Saturday, 30 July 2011

Three Counties Show

The Thursday after Bolesworth we were back on the road again and this time headed for the Three Counties Show.  This is my absolute favourite show of the year so I was a happy thing to be on our way there again.  In the lorry we had Becca, Amy, Tinker, Ronan, Navvy and myself - no boys yet, they were due to join us later on.  So it was up to us girls to erect the tent on our own again, and we did a blinding job - no saggy corners on our watch!

We were there for a three day duo, and planning to have Becca vault on Ronan for the first show followed by Amy vaulting on Ronan for the second show on Friday (with me and Tink both times of course!), then over the weekend have Becca do the first show on Navvy whilst Amy did the second show on Ronan.  However, unfortunately things didn't go to plan.  Having done two shows during the day on Friday Ronan was unmistakeably lame in the evening.  He'd been intermittently unsound for the last couple of weeks, but we thought he'd be ok due to having fancy new shoes with pads under his soles (at great expense to Becca!).  He'd had an easy couple of weeks and was on every supplement, lotion and potion under the sun to try and get him right, but it wasn't to be.  The following morning the vet prescribed three weeks rest, which had mixed reactions from us all: Becca, Amy and I horrified (how would we cope without him - lots of upcoming bookings, Navvy not ready to step into Ronan's shoes, double bookings looming?!); Navvy anxious (no pressure mate, but it's all up to you now!); but Ronan was nothing other than SMUG!  'Three weeks off you say, no work, don't mind if I do!'  We even started referring to him as Smugmore Ronan instead of Strathmore Ronan!  So whilst the rest of us toiled away for the weekend Ronan spent his time mooching about in his own specially constructed turn out paddock complete with gazebo to shelter under - all right for some!

So Navvy was chucked in at the deep end with two duos per day to perform.  Luckily, he'd had some show experience the previous week at Bolesworth, but not yet attempted a duo show.  The arena at The Three Counties is perfect for us though, it's just the right size, is lovely and flat, and has a warm up area at one end.  It was at this show back in 2007 that Tinker made his debut, again in a duo show, so we were quietly confident Navvy would be just fine - and he was!!  We introduced him as our newest member of the team and explained that he may be a bit wobbly and that anything could happen, but he was brilliant!  Becca did all her freestyles, he did his dances well, and did either the vault off with Thunderhoof or clown volunteer depending on the show.  The only thing that was a slight problem was that he'd cut across the ring to try and be as close to Tinker as possible - not helpful if you happen to be upside down!  We missed out the Roman Riding as we haven't rehearsed Tinker and Navvy together, and didn't think it'd be wise to try it for the first time in front of a very large audience!!  

All four of our shows went without a hitch, until the very last one on Sunday afternoon.  I'd done my dance with Tinker and jumped back on him to set up for skipping.  And that's when I smelt it.  Dog poo.  And far too close for comfort.  I'd manage to step in a hound turd and had very limited time to sort the situation out.  The last thing you want is to vault with turd on your foot.  It gets all over the horse and pads, which in turn gets all over you.  Becca had a very similar incident back in November when we were on tour, and it really isn't pleasant.  Luckily, Tim was approaching with my skipping rope, and Tinker's catching cloth was nearby...  It was over and above the call of duty for Tim to clean my shoe off with the cloth - but very very much appreciated!  And that cloth made a rapid retreat to the nearest bin!  So we'd reached the end of the final show with no major incidents, and then in the last five minutes the heavens opened and it poured with rain!  We've got some lovely photos of Becca and I carrying on regardless, and all you can see in the background are people huddled under their umbrellas!  Click here to see the photos of this and lots of others from the whole weekend.

Aside from the vaulting there was lots going on all weekend.  On the Friday afternoon following our show Amy and I were asked to pop down to the lake to 'brighten up the fishermen's day'!  So off we went, only to find ourselves five minutes later actually fishing!  We sat there for about half an hour with the very friendly teachers and both managed to catch a few fish.  I felt particularly guilty when I caught a goldfish, but just like the others he was unhooked before being put back in the water - hopefully not to make the same mistake again!  The whole area was organised by the Young Anglers Project to try and promote fishing, and they provided coaching all weekend for a huge variety of people.  It's the first time I've ever tried fishing, but I actually quite enjoyed it!  Good job too because imagine my surprise when I arrived back at the lorry later in the evening (having been for a wander around) Tim informed me that one of the anglers had been round to say I'd won a rod in their competition!  I didn't even realised I'd entered one!!  So the next day I went back down to the lake with Amy and they very kindly presented us both with a four metre whip rod complete with rig and disgorger (??!) - first time I've won anything since I was about six I think...

We also found time to visit the countryside marquee where there was a lovely selection of pigs, goats, sheep and chickens - some of which were actually hatching out of their eggs whilst we watched them!  Hatching is obviously very hard work - look how tired this little chick is!

After only an hour or so though look what there was!

Tim and Alex were delighted to discover the 'Potato Council' marquee one evening, and as we were planning to have sausage and mash in the evening for supper they drew faces on two of the doomed potatoes and took them off for some counselling!  I'm not quite sure what the people in charge made of our boys and their depressed potatoes but they came back with a whole lot of stickers with various potato-ey slogans on which they then proceeded to stick everywhere (much to Becca's annoyance!).

We saw loads of different things over the weekend, met up with lots of friends (old and new!), and generally had a jolly good time!  It was just unfortunate that we had to pack everything up soaking wet and it was once again a very bedraggled team who headed off in our separate ways on Sunday evening.

Next up is a one day duo show at Wisbech Country Fair, where Navvy will once again have to step up to the mark and perform two duo shows.  We're going to practise Roman Riding with him and Tink this week so I'll let you know how we get on with it!!

Lots of love,

Rosie xx

1 comment:

Helen said...

Hello Rosie, Lovely to read about what you've been up to and I hope Ronan is fully recovered now. One of my friends was at your Yorkshire training day, Hilary (there's a photo in your gallery of her hugging Tinker) and I know she was really thrilled with the whole experience.

Just had to tell you that Bella has suddenly started offering to lie down from her bow! She's done it several times now and I stuff her full of treats every time while she's down there so I'm hoping to get it on cue soon. She is definitely my pony of a lifetime!!!

Hope to bump into you again soon. I'm getting married next year (yes, the one you met!) and you're officially invited. He had his first ever sit on a horse today and did really well, especially as he cracked me up by telling me that getting from the mounting block to the horse's back was too dangerous a manouevre to begin with! He had to give it a try in the end to stop me falling about laughing!! He was really brave, considering how scared he was, and even managed to start to relax a bit, and I was really proud of him.

Lots of love, Helen.