A day at Gatcombe Horse Trials

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, each year hosts the Festival of British Eventing at her home, Gatcombe Park. Commonly referred to as the Gatcombe Horse Trials, it is unique in testing the skills of horse and rider at all three levels - novice, intermediate and advanced. This year, apart from being the British Open Championship, it is also a qualifier for the World Cup.

Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country make up the three phases of the test and it is the Cross Country that is the most eagerly awaited for both its excitement and, sometimes, drama.
It's a brave horse and rider that competes Cross Country. Thirty solid obstacles have to be jumped at speed over rough terrain and there are usually plenty of falls and, hopefully, not too many injuries, although fatalities do occur to both horse and rider on rare occasions. Everybody likes to see the jockeys fall off as they jump into and cross the lake - there is usually a cheer as the soaked rider gets back on their mount to continue the race!

Dressage is all about concentration, putting the pair through the technical aspects of riding - very elegant to watch but not when it all goes horribly wrong! The Show Jumping course tests the skill of the rider and the agility of the horse.
She-dog enjoys these days out but is not so keen on having to remain on her leash. Being a pretty looking creature she is much admired and fussed over by many of the spectators and believes (we haven't told her any different) that the crowds have come to meet her. As most dog owners know, many a conversation is started over mutual dog patting and here is no exception, apart from the talk soon switching back to horses. The competitive/hunting horse world is quite small and it is remarkable how often you find that you both have mutual aquaintances.
Today, there was no drama. Despite this, the combination of good sport, sunshine and being able to wander through and picnic in beautiful parkland made a good day, none-the-less.

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  1. “It's a brave horse and rider that competes Cross Country”! I have seen that on TV Johnson. Sometimes the horses are totally exhausted!
    I can imagine how it is to walk with She-dog there, she is a very pretty looking lady!. Animals can bring people closer to each other. It's a very interesting post and I am going to read it more thoroughly.
    By the way Johnson, I think I wrote a mistake in my previous comment about the horses. I think it must be a “male foal” that was born and not a “steed”! Imagine that the mare gave birth to full grown steed, ha ha:)! I hope you understand that I am still learning to write in English and that you can laugh with my bloopers!
    I also hope that this correction was “correct”!
    Thanks Johnson.

  2. Don't worry too much about your English Fran - I am very impressed by it! The correct name for a male foal is a 'colt' and for a female foal a 'filly'. But most people, unless they are interested in horses, wouldn't know what those terms mean anyway! Johnson

  3. Johnson, just discovered you blog and look forward to your posts.

    We do love your England and gardens. A number of years ago we enjoyed our visit to Cornwall; Stourhead is magnificent and we planted a beech tree as soon as we returned; and clotted cream tea, oh my!

  4. Thanks Di - I agree with everything you say. Especially about the clotted cream teas!!

  5. Hi;
    Oh, I would love to attend such an event. For awhile there I thought 'cross country' would be my thing but I've discovered I'm content just riding around the foothills near my home.

    PS: Barney looks a lot like my horse, Megan. :)


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