As an EquiFeast employee, one of the perks of the job is getting to spend the day out in the elements, watching a horse and rider jump over a sizable jump, or ‘dancing’ around an arena performing moves an amateur rider can only dream of.
On the 5th July I got to spend a day at Barbury Horse Trials, an eventing competition with levels ranging from young horse classes to 3 Star. As with any day out in the great British countryside, you need to be prepared for any weather eventuality. This is where Regatta’s great clothing range comes in handy in the well-practiced skill of layering.
We start the day bright and early, 8:30 am to be precise, parking the car on the side of a hill overlooking all the action. On go the wellies and over the Regatta polo, a furry zip up jacket and quilted gilet. These sufficient layers keep the chill of the early morning breeze at bay! First stop of the day (after a quick browse of the shops and a cup of tea) is the Show Jumping, to watch a few EquiFeast customers compete on their horses. Later in the morning (perhaps after a second cup of tea and peruse of the shops) I venture out onto the cross country course. Perhaps the highlight of Eventing, it’s so exciting to watch half a ton of horse gallop flat out towards a jump almost the size of a small car. I was able to watch Harry Meade, an EquiFeast and Regatta sponsored rider, on his horse, Shannondale Santiago, complete the course. Harry was riding 2 horses that day, including Wild Lone, the horse he finished 3rd at Badminton Horse Trials on. By this point in the morning a fine drizzle had started to fall, but no problem, my trusty Regatta gear kept me snug and dry.
One of the highlights of the day was the sheep show, where an entertaining gentleman from New Zealand entertained the crowd with interesting facts, a sheep shearing demonstration and even a choreographed sheep dance to The Hustle!
After the sheep show and a sausage, bacon and egg baguette for lunch, it had warmed up again, so off came the gilet! Barbury always has lots of other entertainment on offer, so once I had seen all the EquiFeast riders that were running that day I headed up to watch a bit of ‘Fly Ball’. I know nothing about dog agility, but it seemed to me that it consists of a lot of well trained dogs (often collies) running to collect a ball from a machine that they must jump onto to activate. It’s always fun to watch these events that you wouldn’t normally see.
Next door to the Fly Ball was the inter-hunt relay, where two teams of amateur riders compete against each other to complete a series of jumps, weaving obstacles and turns in the fastest time. This can get pretty competitive and I saw a few near misses with horses and riders almost parting ways, but it’s great fun to watch and there is plenty of crowd participation to motivate and cheer on the two teams.
This brings us towards mid-afternoon, and the end of my day out at Barbury. By this point by some miracle the sun was out, and I was wishing I had some shorts to wear with my polo shirt, rather than the jeans, wellies and fluffy socks I was wearing. My polo kept me cool, and the bright blue is perfect for a bright summer’s afternoon!
My next eventing outing will be to Gatcombe in August. Fingers crossed this will be a shorts and polo event, however my layers will be in the car – ready for any eventuality!