The day started well – it wasn’t raining and the journey down was clear of traffic. As soon as we turned up it became apparent that the ground conditions were not nearly as wet as we had expected and wellies were definitely not needed !! Having hit the trade stands and spent much too much money we headed for the BHS box where we had fabulous views of the main arena.
We watched the side saddle, scurry driving and the miniature horses (why are they called miniature horses when they are so small ? ). The highlight of the day was walking the Queen Elizabeth II Cup course with Steve Fazakerley. It was amazing to walk up to fences of 1.50 m high with incredible spreads. Steve gave a real insight into the thoughts of the course builder and was so knowledgeable. He was commentating a lot about the undulations of the ground – saying how much a slight rise or drop in the ground made such a difference to the way the riders would ride each individual fence. He did say, when put on the spot, that he expected about 6 clear rounds in the 1st round. Not bad as 5 made it through to the jump off – the eventual winner being Keith Doyle on his own Walk on Tall II.
It was such an enjoyable and relaxing day and so educational – it was just a shame that not more members took the opportunity to go.
Report by Nicole Biggs