Day Two at Blenheim Horse Trials 2018
After a very successful shopping trip the previous night I headed back to Blenheim Horse Trials. Eager to get a good spot for the trot ups I was excited as they were being held in front of the palace. Normally they are down by the stables, so this was a welcome change.
Blenheim Horse Trials: Trot Ups and Twinkle Toes
The Trot Ups have become a bit of an event in themselves. There were plenty of crowds gathered to watch the eventers and their horses strut their stuff. With the addition of best dressed and the excellent location they have also become a bit of a fashion show. No bad thing really and it creates some lovely pictures. This was the second trot up, the first is at the beginning of the event and is more of an occasion at these big events. Some of the horses were rather lively and a few riders had to keep their feet out of the way.
They are all assessed there and then. They either pass or get sent to the holding box if the ground jury aren’t happy with them. The horses will the either re-present and pass or withdraw from the next stage. This is all to protect the horses and ensure they are fit enough to proceed. It’s another early start for the grooms and support team as the walking them off and preparing them starts in the early hours. I do think they should introduce a best turned out horse prize for the groom who is in charge of them. It would be nice to acknowledge the hard work they all do and the hours they put in.
Blenheim Horse Trials: Master Class and ponies
Once the trot up was complete it was time for the master class with Alex Bragg to kick off in the main arena and also time for me to grab some breakfast. I was distracted by some pretty ponies posing by the palace and I could see the mum struggling to get the horses ears forwards. Offering my phone with its fab all ears App I realised it was Alice. Alice rides a cracking 15.2hh gelding around 2* courses and I was desperate to get to meet them. We had a catch up and she’d just finished taking her babies around the eventer’s challenge. Following them back I swung by and said hi to the Cow Pony and his crew. They were all up early washing, plaiting and prepping for their parade with the hounds! That was in the main arena and must have been great to watch-see what I mean about loads to do.
Blenheim Horse Trials: Cross Country and Pastries
The cross country had started by this point so time for another massive pastry and cuppa before heading out on course to find a good spot. Now some people prefer to go where the ‘money shot’ is and others like to go where the prettiest fence is. Personally, I like to hang out down at the start and finish areas. Plus get as many fences as I can. So that normally means having a look and seeing where the course runs back on itself. This is fairly easy with the smaller events but can be tough on these bigger ones, mainly because they have so much room to play with. Still I found my spot and sat down to enjoy the sun. Some of my tog-buddies where down there too and we enjoyed a natter whilst simultaneously snapping. There’s something very comforting about the sound of multiple camera shutters all going off at the same moment. As we joked we either all know what we are doing, or we’ve not got a clue. I’d like to think we are in the former category and not the later!
Blenheim Horse Trials: Light Work
Most of the horses made light work of the cross country apart from a few run outs on course and for some there were some odd refusals. Mostly though the course rode well and there was plenty to see and do.
The XC finished about lunch time, perfect timing to go back up to the shopping village and have a wander. I had a few places I wanted to head to. First up was Emily Cole’s stand. This lady surely needs no introduction, she creates the cutest cartoons which all us horsey folk can relate too. I had my eye on a calendar but was soon distracted by a mug that had a scene resembles myself and my old pony-Honey. I had to have it and I happily handed over my money, after dropping half of it on the floor!
Blenheim Horse Trials: Shoppping Fun
Onwards I trotted, I ‘needed’ a softshell jacket, something a bit smarter than a hoody but just a comfortable. I came up trumps on a sale rail and snaffled myself a fab Navy Ariat one. Perfect. For my final mission I headed back to a stand I’d been thinking about since Olympia, Kate Negus. They are known for their quality bespoke leather work and they’ve recently branched out into bags. I’d admired them, stroked them and lusted after them for nearly a year now.
Quality costs money and they aren’t cheap. They are such amazing quality and the leather smells amazing. I’d spotted a sample in the morning and after a rather up and down summer I decided sod it. The lovely ladies on the stand helped me decide on a matching tassel and the deal was done. Feeling guilty but delighted I headed back to the car to store my wares.
Deciding that was a good note to leave on I decided to embark on my mission home. I do love Blenheim and think it has the perfect balance of shopping combined with excellent equestrian and countryside entertainment. Plenty of loos (always important) and heaps of food outlets. It’s really is one for the 2019 calendar.