|Les Etoiles Du Pau CCI**** | So Relaxed The Riders Even Have Time For A Smile To Camera From XC|
It was the most wonderful experience for so many reasons, although I was a little perturbed when I arrived by all the low flying military aircraft, but the horses really didn't mind. It turns out this is where the French Para-troppers train, and the British forces often come here to jump out of perfectly good aircraft.
Until now Pau has always been something of an after thought, "that event in France, oh yeah, it's a four star now". What a mistake! I think 4 stars generally get characterised by their cross country courses, the entries they manage to attract, and to a lesser extent the size of the spectator pool. This event has grown in stature on all these fronts.
read my take on the cross country course over at eventingnation.
The French really love taking pictures too. I've never seen so many cameras out at a 3 day event. In almost every photo I took on cross country day you can see a row of spectators hold up cameras of all shapes and sizes.
Having never been before, and this being my first foray into the upper levels of the French eventing scene, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Would it be like Badminton, like Burghley, or Blenheim, or Lexington? The truth is it's none of the above, it has a character and charm all of it's own, and you can probably only reference common elements from all of the other major events.
I did spot one tradestand I thought might have misread the forecast, or was hoping for a repeat of last year's dowpour, but judging by the volume of stock they still had, people just weren't buying umbrellas this weekend.
|Travelling Around The Course Was Easier Than To It (For Me)|
I still look back fondly though, on what for me has been the best four star experience this year - so relaxed, plenty of drama and anticipation in the competition, and one seriously cool location, adorned with sunshine all week long. After such a great Badminton back in April, this has rounded off my year perfectly.
Here's a few of my favourite photos from Pau:
"Thank You Pau, I Miss You Already"
Now, should I go for the full house and head to Adelaide?