Bolesworth International Round Up
To be at Bolesworth as press was a new adventure for myself. It was also my first time visiting Bolesworth as well so was not sure what to expect. So Thursday lunch time I headed off down the motorway after riding my horses in the sunshine under blue skies, little did I know how much rain those guys had received! As I was going down the motorway, the blue skies started to disappear and the greyness loomed over me. The rain was not far behind and I have to say I was a little concerned as I didn’t have the best footwear on in the world for wet weather. When I arrived I was not quite expecting the ground to be so saturated.
When I got to where they were parking us I took one look and have to say I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it without getting stuck. I will say though, the organisation in the parking area was second to none. When I did park up I met Lucy Hall Photography who had also just arrived. We both headed off to find the media centre though I am sure Lucy was chuckling about my footwear!
For my first experience of a media centre I have to say I was not the most prepared! I hadn’t brought my laptop, just my phone and no charger so needless to say this day was not going to get any better!. The media centre was fairly busy, there was a TV screen in their so that was great as meant we could follow things easily and didn’t have to get wet. I then met a few other people in the centre which I knew and it felt a really welcoming environment. The programmes provided were top quality and had all the information anyone would need. I knew I had to go and see some of the trade stands so I thought I would get on with that firstly , it was great to meet some new companies and people as well as seeing all the regular friendly faces, despite the mud everyone was keeping their spirits up! I then headed back to the media centre and was kindly invited out to lunch with Lucy so we hopped into her car and headed off. We managed to get off the field but before we left I grabbed my boots which I had thankfully left in the car from Bramham. We had a lovely meal then headed back. I was looking forward to the dressage if I am honest I love watching the Grand Prix Freestyle.
When we got back I went round the show to see what kind of things were on away from the main ring and I have to say I was impressed! There was Birds of prey – which were magnificent , Mountain bike shows, a kids fun area which had loads going on from Pony rides to Xtreme trampoline. There was a dog show and informative equine talks on numerous topics from feeding to hat safety. There was lots of food vans and bars so this meant very little queuing. They had some lovely cabins which had lots of stalls in them from Olives, Cheese and Champagne to Make up and Jewellery. I was still trying to find my feet (literally in the mud) in the media centre but looking from an outsider Bolesworth were doing an amazing job of keeping running, they were bringing in bark by the trailer load to make pathways for the public and so that cars could get in and out of the estate.
The dressage started at 7.50pm and that time soon came. Matt Frost was first up and I have to say he sat well to his horses antics at the start the horse soon settled and did a lovely test. Charlie Hutton also did a lovely test on Super Blue to win the Inter 1 Freestyle over Laura Tomlinson and Charlotte Du Jardin on Hawtins Delicato. The Grand Prix was the next class to which Carl hester took the win on Nip Tuck against Emile Faurie, Hayley Watson Greeves and Richard Davison.
Then party time continued into the night from a live performance from RE-TAKE THAT. They were a great crowd pleaser they got everybody up and going especially after a damp wet and muddy day they were just the recipe. Then came the lovely task of trying to get home!! My car was probably mid field and after the tractors towing most of the public off I did think I would have to be towed as well. The little estate van did me proud and actually got out onto the road with no assistance (may have sprayed a couple of people with mud who were on the road in doing so – sorry if that was you!).
Friday saw me come much more prepared with my lap top and phone charger! However it was sad to hear that Bolesworth had took the decision to close to the public for the morning although I feel they made the right decision as the day was improving , it gave time for ground to dry out and for more bark to be put down. I arrived and was again parked right near the entrance a fair old walk to the media centre. I got my self set up, went through the brochure and information provided to see where I wanted to be and what I wanted to see. The main things for me on Friday were the Puissance, the Elite Auction and of course the live band 5ive!. I also wanted to listen to the Equitop Myoplast talk on training the sports horse.
The early afternoon before the talk I went to see some more trade stands in particular Top Spec, Equine 74 ,Devoucoux, CWD, Bliss of London Saddles and Lieven Hendrickx who all sponsor and support the Stable Equestrian Riders. Then I went to the Main ring with Lucy while she took some lovely pictures to which some are being used in this article. We then headed to get some lunch from one of the vans then on our walk back up to the media centre we spotted Sonnie Bean on the water jet boots!! I have to say this looked like serious fun, as we headed over we were a bit late and the show had finished but it was back on later so we thought we would head back then to take some pictures. We headed back through the Fine Food, Fashion and Lifestyle Village and spotted some lovely stalls some were closed due to the public not being present even though the gates had opened, it didn’t get that busy till it came the puissance time!. At 16.30pm we headed back to watch the amazing Jet ski and Jet boots display then I headed down to the Equitop Myoplast talk which I found very informative and the professional show-jumpers asked lots of interesting questions which made it very useful.
