Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Circus Workshop, Frogham Fair and Uffington White Horse Show

Phew! We have had a busy week! On Wednesday Becca, Ronan, Tinker and I set off for Marlborough and Giffords Circus. Unlike our last visit, where we taught local school children, this time we were teaching the performers! Unfortunately it rained really heavily all day long, but that seemed to mean we had more people coming to have a go - nothing better to do on a wet Wednesday! Everybody took to it well, and it was really refreshing teaching people who are so aware of their bodies - some of them put Becca and I to shame on the flexibility front! Tinker also experienced a first - having his bottom somersaulted off! You can see it on the little video below - needless to say Tink won't have to get used to that happening!

Friday soon came around and Becca, Ronan, Tim, Tinker and I set off for Frogham Fair, in the New Forest, where we were due to perform our solo shows. This is such a beautiful area, although it's not really the best terrain for eleven tonne horseboxes! There is one particular hill called Blissford Hill (otherwise known to us as Wheelie-barrow Hill, but more on that later...) which is an exceptionally steep 25%, and which took the lorry two attempts to climb! We also had to stop at one point earlier on and get out to move a baby donkey which was quite happily sunbathing right in the middle of the road, and didn't want to get up!

On Saturday morning Becca and I took the boys out for a ride, although I set off a bit later as I was enjoying my book and bed far too much!! I'd not been riding long when we met Becca and Ronan on their way home - and Ronan was plastered in mud! They'd managed to go off piste slightly and Ronan had fallen into a bog right up to his stifle. Becca had had a very frightening few seconds having to jump off Ronan before he managed to extricate himself - luckily with nothing more serious than a black leg! Thankfully there was a little lake on the way home so Becca promptly took off her boots and socks, waded in and gave Ronan a bit of a scrub up! The scenery around Frogham is just beautiful (I actually have photos up on my wall from our last trip there back in 2007), and both Tinker and I loved the ride, as you can see from the little video below.

We went through streams, over bridges, through woods, across open meadows and heather moorland, all the time passing by free roaming cattle, ponies and donkeys. It really was stunning. However, I managed to get completely lost! I was merrily heading back the way I thought was home, when thankfully I checked with a dog walker who promptly informed me I was going in totally the opposite direction - oops! Tinker and I did an abrupt about turn and finally made it back to the show field - but about thirty minutes later than planned!!

Both our shows went really well, with lovely crowds and plenty of sunshine. And then it was time for the wheelbarrow race! Just to explain - competitors have to race up the aforementioned Blissford Hill (25%) whilst pushing a wheelbarrow containing a straw stuffed dummy. No mean feat. Last time we were at Frogham Duncan entered the race and finished in second place, so this year it was Tim (On Fire)'s turn. We got to the hill in plenty of time to see all the other competitors racing and had an agonising wait until, finally, it was Tim's turn. As he was part of the Jive Pony contingent Tim was wearing his JP vest, red braces, red show socks, and the all important black bowler hat. He looked brilliant as he walked down to the bottom of the hill alongside his opponent. And then - they're off!! They were neck and neck to start with but as the hill got steeper Tim pulled away before before finishing in convincing style at a very impressive pace - he'd won his heat! And was top of the leader board! Now we just had to wait for a couple more races to see if his time was fast enough to stay in first place - it was!! Our very own Timothy Carter is the current Blissford Hill Wheelbarrow Challenge Champion! Not only did Tim win a medal, but also a sizeable cup and a bottle of bubbly rose - well worth the effort! Have a look at the video below to see Tim racing to victory!

Having left Frogham we drove up to Uffington for the White Horse Show where we were going to be performing our duo shows on Sunday and Monday. By the time we got there it was pitch black dark, but luckily Alex was on site to meet us and show us where to park the wagon. Having set up in record time we were tired things by the time we crawled into bed! Show time soon came around on Sunday and once again they both went really well. We managed to pull a big crowd who were very enthusiastic - and who helped out a lot by clapping a rhythm for us when the sound system failed and we had no music! It was exceptionally windy though, I have never ever struggled as much with Tinker's skipping rope! It was like a giant unwieldy kite, and I managed to wrap Tink's tail up a couple of times as a result - oops!

