Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Household Cavalry Equestrian and Country Show

Having unfortunately missed this last year I blocked out the majority of July's weekends for this year in order not to double book and miss it again. The Household Cavalry spend some time in Norfolk for their Summer break, the highlight of which (for the locals and those lucky enough to find out about it beforehand) is their Holkham beach visit where horse and riders in large numbers have the best of times in and out of the sea. They don't really broadcast the date of this trip in advance, I guess for obvious reasons of being swamped by visitors and cameras, and so we did actually miss this again this year but hope, one year, we shall be lucky and get to witness what must be an amazing site. You can follow the The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment on Facebook and see all their fabulous pictures.
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However, we did get to go along to their Equestrian Show and Country Fair last Sunday. Weather was blooming hot by the time we reached there, around 2ish, and I felt a bit sorry for the riders in all their finery, they must have been very uncomfortable. The atmosphere was amazing - friendly, welcoming and relaxed. We watched the Mirror Image Knockout Competition - something I think should appear at the local shows - such great fun. Two rows of simple jumps and two competing side by side to clear them in the quickest time, against each other. These horses (and perhaps the riders) aren't so used to jumping, so it made for an entertaining show at times (as was the Eventers Grand Prix later in the afternoon).
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 After this, and a quick watch of the bird of prey demonstration, we headed off to see the tentpegging. I have to admit, when I saw this listed last year I didn't realise it was a horse activity, the name doesn't really give away what is involved! The steady horse and rider team has to ride at a fast pace, aim and successfully scoop up a couple of hanging rings and then something secured in the ground using a javlin to begin with, and then a sword.
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A quick visit to the beer tent for much needed cold refreshments and then a wander through the temporary stables to visit the gorgeous cavalry stars - the horses, including Mercury the adorable drum horse. Stupidly we'd left our packet of polos in the car (and it was a long walk back to it), but those horses certainly didn't miss out, people were handing out treats left, right and centre!
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As the sun heated up even more we found a seat and watched the Eventers Grand Prix and then the parade or horses which featured, as a guest star, Joey from the musical War Horse. When the crowd were invited to jump the fence and meet the horses in the parade, the majority went over to see Joey - he was so lifelike and had quite a personality for a puppet horse!
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The highlight of the afternoon was of course the Mounted Regiment Musical Ride.
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A spectacular show of man and horse working in partnership.

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An absolutely brilliant afternoon - will certainly be diarising again for next year.

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Photos taken by Katie.

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