Equestrian Events

My Weekend at Badminton

Well, what a weekend! I just absolutely love Badminton! I was lucky enough to be able to fly back from France for a long weekend to catch up with all of the action of the Cross Country and Show jumping.

On the Saturday, I went with my besties Hannah & Jo (they are not horsey but they know how much I am into it). We arrived nice and early and did a spot of shopping. I bought an Ariat Sun Stopper shirt that I had my eye on and was particularly chuffed that I could fit into an XL childs size which saved me £15! We watched the Shetland Grand National, which was just so entertaining. Some of them sped around the course, whilst others poodled along behind or even cut through the middle of the course! Then headed over to the Thatchers stand, where we sampled their new rosé cider which was rather nice!

We then headed out onto the Cross Country course. Incase you missed it you can see an interactive map of the full course here. I had read that the course was big and as difficult as ever. Our first stop was of course the Lake! It was fairly rammed full of people like normal. But we did manage to see Oliver Townend come through. When I was watching the horses and riders come through the lake, there was so many people watching, a few possibly waiting for someone to fall into the water and I thought how scary it must be for those riders! They must have nerves of steel!

We wandered past Badminton House and took our obligatory selfies and managed to see William Fox Pitt come flying past us. We then followed the course, stopping at the Young minds bushes, and the Feed Haywain. Next we went over to Nye Timber Heights, this was a good jump to spectate at as it was raised, so I managed to get a few shots of one of my fav’s Ben Hobday and Wizard over this one. I particularly enjoyed Ben’s whoop of delight as they galloped away.

We stayed here for most of the afternoon, as we queued for a long time to get something to eat. Note to self take a picnic next time. We thought about it but decided to take our drinks instead. But it took a big chunk of our afternoon away. By the time we had walked down to the loo’s at the far end of the course, came back, queued for a LONG time for some expensive, mediocre & quite frankly small portions of noodles and then sitting to eat that.  It worked out well though as we had a drink whilst sitting in the sunshine and then were able to meet fellow blogger and my instagram buddy Becky aka @becksbackinthesaddle at the Mirage Water.

We then headed back to The World of Food & Drink, which was located in its normal spot but not in a tent this year. We tasted all sorts of things including  honey whiskey, vodka, cheese and even some spices and balsamic vinegar!

We had a fabulous day and really soaked up the ambience. I just love seeing all the dogs and the fashion. I think I appreciate everything more now I have moved abroad. It definitely feels very English. You don’t see much tweed in France!  It was a great day out with my friends but was over so quickly. They say time flies when you are having fun! Luckily for me I returned to Badminton the next day. This time with my mum Margaret and Sister Ellen.

Now, we are some what veterans of Badminton, having been many times before. So although still relaxed (a coffee break and a(nother) cider stop were also squeezed in). We knew exactly what we wanted to see and do. After not seeing all the shops on Saturday or many horses for that matter! The Sunday let me get my horsey fix! We started in The World of Food for breakfast and then visited nearly every shop Badminton had to offer. We were mainly looking as none of us actually have our own horses at the moment, which does help your bank balance from taking a massive hit. However I made sure I got some Fudge from The Fudge Kitchen ( if you live in the west they have a shop in Bath & the fudge is to die for) and some really strong cheddar cheese to take back with me to France! I was able to find some Halloumi as well for lunch furthering my quest for food to eat that I can’t find in France.

Then came the show jumping. I absolutely love the nervous excitement of the show jumping arena. We watched the top twenty jump the course, which actually gave a few of the horses a tough time. With only 9 clear rounds in the top twenty the tension was really mounting by the time Christopher Burton came in to ride to keep his third position. After shocking the crowd with the only refusal of the afternoon on Graf Liberty, the tension hung in the air until Piggy French came in and did a beautiful clear round! The crowd went wild and it seemed that everyone in the grandstands felt so pleased to see her pure joy, she kept pointing to her horse Vanir Kamira and just couldn’t seem to believe that she had gone clear! It was quite emotional actually.  Then came in Oliver Townend, the commentator announced he could have one fence down but not two to keep his position. I’m personally not a fan of his but thought it was unlikely he wouldn’t win. However, he knocked one down, everyone gasped but I thought he had still won. Once he had finished there were a few seconds of mumblings and confusion in the grandstand until it was announced that Piggy French had won because Oliver Townend had knocked one down and incurred a few time penalties. The crowd went wild! What a result! So so pleased for Piggy French!

