Cast your mind back to two weeks ago and you will remember my last post, filled with excitement as I prepared to head to Your Horse Live 2013.
Anyone who expected a prompt Monday-morning blog about said event will have grown a long grey beard and died by now.
For any survivors, still keen to hear how we got on, I apologise for my tardiness. You see, the main problem with YHL is that it makes the rest of life seem a bit shit and boring.
Then I get too sad to write about it and avoid the prospect for, oooh, approximately two weeks.
Which brings us to now.
|Silver wristband and ticket - look how happy this makes me...|
If you can't be bothered with the ins and outs, here's a short summary - 1) It was Brill 2) Book for next year if you know what's good for you 3) The End.
For those with more patience here's the long version. Driving down there is one of my favourite bits because all the fun is still to come (bit like Christmas Eve). Also, we are organised and driven by our tremendous friend Lynn, who understands how important it is to have enough cheesy puffs and mini chocolate swiss rolls to last for the whole four-hour journey.
When we arrived at the Murder Motel there was a brief scuffle about who had to have room 13 and who would stay with who. Then we piled into one room and drank wine until midnight when exhaustion set in. I had been deemed too repulsive to share with anyone so I enjoyed a blissful night's sleep free from the nocturnal demands of Nancy puppy.
On Saturday we watched the Lucinda Fredericks demo. Her famous mare, Headley Britannia, stole the show, and demonstrated her lovely nature when Lucinda's young daughter rode her for the last five minutes.
Then out came Oliver Townend and Geoff Billington. Geoff always seems to bring a beautiful bay mare when he does demos and this year he arrived with one called Scarlet. The showjumping/eventing pair have a well-oiled routine and I always like to watch them. Geoff plays the clown but he cannot hide his years of experience and the fact his balance is a million times better than he lets on. Oliver is better at talking through what he does and why he does it though.
Then there was a dressage demo by the Eilbergs which was beautiful, but way over my head. They brought out a dapple grey and a black stallion and they were just something else in terms of beauty and paces. That said, I wouldn't want to turn them out in the morning - they looked like they'd eat grooms for breakfast.
Heather Moffett was very good too - we watched her both days. At first she banged on a bit about saddles and it seemed like it might turn into an advert but actually she didn't dwell too long and her demo riders were much more relevant for normal riders like me, who have wonky this and wonky that and aren't likely to trouble the Eilbergs when it comes to rosettes.
Saturday night we went out for a curry at Omars and the joy of being able to talk horses none stop WHILE drinking wine, WHILE eating delicious food, was slightly overwhelming.
|Very cute rescue pony in the pony village - all found prospective new homes.|
On the Sunday I was perched early for Jason Webb, who's been there for three years and never disappoints. I love his horse Diesel, who comes each year and does a demo at the end of each session. I watched the afternoon demo too and there was a really interesting/tense moment where the horse he was riding through some spook-busting exercises looked like he wasn't going to cross the tarpaulin. It took quite a bit of time and a few people started to leave but Jason kept his cool and got the horse through it without losing patience. I think a good horseman can get that kind of result but it takes a great one to do it with hundreds of expectant people watching.
Karen Smart was great. She had an OTTB mare with a beautiful trot who'd been bought at the sale a few days before. Between Karen and her balls-of-steel groom, she was going really nicely in a short space of time. While you always have to remember you're watching the professionals, there were some good exercises to take away.
Usually, I avoid all the shopping, but this year I got a lovely red jumper to wear for Christmas and one of those Mark Todd headbands to keep my bonce warm.
It was a sooper dooper weekend filled with loads of laughs. Now excuse me while I go and stick my head in the oven ;)
Happy horsing everyone x