Sunday, 27 May 2012

Woodside Cross Country Day | California Dreaming

A Full Day of Cross Country At Woodside's Spring Event
 With just under 400 entries, cross country day at Woodside was pretty busy, running classes right across the spectrum. Sadly I missed the Advanced class at Woodside this morning, waylaid by the day job, and turned up half way through the training level classes, so spent a good deal of time at the cross country warm up which unlike back home is hosted in a surfaced arena.
Cross Country Warm Up On An All Weather Surface

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Welcome To Woodside | "The Silicon Valley Horse Trials"

Woodside Horse Trials - San Francisco CA
Just hours before I was due to depart for good old Blighty, my trip to Silicon Valley got extended by 12 days,  which I have to be honest I half expected, but I was beginning to feel stranded and in danger of seeing no horses for a fortnight, until I realised Woodside Horse Park was just a few miles away and was running an event this weekend.

This is California, albeit northern CA, so not exactly the lush green galloping lanes of Bramham Horse Trials I remember seeing pictures of earlier today in their build up to the most anticipated event of the UK calendar, since the demised of Badminton & Chatsworth, but it was a welcome site nevertheless after the concrete jungle that is Silicon Valley.

Woodside is a compact site, very similar to Tweseldown in the UK, with several 'all weather' tracks twisting and turning across each other, and two small water complexes, plus a variety of drops, steps, and deceptive undulations.

Monday, 14 May 2012

FEI Driving Marathon | Royal Windsor Horse Show 2012

Karen Bassett | 4-In-Hand
With Chatsworth Horse Trials and a host of other events cancelled due to bad weather I made my way to the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which holds one of the best driving marathons in the country where the stars of the european driving scene were out in force. Carriage driving is something I had always promised myself I would 'give a go' at some point and a few years ago I started driving lessons during the winters. What a blast! If you've never tried it I highly recommend it - it's more exhilarating than you think! The sport is great for photography too....

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Chatsworth 2012 | The Olympic Quest Continues

Mary King & Imperial Cavalier On The 'Badminton Bypass' To Chatsworth
Over the coming few days we'll learn more of the back-up plans for many riders for whom a main pre-Olympic run was brought to an abrupt halt by the cancellation of Badminton earlier this week. Statements of how little impact this has had, have been dotted around all over the news in the last few days, even though Badminton's profile and position in the eventing calendar makes it a very useful event as a Key Performance Indicator in Olympic year, not to mention one of the best qualifying events to tackle for European based riders.

All that aside, many of the elite were already heading to the Peak District for Chatsworth Horse Trials and a slightly less demanding Olympic prep run to showcase their fitness and agility in what often provides one of the best indicators for competitive form.

Badminton 2011 | Fonder Memories Than 2012

The Green Galloping Lanes From Badminton 2011 | Wishing We Could Roll Back A Year
Badminton 2012 Cancelled Due to Waterlogged Ground - Bugger!

I'm still lost in a sea of email and other messages as I deal with the my own little corner of the fall out of Badminton being cancelled the day I was due to turn up. My first wet weather cancellation experience of the event since first getting involved over a decade ago. As much as I hate the rain, I would have preferred a wet Badminton to no Badminton. The foot and mouth epidemic in 2001 was the last time it was cancelled.

Whilst I lament and wallow my own whoas of all the hard work that has gone into this year's event and the exciting new things we had planned, I'm reminded of the enormous knock on effects this has on so many others: