Frog and Field at the BD Winter Nationals
Frog and Field at the BD Winter Nationals
Despite me loving all things horsey and also keenly following Dressage I have never been to the BD Winter Nationals! I am much too much of a nervous wreck to ride at them and hadn’t ever really thought they were much fun to a spectator. How wrong I was, they are great for a day out.
BD Winter Nationals: Where and Who
Set up in Gloucester at Hartpury College the Winter Nationals are a large scale affair. Forget a couple of arenas with some temporary stables. This place has it all, from large warm up arenas, large permanent stables and gorgeous out door arenas. There is ample seating for spectators, including benches outside and also heaps of seats inside. Also plenty of toilets, not portals, alway important in my opinion. Not only are the facilities lovely the atmosphere was great. This may have been helped by the ‘Charlotte Effect’ as it was being referred to as. Charlotte had more than one horse competing and in fact the horse and rider combo I had travelled up to watch were in her class.
I think Equestrianism is one of the few sports where your non-professional athletes can compete against Olympians. there was also the chance to watch the live stream which is a great move by British Dressage.
Charlotte went onto to win her class and continues to have a successful weekend up there.
The arenas were large and the surface appeared to ride lovely. One thing I would say to anyone planning on competing there is to make sure you exposed your horses to spooky plant pots and banners! Many a horse was spooked by the hectic walkways and decent amount of shops. On whole they coped well and I was impressed at how many of our four legged friends just embraced the atmosphere. Most of them seemed to lap it up, tolerating bit checks and lots of faces lining the sides of the arenas.
BD Winter Nationals: Dogs
Dogs are more than welcome and there were heaps of them. I love this and will regularly snap them. I think the dogs are an integral part of any equine event and so don’t overlook them. There was ample grass and room to walk them and unlike at Gatcombe people had respect for the riders and kept them under control. I think people need to realise that in order for to be continued to allowed to events they need to be kept under control. They all seemed to have lovely day out and many could be seen playing.
For more dog pictures have a look at the album where you may see your four legged friend.
BD Winter Nationals: Goods and Bads
I did find the names of the event confusing though, officially its the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships. A bit of a mouthful and often called the Nationals. So I wasn’t sure what to refer to the event as on Social Media. I also saw a lot of people struggling with the Live stream and where to find it, best place to look is the BD Facebook page. Overall though I had a wonderful day, I took a lot of pictures and soaked it all up. However, the fact half the classes were held indoors means it was tricky getting the quality of pictures that I would like. If I had still had a pony I would have gone crazy in the Le Mieux Stand-Corn flower blue anyone?? Definitely recommend it as a fun day out for relatively little money and can’t wait to be at the Summer Nationals.
Top tips for anyone visiting the BD Winter Nationals as a spectator-
Comfortable shoes-gates open early bells and if you are there on a Friday or Saturday there is the Gala night too. Making for a long day!
Bring Cash- Ice cream vans and coffee carts were there to keep everyone happy
Dog Lead-If bring your four-legged friend please be responsible.
Tips for anyone Competing at the BD Winter Nationals
Stables- can be quite far away from the lorry or the arenas. Bring a pair of hands and something to trolley everything around in
Spooky- The event is fairly large, so there are banners, swaging and shops everywhere. As well as a creaky walkway and lots of dogs. Make use of the arena walks and try to make your arena at home challenging!
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