I’m writing this as we prepare to head back to Badminton Estate for dressage day!
Yesterday was fantastic, the weather was perfect, the trade stands were gob-smacking in the sheer number and variety of goods and services they were selling and then the trot up. Well – the sheer magnificence of those horses was a highlight.
It was quite a relaxed day, crowds were good but not to the point where the trade stands were congested. You knew when the first horse inspection was due, everyone started heading down through the trade stands to the area in front of Badminton House. Many had obviously been doing this for a while, they were well equipped with their chairs or blankets, probably having sat in the same spot for many years. It paid to get there early to get a good view. The media and their clicking cameras were all down the turnaround area of the trot up, and the noise of the clicking cameras just about drowned out the clip clop of the horses hooves!
No horses were “spun” although the Italian contingent had a bit of a nervous moment for a while as one of their riders had to re-present his horse. The New Zealand horses looked fantastic, but so too did all the others. The overall standard of the horses, as expected, was incredible. They are the premium athletes in the eventing world, and every one of them looked just the part.
My personal favourites were Avebury and Clifton Promise, although Nereo impressed with the enthusiasm and sheer bursting energy he showed. He wanted to get out there jumping! I also was very taken with Leopin, Michael Jung’s horse. He was an impressive looking horse, more so than the famous Sam, but I think Sam may be one of those horses who looks better under saddle.
The riders’ outfits were great. Nothing too radical (in keeping with the Badminton way). Jock looked very styley in his suit, Megan looked like a model in her black.
The only disappointing aspect of yesterday was my iphone’s inability to connect with the internet at all if I took it more than 5 metres from the media centre’s wifi. Bit tricky when I intended tweeting for @NZEventing but I have a plan for today which involves fellow kiwi Vicki Glynn.
Talking of Kiwis, saw a few there. Spotted Jennifer and Bruce Millar in the distance, talked to both John Nicholson and Richard Otto, Libby Law was clicking away furiously with her “babies” and ran into Darnelle Price doing a great job of the Keyflow stall in the Mark Todd Collection stand. Kiwi Christine Jeffcote, who lives in the UK, was very proud of her daughter Hayley who flew around in the Grassroots competition which finished yesterday, ending up in 15th place.
I know there are many more Kiwis heading this way over the next few days, including Dan Jocelyn and Blyth Tait, so will be good to catch up with them!
Here are the photos from the trot up and the shopping area, I’ll keep putting those captions on as I get a chance!
Images below © Jane Thompson