|Gatcombe | Great For Practicing My Photographic Skills|
Autumn colours were breaking through everywhere, and the varying terrain of Gatcombe provided some great opportunities for practicing my photographic skills in a variety of settings. I've still a way to go on the photography front, and I will have to go on a few photography courses this winter to get more of a handle on my camera, but I think I came away from Gatcombe with at least a couple of nice photos.
Showjumping for the novice classes caused more problems than the cross country, which was a nice flowing straightforward course made up of logs, walls and hedges with the occasional wooden box structure thrown in for good measure. A new second pond had appeared next the original one, used this year for the CIC** class, and you could see plenty of opportunity to vary the routes through the water, over the coming years as the landscape settles in.
|Vicky Brake & Banoffee Pie|
|Pippa Funnel & Billy Black Jack | Fast & Sleek|
|Pippa Funnel & Billy Black Jack | Exciting Winners At Gatcombe!|
|Paul Tapner & Kilronan | CIC** Winners|
Quite a few riders had problems at the double corners which were tricky to represent at, but overall there were no dramas, apart from the deluge of rain for ten minutes in the closing stages of the class. Thankfully the ground was perfect throughout the weekend out on course, and quite a stretch of it runs through the woods, so it didn't ruin the results. A few horses in this class that proved interesting to watch were Jonelle Richards' Mere Oak, who finished 6th, and was ridden last year by Laura Collet, Zidante for Kitty King (2nd), who I think has an interesting string of horses at the moment, and of course, I'm sure there were plenty of eyes on Julian Stiller who was giving her new ride Charlie Weld their first 'international' outing, since she bought the Bramham winner from Germany.
All credit to HRH Princess Anne (who was everywhere!), and her team for putting together such a great course and event. Gatcombe was another fabulous fond farewell to the British summer, and possibly my last visit to a UK horse trials for a while, given my work & travel plans over the coming few months. Still, there's one or two I might visit in other, hopefully warmer, parts of the world before the year is out.
I wish I'd gone to Gatcombe (2) with an empty horsebox, so I had a new string of good looking, sleek and speedy horses for next season! Dream on........