Results

1st. Piggy French & Vanir Kamira

2nd. Oliver Townend & Ballaghmor Class

3rd. Christopher Burton & Cooley Lands

4th. Christopher Burton & Graf Liberty

5th.  Andrew Nicholson & Swallow Springs

6th. Oliver Townend & Cillnabradden Evo

7th. Kristina Cook & Billy the Red

8th. Imogen Murray & Ivar Gooden

9th. William Fox-Pitt & Little Fire

10th. Tim Price & Ringwood Sky Boy.

For more information about Badminton head to their website.

So, what a weekend! I will be definitely coming back next year. I have my sights set on all of the days next year and definitely want to go on one of the course walks.

Did your favourite win? Were you there too? Let me know in the comments below.

Here is a link to my previous blog about my fav riders that competed at Badminton.

Be sure to follow @induehorse on Facebook & instagram.

Copyright of Louise Dando & In Due Horse 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

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Equestrian Events, Places to Visit

Badminton 2019. The Riders I Will Be Cheering On.

Badminton is upon us! The most exciting weekend in the eventing calendar.

We are currently on the morning of cross country day. I will be heading out to the course today to watch the best horses & riders in the world compete for £100,000 prize they will receive and of course a lot of kudos if they are crowned the winner at Badminton.

Photo – Badminton Horse Trials logo

I absolutely love the thrill of cross country. It makes me nervous just watching these horses and riders leap over the gigantically frightening jumps. Part of me thinks the riders must be mad and part of me wants to have a go myself!

I am very excited to see the top riders compete today. I am a frequent visitor to Badminton as I was lucky enough to grow up 20 mins down the road and I think Badminton is still my favourite weekend of the year as I love it more and more each year. I’ve missed the last few years, due to living in France now but enough was enough and I needed my Badminton fix!

Photo by William Carey for The Gaitpost

Currently in the lead and in second place is Oliver Townend. Now, I’m sorry but I am not a fan of his. Despite his very successful career I cannot get past his numerous tellings off from BE about the way he rides and treats his horses. To me he seems overly competitive to the point that he will risk his horses welfare to win. Simply put he is a great rider but I do not think he is a good horseman. I wish him not harm but would prefer it if someone else won! Although he has broken the record this year with the best dressage score in the history of Badminton, which does put him in a very strong position.

The riders I will be cheering on are…

Photo from Ben Hobday’s Instagram

For Great Britain, Ben Hobday. A popular choice, due to him being very charismatic and seemingly good guy who loves his horses and is a cancer survivor – what a hero! He is currently in 23rd position after the dressage. I will be cheering him on for sure!

Photo from Emily King’s Instagram

My other fav is Emily King, daughter of everyone’s heroine Mary. I just think the King’s are great riders and horse women. I am part of Emily’s Team Hobby syndicate and I wrote one of my first ever blogs about that. I plucked up the courage to send it to her and she emailed back saying thank you for writing a great blog! How nice is that?! She is currently 21st on Dargun.

Photo from Clara Loiseau’s Instagram

I will also be cheering on Clara Loiseau of France (my home country these days) as I saw her compete at Pau last year, where she came 3rd. She is an upcoming rider that I think will do well. She is currently lying 41st on Wont Wait.

I hope everyone has a great weekend watching Badminton there or at home.

Who do you want to win? Let me know in the comments!

Equestrian Events

Everything you need to know about Jumping International de Bordeaux

Since Thursday the Bordeaux Exhibition Centre has been full of Equestrian sport’s top riders and horses from around the World. I was planning to go in person as it is not far from where I live in Toulouse, but then I planned to go skiing today instead. Then my car broke so I couldn’t do that either! So I think its fair to say I was destined not to go anywhere today. However I still felt that you needed to know about this amazing event. Running from February 7- 10th it is happening right now. So sit back and relax and I will tell you all about it!

Photo credit: Artiste Associé

Jumping international de Bordeaux has a lot to offer. Tonight (Saturday) it will host the penultimate leg of the Longines FEI Showjumping World Cup. Forty of the top show jumpers are competing tonight before the final in Gothenburg in April. I am sure it is going to be an exciting night of competition. I am hoping to catch some of it online, as my favourite french show jumper Penelope Leprevost is competing as well as Scott Brash and Michael Whitaker for GB.

After that this evening is the FEI World Cup Driving final. This is where the six best four in hand drivers compete against each other to be the world champion.

