Monday, 19 May 2014

Chatsworth - Breath-Taking In Every Way

Chatsworth - Breath-Taking Backdrops For The Horse Trials
Chatsworth being so close to Badminton in the calendar, makes it near impossible for me to visit or compete at. The ill-fated event in 2012, that was cancelled due rain-saoked ground like many that spring, is the closest I've come to going, until this year.

Despite being one of the most popular country estates I've never visited Chatsworth for any reason, but it really is breath-taking, and just as big and ostentatious as Blenheim.

The Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials, run Novice & Advanced classes with courses designed by Ian Stark, which combined with the terrain, makes these courses tough to ride [and walk] - get fit or go home!
The Moat Around "Queen Mary's Bower" Forms Part Of The Course

Like many of these grand stately homes, the parklands are scattered with all manner of even grander 'follies', and at Chatsworth, "Queen Mary's Bower", a raised garden that looks like a mini castle with a moat, is used as part of the course. This provides for some fabulous photographs, especially as it's early in the course.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Badminton 2014 - Serious & Seriously Good Fun

The Moment They Arrive It All Starts To Get Very Serious 
Talk to anyone who has ever competed at Badminton and they'll tell you it has an atmosphere unlike any other event. Years ago I remember talking to Andrew Nicholson about Badminton and him saying "everyone gets a little more serious when they walk through those arches, it's the one they all want to win." Having just listened to an interview with Jodie Amos from this year's event, it's clear they all feel the same.

Every year in April I wonder why I do what I do at Badminton, and but come the event I realise why. Every year the website and social media gets busier and busier. It's a full on adrenaline rush - it's hellishly busy, intense and a real buzz.