Glorious Gatcombe: The Festival

Having first experienced Gatcombe back in March we were excited to see what the Festival of Eventing would bring. The day eventually rolled around and we had a (surprisingly) clear run up there. Bright and early we settled in to watch the dressage. Totally confused by the layout it took us a while to get our bearings. The dressage arenas were beautifully prepped. Shiny white boards with tasteful flower arrangements down the side. Ample room for spectators and lots of room for warming up created a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

Glorious Gatcombe: Dancing Horses

After we took enough dressage we began the trek back to the main event. I always find it a bit of shame that the dressage is out of the way and almost an add on. Lots of shops and stands greeted us which was welcome surprise. More than enough shopping to keep people happy and a nice range of brands too. Hiho Silver were spotted, Joules and Forelock books. I love reading and loved it as a child. I made it my mission to get a book to Mia Tindall. Looking like a bit of a muppet I hustled my way across the show ground and delivered a book straight into her hands. I can’t wait to hear what they make of it.

Glorious Gatcombe: Bubbles and BYEH

A top up off bubbly in the Pol Roger Tepee and we were off to watch the Burghley Young Event Horse. This class was a new experience for me and its rather interesting. Each horse will do a simple dressage test and once completed they then head onto the jumping phase. So, for a lot of horses they will be completing their dressage test whilst a horse doing a course of jumps. Bear in mind these classes are aimed at 4 and 5 year olds it is quite an ask. Once the dressage and jumping stages are completed they are then stripped. Assessed for conformation and trotted up-similar to a showing class. These marks go together and then the top ten go through the next stage. At this point they will be asked to gallop and the final decision made. Quite a interesting class to watch and maybe we saw the stars of the future!


Glorious Gatcombe: Course Walk with William Fox-Pitt

We had time to squeeze in a course walk with the man himself, William Fox Pit. A fantastic opportunity and it fascinating to hear his take on the novice course. Beefy and well up to height the jumps gave me the shivers. Even the one that looked quite inviting then had a huge drop after it. Get it wrong and you slid down the hill into some Cotswold stone!

An interesting path around the new water complex made for a photographers dream and already I was plotting my spot for the following day. There were mutterings that it was a bit odd to have such a lot of circles and going back through the water. I can see why that may be odd for the riders but for me I want to get the most fences. So it was perfect. Fascinating to listen to William discuss a line and a route, especially with other riders.  Ideas flying around my head with a plan made we headed off to discover our accommodation for the night.