In between our shows Alex helped out with the racing pigs; having to wear a very becoming costume whilst chasing a group of pigs up a track and over hurdles! This was really funny until we realised that Alex would obviously then smell of pig, which Tinker absolutely hates. Despite Alex's best effort with the baby wipes Tink still regarded him very suspiciously for the rest of the day - including during our show!

We were all very excited during the day (some of us more than others...) about the performance taking place in the bar that evening. The boys went off down the road to the local beer festival, but with strict instructions to be back for 8pm. Becca and I whiled away the evening in anticipation, went to meet the Devils Horsemen crew in the bar - and then it was time. For Elvis!! And not just any old Elvis - the 2010 World Champion Elvis! He was really really good and in no time at all Becca and I were up dancing - the only ones in the whole marquee to do so! The boys came back from their beer festival after a while to join us, but slightly worse for wear - one exchange went like this:

Alex to me: Timothy's REALLY drunk...

Me to Tim: Timothy. Are you REALLY drunk?


Point proven I think. Not to be deterred Becca and I soon played catch up (over take and lap several times!), and we all spent most of the evening dancing away to Elvis. However, soon we were doing a bit more than just dancing. Elvis (otherwise known as Ben Portsmouth) got Becca and I up onto the stage and told us we were going to be singing with him! EEEKK! No amount of Jack Daniels is ever going to make me a good singer, especially when I realised I'd never even heard of the song let alone knew the words! Becca was in the same boat as me, but we somehow managed to get through it before escaping back to our table, hoping the embarrassment would ease off! It soon did and we were soon back on our feet (and a table - until it broke!) dancing away for the rest of the night! We all had a fantastic evening, so a big thank you to Ben for entertaining (and putting up with) us!

Needless to say the following morning was quite a difficult one. However, despite our trepidations both shows went fantastically well! The horses were absolutely superb, we had no music problems, the wind had eased so I could handle the skipping rope, the vaulting felt easy and the crowds were brilliant - hooray! Bryn (Becca's boyfriend) had come down to see us for the day and took some brilliant panoramic photos of the arena. Some look quite odd as we were obviously moving at speed when he took them so we appear twice each - four horse show anyone?! Thanks must also go to Gordon for taking huge amounts of photos during the two shows - really not sure about some of our facial expressions though! We really enjoyed Uffington Show, and they obviously enjoyed us - they booked us for next year before we'd even left the site!!

All in all we had a brilliant weekend, probably my favourite of the whole season. You can see the photos by clicking on the links below:

Circus Workshop

Frogham Fair

Uffington White Horse Show.

We're off to Wales on Friday for the Welsh Festival of the Horse where we'll be performing the duo shows on Saturday and Sunday - I'll let you know how we get on next week!

Lots of love

Rosie xx


Rosie said...

I love what you do, id love to be able to do it proffesionally. I saw Rebecca at Wichford a long time ago but not you, must have been 5 years ago and id recently bought myself a fell pony, so inspired by you i attempted to stand on Magic, it was brilliant! it felt so good, i mean im only very amature and magic is gold dust but i just felt so good. I wanted to do horseback volting but (personally) i think im a bit too heavy. So im in my last year of a-levels and hope to go on and join the mounted police. Ive recently bought myself an ex-racehorse so im definately not going to try and volt of the back of him but i will take him eventing.
Anyway.. all i really wanted to say is that i think you two are amazing and i hope that i can see you doing your stuff sometime soon. Where are you based? i know its somewhere in the cotswolds.
Well good luck with your next event.
Love Rosie xx

Rosie said...

Hi Rosie,

Thank you for your kind words! We are really lucky to be able to do what we do, but at the end of the day it comes down to our fantastic horses who always look after us so well! We are indeed based in the cotswolds - in Todenham, near Moreton-in-Marsh. If you are interested in having a go then we do lessons, or we can come to you and do trick training lessons with your horses for something a bit different!

Love Rosie xx