Navvy and head off to Kingham for the local Commotion Festival. We'd rushed about getting everything done and ready, got there in record time (with me doing show makeup in the back of the wagon on the journey!), I'd tacked up Tink and warmed him up, and was just getting changed when we were told they'd changed the timetable and we weren't on for another hour and a quarter! So, tack and costume off - find food and eat! Show time soon came around though and having repeated the earlier processes again we were ready to go. We were only performing once so we'd chosen to do the second solo show, with Becca doing all the commentary as her ankle was still too painful to vault on (unfortunately Navvy had tripped over whilst being ridden the previous week landing on her - luckily nothing broken though!). There wasn't an arena for us to work in so we just set up our circle and used that, although it did mean people were in very close proximity to us - despite telling everyone to keep back they were soon practically on top of the ring rope! Tinker was fantastic though and just put himself on a slightly smaller circle - so everyone's toes were safe! The show went really well, and the crowd was huge - I think everyone at the festival came down to see what was going on!

Having done the show it was now time for pony rides. We'd decided to use Casper and Navvy for this, to try and ease them into a show situation. However, getting them into the designated area was far from easy! We had to walk through a barrier with fluttery decorations right next to the main stage with banks of speakers and very loud music, before leading them through a wood which was like a giant art installation, with hanging mirrors, statues, sculptures and paintings - and all surrounded by a lot of people! It was like the ultimate handy pony class! Both of them coped amazingly well - there's nothing like throwing them in at the deep end! We then proceeded to put child after child after child up on them and lead them backwards and forwards through the wood, something which they did remarkably well! It was a brilliant training exercise for them both which will hopefully stand us in good stead for tomorrow - more on that later!

Sunday came and it was another early start for a three hour drive up to Spilsby in Lincolnshire and the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre. We were there for the day to teach and were going to use their horses, so at least all our boys could have the day off! We had a mixed group, some complete beginners and some who had been vaulting a while. We played loads of warm up games putting them all through their paces before moving onto the barrel - and then the giant horses! The horses we were using were Samson, an 18.2hh Shire and Bosun, a 17.2hh Percheron. Not small! Unfortunately neither of the horses work in canter, but we still managed to give everyone a good workout in walk. We had a fantastic day and the weather was just beautiful - so much so that both Becca and I managed to get a real farmer's tan from our vest tops! Everyone vaulted really well, especially the five girls who had never tried it before. They seemed to take to it like ducks to water and despite some initial misgivings I had them all doing split leg dismounts, roll around the handle, leap frog off and australian dismounts before the end of the day - only on the barrel though, the horses were a bit too big! The team vaulters all did really well too, with Becca working on their freestyles with them, improving current moves as well as adding some new ones in. Special thanks must go to Terena and Maria who organised the whole day - and fingers crossed we'll be going back one day, possibly with Tinker and Ronan (or Casper and Navvy!)!

Speaking of Casper and Navvy, it's their debut tomorrow. We're doing a little show at our local village fete, and are planning on using both the babies to perform the second solo show. Becca and Navvy are going to be doing the vaulting parts whilst Casper and I do the dancing. We're really hoping that the weather is nice, the crowds not too scary and that the boys behave - not much to wish for then! I'll let you know how we get on, but in the meantime you can look at all the photos from last weekend by clicking here (plus lots of extra ones from Sunday here).

Lots of love
Rosie xx

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