Last night, saw the Devoucoux Indoor Derby. A competition for event riders, the course consisted of 20 jumps in total 12 fixed cross country style jumps at the height of 1m10 including a bank, an eye, some skinnies, corners and a brush fence. There were also 5 showjumps in the course set at a height of 1m30 and course was set with an optimum time. Eventing favourite German Michael Jung won on Corazon.

Photo Credit: HR BRICOT

Another highlight is the `Nuit Iberique’ A show made up of The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art from Spain, The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art from Lisbon, The Cadre Noir from France and a family run circus troupe Hasta Luego. The show pays hommage to the Iberian breed using Grand Prix dressage moves of which the breed excels at and a circus ballet with horses is performed without reins or other forms of restraint! Sounds very cool!

Photo credit: HR BRICOT

There are many other competitions at Bordeaux too. Including the Coupe des Clubs where young show jumpers from different riding clubs in South West France compete against each other.

90 stallions from studs all over South West France are presented in hand or compete in the Bordeaux Young Sires Masters showjumping classes with classes for 7 year olds and 8 year olds as part of the Bordeaux Stallions Show.

There is also an equine health forum, bloggers meet-up, demonstrations, Le Pony Club offer rides for children and there are clinics too!

Photo credit: Artiste Associé

But lets not forget one of the most important things! Shopping! In the Salon de Cheval there is everything an equestrian could want tack, equipment, clothing, saddlery, new technology for horse and rider – whatever your equine discipline you find everything you need here! And of course being in France you will find a fab restaurant or two as well.

I think you agree this just sounds fantastic, and if you do get a chance to go in the future you definitely should! I’m imagining a French non festive Olympia sort of vibe. So, anyone up for going next year?!

Tickets and updates on results from the competitions are available online at http://www.jumping-bordeaux.com

Equestrian Events, Fun Ideas

All the Queen’s Horses in the New Years Day Parade.

Photo by Getty images

It’s January 2019 – how did that happen?! I don’t know about you but after the festivities of Christmas and the new year are over I find January a bit miserable. However this year I am determined to change my frame of mind about that and how better to do that? By learning about a parade of horses walking through London! I know that would cure my post New Year’s Eve hangover for sure!

The first New Year’s Day parade was in 1987 and it has run every year since. It features marching bands, cheer leaders and street performers. It was intended to bring joy to an otherwise dull day in London as traditionally all the shops and restaurants are shut on New Year’s Day. All the Queen’s horses are a small part of this big parade but obviously they are my favourite bit. The horses have been included in the parade since 2012, when they were first invited to join the parade because of the Queen’s diamond jubilee and the olympics that year. The horses proved to be so popular they have been invited back each year since.

Photo by lnydp.com

Each year there is a different theme and on average each rider spends around £1000 on their costume for themselves and their horse!! The theme this year was ‘London welcomes the world’ which was a little ray of light in the time of brexit negotiations (or lack of) bringing the country down. The parade features 60 horses and their 200 handlers and helpers and were lead by a 32″ tall Falabella stallion called Azlan, who is an old pro as this year was his 3rd parade. The parade marches through central London from Piccadilly to Parliament Square with around 500,000 spectators. The parade includes horses and riders from all over the world including the USA, Spain, Norway, Holland and Germany. All different breed of horses are included Clydesdales, shetlands, ex racehorses and Dales to name a few. The youngest rider was 3 years old and the oldest 74 years old.

Photo from http://www.allthequeenshorses.co.uk

So, when it comes to horsey festive fun it seems London is the place to be. Following shortly after Olympia it seems London knows how to throw a horsey party! I have yet to see this for myself but I definitely want to now! You can contact the organisers of ‘All the Queen’s Horses’ part of the parade and ask to take part if you and your horse want to get involved, via http://www.allthequeenshorses.co.uk and you can spread a little joy yourself. Personally I’m not sure Mya would be too keen though!

Photo from http://www.allthequeenshorses.co.uk

So when you are feeling down this January forget your January blues and just think of horses parading around London dressed up in silly costumes! I know I will. Happy New Year everyone and I hope that 2019 brings you everything you hope for.

