Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair: Day 1

Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair, what an experience! As I sit here with the clingy animals begging me to never leave them again and the washing machine doing overtime I cannot believe how lucky I am. This job has taken me to amazing shows and events with the world’s best riders. Fan-bloody-tastic!

Again I hadn’t ever heard of ‘Tatts’ but was asked to go and photograph Shannondale Percy. I’m always keen for a new experience and I adore this horse so obviously I jumped at the chance! A quick rummage around the Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair

Website suggested some hotels and we went with the one recommended by them, simply for convenience. Well I’m blooming glad we did, what a treat! Anyways I digress

SO Thursday evening we trundled down to Gatwick and I was nervous about security, I’ve never travelled with camera before (not of this size) and wasn’t sure what the protocol was. Anyways we made sure all the lens cleaner was in a little plastic bag and sent them through the machine, no problems at all! Anyone who is planning a flight with cameras just ensure they are well packed and keep them as hand luggage. One of my stressors was out of the way so onto the next one. The wait for the gate. Now it’s never a good sign when the sign informs you that the gate is announced at 1905 and its currently 1915…..

Sure enough late departure as per the norm.

Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa

This meant some very grumpy travellers when we arrived in Dublin to collect the hire car only to be old we had to get on a bus to get the car. More grumpy faces. I was nervous about driving in another country but it’s the same side and pretty easy to navigate so all good. Eventually we arrived at Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa and were relieved to be given a fab room with comfortable beds.

Until 5am when it sounded like a crew of seagulls were in the room and then the next door room put the TV on load-they must have been deaf. Some heated words exchanged between myself and the staff, I probably mentioned doing something unmentionable to birds. Eventually after looking for another room we returned to our original one and tried to sleep. Wearily we stumbled for breakfast where I have to say I wasn’t blown away. I really not sure a 4 Star hotel should be serving breakfast buffet style, it doesn’t work and doesn’t keep it the standards.

At this point we were unhappy campers and we past reception on the way out. A happy smiling manager greeted us, listened to our video of the birds and was horrified. She assured us she would sort it and we left feeling a lot more positive.

So onto Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair. We got there in about 10 minutes, a nice easy journey so hats off to the hotel for location. We appeared to be quite early and there was no traffic, so easily parked. Having been used to the traffic of Badminton this was a welcome treat.

Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair Media Tent: A relaxed affair

We manged to locate the media tent and helped ourselves to our bibs, Niamh had said it was a relaxed event and she wasn’t wrong. There was some pony 1* cross country going so we meandered our way to the course. Now although it’s a purpose built site and easily to get around the cross country course is quite spread out so be prepared for a walk. As we headed over you could take in the atmosphere. People warming up, schooling, unloading horses and so on. As for the pony cross country, oh my word, it was impressive. Jumping the same course as the 6/7-Year-old young horse classes these ponies skipped over the fences. The riders were equally as impressive and rode like they were at Badminton!

We decided to have a look at the shopping village. Now by all means it’s not a commercial event, do not expect shopping like Royal Windsor Horse Show, you will be disappointed. A scattering of stalls and a craft village. I can’t help but feel that a lot of traders missed a trick here. The place was super busy Saturday and Sunday and people were keen to shop. Our highlight of the shopping was a Kinder Bueno Ice-Cream-I had one every day! After this it was on to the Cross country again to watch Percy.

We had done a walk of the course and worked out a couple of spots where we could nip between fences to get more than one. There were a few thrills and spills especially at the appropriately named ‘Dubarry Splash’. There were a few scrabbles and a couple of horses that changed their mind half way over. Percy however just skipped over it like it was a cross pole. William Fox-Pitt making it look like a schooling exercise.  After this it was onto the water complex and again he just popped around. He went clear and had no time faults, truly a super star.





Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Country Fair: Horse heaven

As we headed back to the hotel, again no traffic, we reflected on how ‘horsey’ the event was. The shopping isn’t the highlight instead you can truly immerse yourself in the eventing world. That is actually something you don’t get at a lot of these big events. More good news was to come, we had a new room, with no birds plus a free spa treatment and some drinks. A great example of how a business can turn a negative into a positive. We the had a superb dinner-surprising given the breakfast- and a yummy dessert. Some editing back at the room and the batteries put on charge ready for the next day. Full and satisfied we headed to bed.