The Auction preview was just starting after the talk, the yearlings were all turned out lovely and were extremely well mannered. At this point I think we all chose which one we thought was going to sell for the most. There was a sweepstake done in the media centre I had refrained from this as it would be too hard a decision . The puissance was then built. I always find this very exciting to watch and it was just great to have Geoff Billington commentating for it offering the riders a sip of Champagne before they went to jump the big wall (bit of Dutch courage they say). The wall got to a massive 7ft3 and not everyone jumped it successfully. Chloe Winchester however had a puissance debut to savour when she shared victory in a thrilling class the Suffolk-based rider cleared a fourth and final round height of seven feet three inches on Shannondale Linnet to finish equal first with 16-year-old Irish prospect Michael Pender, riding Acorad 3.
The IFX Elite Auction saw 14 lots go under the hammer with Lot 1 Millfield Collini, (pretty woman x cornet obolensky) going for the highest bid of £24, 000. The yearlings all got sold and I have to give the auctioneers full credit for speaking as fast as they do!! It seemed to get the crowd going ready for 5ive!
The party started for the second night though I have to say in my opinion the RE-TAKE THAT evening was better they did a longer set and seemed to get the crowd going more! I feel that the 5 songs 5ive did were great but it seemed to be over all too fast unfortunately.
Seen as it was another late finish I stayed in the area for the evening which was made far more entertaining when Lucy nearly ran her car down a hill once she had parked up!. There I was getting my things out of my car when I heard a few explicit words!! When I looked Lucy was at the boot of her car and the car was rolling forward down a drop, luckily a small bank prevented the car seriously crashing but I have to say it was quite funny to watch!!.
So Saturday was an early start at the show as it was my last day there and I wanted to cram in as much as I could!. I watched a few of the smaller classes. One that I was seriously impressed with was the Para Jumping! Those guys are incredibly talented and some of the disabilities they had made them seriously tough cookies jumping those horses as well as great athletes. Then I went to get a free make over from Melanie Ashworth of My Showcase she had beautiful products and did an amazing job on me!! So good Lucy had one as well later on in the day!! Come the afternoon I decided that it was only fair to sample the wine from Hannibal Brown Wines in the tent next to the media centre who can offer personalised bottles of wine, perfect for weddings, Events and birthdays etc. On my travels round the cabins of the Fine Food , Fashion and lifestyle village I felt a distinct lack of public presence I feel as the back of the cabins faced the entrance where you walked in was not inviting and it didn’t pull the public into this area. In the opinion of a few the trade stands and food area could just be set out a little better as It was hard finding the specific stall you wanted to see and maybe all the food – hot and cold could be in one area. The stands just seemed so spread out ,shopping villages seem to be more preferred by the public when asking them how they were finding the show and the shopping.
I visited the Gain Horse Feeds talk on feeding the competition horse on route to having a catch up with the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre which I will be running an article on in the near future! Time seemed to pass so quickly and it was soon the Invitational Knockout sponsored by IFX. This is where 16 riders had been invited to compete in a knock out round so two riders would go head to head, the winner of each heat went through to the next round. Riders included Shane Breen , Jay Halim, Jack Whittaker, George Whittaker, Keith shore, Louise Saywell and Joe Whitaker. Shane Breen was carrying Besberry ( Willberry wonder Ponies cousin) Until he was knocked out then Jay Halim took Besberry . Hannah Francis was in the hearts and minds of everyone at Bolesworth CSI **** International on Saturday evening. Teenager Hannah, an event rider, is battling a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer, but her spirit and courage has inspired the world of equestrian sport. She set up a registered charity called Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony to raise funds for research and treatment of bone cancers, and it has so far raised a substantial six-figure amount. Riding with Besberry – on his arm, Jay Halim won the invitational knockout class, sponsored by IFX International Foreign Exchange. Jay then announced that he would be donating half his prize money to the Willberry charity, and that gesture was matched by Bolesworth show president Nina Barbour.
“It is a great charity,” Jay said.
“Shane Breen was carrying the pony at the start, then I took it on. I have donated half my prize money to the charity, which is the right thing to do, and Nina will match that, which is fantastic.”
After a huge buzz of the knockout came scurry driving which is also fast and furious then it was on to the camel racing!! Yes that’s right camel racing. They invited a few riders to take part! I have to say there seemed to be some fierce competition tactics!. This great day was then finished off with a party started by Atomic Kitten who were great but again I felt that the public were a little disappointed at the length of time they played for as it seemed to be over very quickly.
Overall my first experience was a very pleasant one despite the weather the show ran smoothly and they coped amazing with the ground conditions. The atmosphere was friendly and helpful everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves definitely a show you don’t want to miss! There was plenty of great riders to watch like Geoff Billington, Michael Whittaker, Jay Halim, Scott Brash, William Funnell and Jessica Mendoza. The media centre seemed to run smoothly and was a pleasure to be a part of and promote a fabulous event. Roll on 2017!
Thank you to Lucy hall Photography and Mike Bain for the images that have been used in this article!
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