Equestrian Events, Reviews

Cross-country Day at Pau

Pau proved to be last but certainly not least, as the final CCI **** event of the season took place in the South of France last weekend. There were a strong contingent of British riders that stepped up to represent but it was a young French rider Thibault Fournier, who took the title. Competing at his first event at this level, Fournier did a fantastic cross country round that was clear and within the 11.06 allowed for the challenging twisty course. I was lucky enough to attend the cross country last weekend and it certainly proved to be a very exciting day of riding.

(Pictured is Gemma Tattersall)

When I say it was exciting I am not exaggerating. 3 top riders were eliminated on course due to falling off. William Fox- Pitt , Tim Price and the overnight leader Oliver Townend. Which accounted for part of the reason the leader board changed quite dramatically after the cross country. The course was praised for being the most challenging ever at Pau. It was full of twists and turns and the jumps themselves were imaginative and challenging, with many very narrow jumps that really tested both the horse & rider.

Pictured: Some of the challenging obstacles & William Fox-Pitt before his fall.

The day finished with Thibault Fournier (France) climbing into first position, ahead of Gemma Tattersall (GB) and Izzy Taylor (GB), with Ros Canter (GB) in 5th position. If Ros could finish in the top 3 it would mean she would become the world number 1, a position not held by a woman since Mary King in 2011. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but she is still World Champion, so not a bad season for her!

Final Results after Showjumping :

1) Thibault Fournier & Siniani de Lathus (France)

2) Gemma Tattersall & Pamero 4 (GB)

3) Clara Loiseau & Won’t Wait (France)

Pictured is Ros Canter

I had a total fan girl moment when I was waiting for James to buy me a burger. I was stood holding my dog Ziggy and William Fox-Pitt walked straight past me!!! He just strolled through the French crowd and no one else seemed to notice. Apart from me. But did I say something? Did I ask for a selfie? No. I just silently went “oh my god oh my god oh my god it’s William Fox- Pitt” as he continued to stroll past me out of sight. Damn it! I really wish I had spoken to him.

Another highlight for me was going to the start box and watching Oliver Townend and Ros Canter start. I was so impressed at how calm both horse and rider looked at the start of this really big and challenging course. I think I would have been petrified!

Pictured: Oliver Townend

The event is held in the Domaine de Sers, and it didn’t disappoint. It was easy to follow the cross country course on foot, I think we saw every fence actually. There was also bars placed around the course, so you could get a beer and watch the action easily with a drink in hand. There was a small but good shopping village which had mainly French brands, my personal favourite being Padd, as they have a good selection of things for horse and rider for good prices and they also had a few British brands like Fairfax & Favor and Hi Ho Silver. There was also a good selection of food, which I must admit I’ve come to expect living in France! You could have anything from oysters to pasta, a burger or a crepe.

The eventing season has now come to a close and what an exciting finish it was! Pau was a brilliant place to see a few new riders step up to CCI **** for the first time including its winner, so I am very excited for next season as I’m sure we will see many of our old riding favourites return but I’m sure we will have some new favourites soon with many exciting new horses and riders making their debut to this top level of competition.

Equestrian Events

All you need to know about The World Equestrian Games 2018. A non horsey person’s guide.

It claims to be the ‘Greatest Equestrian Show on Earth’ and it is coming in September to North Carolina, USA and I am going to give you the low down on everything you need to know.  Just wait, you will able to impress your horsey spouse/ friend with all of this information and you might even enjoy watching it with them. Or if all else fails it might give some answers in a pub quiz one day? You are going to be the best partner/friend/ parent ever!

So, The World Equestrian Games (WEG) happens every four years half way between the cycles of the summer Olympic Games. The first one was in 1990. The disciplines that make up the games are Dressage, Para dressage, Driving, Endurance, Eventing, Showjumping, Reining and Vaulting. Here are basics that you need to know…

Dressage

An Olympic discipline that sees horse and rider perform a range of intricate movements. They memorise a dressage test and are judged by a panel of up to seven judges.

Scoring – The higher percentage score the better.

One to watch– Charlotte Dujardin, Great Britain. Known in the British press as the girl on the dancing horse. If you have not seen this girl ride you need to! Her horse Mount St John Freestyle only began her career this year but is so far unbeaten with scores of 80% and over!

Fun fact: Charlotte wears the same set of clothes every time she competes.

Para Dressage

Photo credit – Stinna Tange Kaastrups Facebook page. 

Para dressage has the same basic rules as dressage but it’s riders are divided into categories according to their functional abilities. For example some tests include walk, trot and canter elements, while others are just judged at a walk.

One to watch – Stinna Tange Kaastrup from Denmark. Double bronze winner at Rio in 2016 on Horsbo Smarties.

Fun fact – Stinna likes to spray herself and her horse with gold glitter hairspray!

Driving

This involves carriages being pulled by 4 horses (aka 4 in hand) tackling 3 phases of competition over 3 days- dressage, marathon & obstacles/cones. 3 human competitors navigate the 4 horses around each section. Each team is marked on turnout & how well the horses & humans match too, so be prepared for some fancy looking matching outfits on both humans & horses!

Scoring– Lowest overall penalty score wins.

One to watch – Chester Weber, USA. The most celebrated combined driving champ in the world.

Fun fact: Chester rescued his most famous carriage horse Jamaica (who is now retired) from a slaughter house.

Endurance

A long distance competition against the clock. An ultra marathon on horseback if you will! Courses range from 80-160km.

Scoring – First one to cross the finish line wins (whilst stopping periodically for vet checks).

One to watch – Maria Alvarez Ponton, Spain.

Fun fact- Maria was the first person to hold the titles of world and European champion at the same time. Maria and her husband Jaume Punti-Dachs were also the first married couple to stand on the same podium at the European championships in 2007. Now that’s couple goals!

Eventing

Photo credit- http://www.Horseandponyvideos.com 

This is where a single horse and rider combination compete in dressage, cross country and showjumping.

Scoring – For dressage in eventing it differs from pure dressage, so the lower the dressage score in eventing the better. The jumping elements are scored by penalties being added for refusals and time penalties are also given if the course is not completed within the optimum time. In a ideal world you will finish with a low dressage score and gain no further penalties in the jumping sections – hey we can all dream right?!

Ones to watch– Team New Zealand. The Kiwis have a fierce squad this year including veterans Blyth Tait and Mark Todd and this years Badminton winner Jonelle Price and her husband Tim who just won Burghley. They are quite the power couple!

Fun Fact– Blyth Tait and Mark Todd were in the first WEG squad back in 1990 when they won gold. Both have retired from eventing after having successful careers but both have returned to the sport. They just can’t seem to get enough!

Showjumping

My personal favourite. This is where a horse and rider jump a course of fences in an arena.

Scoring – The aim is for a clear round if the horse does knock down or refuse a fence penalties are added. If the horse and rider jump clear they qualify for the jump off, which is when they have to jump a shorter version of the course against the clock and the fastest clear round wins. It’s exciting stuff trust me!

One to watch- Harrie Smolders, Netherlands. Cool name and talented guy who is currently ranked the world no 1.

Fun fact – Harrie had to choose between becoming a professional show jumper or a pro football player. He chose showjumping as he didn’t believe his football coach when he said he could make lots of money playing football!

Reining

Now I had to look this up myself! Reining is the only western discipline in the WEG. It is a judged event that shows the athletic abilities of a ranch horse. This involves the horse and rider following a variety of approved patterns in canter that include riding small, slow circles, fast large circles, roll back on hocks, 360 degree spins and sliding stops to name a few.

Scoring – Each part of the pattern is scored on precision, smoothness and finesse with the degree of difficulty being taken into account too. In general a score of over 70 reflects that the competitors movements were above average, under 70 under average. It is judged by 5 judges with the top and bottom score being dropped to give an average final score.

One to watch- Gennaro Lendi, Italy who is a previous world champion.

Fun facts– Gennaro’s moto is ‘born to ride’ and comes from a non equestrian family.

Vaulting

Basically gymnastics on horseback!

Scoring – In individual competitions one vaulter performs on one horse. However in the freestyle team competition up to 3 vaulters can perform at the same time on one horse. All vaulting tests are scored out of ten and judging is based on technique, form, difficulty, balance, security and consideration of the horse.

One to watch- Kristina Boe, Germany.

Fun fact- Kristina won a previous World Cup with a Star Wars themed routine.

So now you know the basics of the WEG. I purposely picked some riders to watch that I have never heard of so you can really impress your horsey spouse/ friend! I hope this guide helps you understand these not so familiar sports and hey perhaps you will find something you enjoy watching?

The World Equestrian Games start on September 11th 2018. You can watch it online on the following websites – www. horseandhound.co.uk/world-equestrian-games. FEI TV online and Horse and Country TV online or visit http://www.tyron2018.com for more information.

All photo credits are from http://www.tyron2018.com unless otherwise stated.