Sunday, September 13, 2009

All The Pretty Horses, Dust, Poo and . . .That's How We Roll

Well we finally got the right weekend and wouldn't you know? I had to choose between Yum Cha with The Benchwarmer, meeting the soon-to-be-sort-of-In-Laws or the showjumping that we missed last weekend because I bungled the dates.

Since this was the International Three Day Event, it sounded swanky. Glasses of Verve Cliquot, horses, tents and merchandise, sounded too good to be true to me and a rather worse for wear Clarebear headed out on a very hot 30 degree but breezy day to the International Equestrian Centre built purposefully for the 2000 Olympics.

First impression? And I had been there during the Olympics when there were crowds a-plenty, was that it was awfully quiet. It's a huge expanse with world class facilities but not many cars and a charming man who divested us of $15 per head for the privilege.

So a small but horsey crowd and a row of little tents selling everything from crystal horses on chains to $3,400 saddles, homeopathic cures for your tired equine and a grassy verge, were really all that greeted us. We bought water and an ice cream, an egg and lettuce sandwich and waited . ..and waited . . and waited. Too many speeches, too much 'walking the course'.

Being the last day of a three day event which involves cross-country on one day, dressage on another and today the showjumping event, all on the same mount, so these guys are pretty tired by day 3. The horses . . not the riders.

What's great about this particular equestrian sport is that all events must be completed on the same horse. Specific horses have a talent for hacking, others for jumping and dressage is usually the province of overweight warm bloods who have a knack for learning the more difficult 'dancing' movements of horsemanship. So to have a horse that has all three talents is the equivalent of a Triathlete . . he has to be svelte, athletic, look good, have brains, stamina and an incredible amount of trust in his rider.

Clare who spent three months training show jumpers in Spain and pampering spoiled pony poo's in Surrey assures me that compared to European events this was less than salubrious. No hats, no chardy, no formal wear . . but hey that's how we roll. The Aussie team are the nine times Olympic three-day event champions so suck that you poncy Europeans! With your wanky warmbloods and indoor arenas. Treat 'em rough and play it tough.

So, it was disappointing in terms of crowds, sadly lacking in Grand Prix pretention and audience quantity but amazing in terms of talent and I tell you, these guys were so big, it would have taken two milk crates for me to swing the leg over!

This is how you make a horse look happy for a photograph, wave your hat and shout 'boo boo'

Much adjudicating over height and safety

Hot and dusty so the course is dampened by sprinklers
I don't know about the horses but we were grateful for the spray

One of the junior's

Slightly more serious

I do like a man with a long pole

Not the winner but beautiful

We liked him because we own two greys

I have come home smelling of dust and sunshine and horses . . .love it! And can I say, that some of these shots look over exposed but it was a 'white' hot day and they are exactly representative of the way it was.

And this was our winner . .not pretty but a true Triathlete


Susan at Stony River said...

That sounds like a SPLENDID day; sunshine and horses would be perfect. I wish I could have been there too--but I loved the photos! ROFL at 'booboo' for a photograph, ha!

i beati said...

rofl long pole - yes indeed a lovely young thing winner or not..still a splendid experience sandy

Renee said...

I think they are all gorgeous Helen. Hosrses are so beautiful and you are so lucky to have some.

Love you.

Renee xoxox

Anonymous said...

Baino, yikes! 30 degrees is a bit much. Could be a hot spring-time...fantastic snaps here, as well and glad at least someone was minding those sprinklers( unlike the group of fellows there-reminds me of a road-work crew-LOL! )

California Girl said...

I like a man with a long pole too!

I never had an affinity for horses, the wild crazy young girl kind, but I do love to look at them and pet them in their stalls. I've been to more than one dressage contest so I understand it a little bit. In fact, my ex boss has two horses, rides in exhibitions, and spent $800 on just her coat & hat! Horses are muy expensive!

Ropi said...

These horse contests has some traditions, however this sport is not really for me.

Tom said...

don't know much about the horsies, but they are a big animal...looks like a good way to spend a day.

Don't Bug Me! said...

It's a shame you can't post the smells as well - I just love horse and leather smells. I went into a cowboy shop yesterday (I live in the rodeo capital of B.C.)to buy some boots (Blundstones, not cowboy, since my old Aussie boots finally decided to go to the bootmaker in the sky). When I walked in, all that leather smell was soooooo good. I was so intoxicated that I spent a ridiculous amount of money on footwear and was still happy when I left.

ian said...

The pictures are enough to start me sneezing!

You see the bloke in the red jacket - do they call that Hunting Pink in Oz?

nick said...

That sounds pretty challenging for the horses, there can't be many versatile enough to do all the different events well. No wonder they're pretty tired by day three.

Off subject completely, I just read about the near air disaster at Melbourne after that plane almost failed to take off. Scary stuff.

Grannymar said...

Sounds like a great day out.

Great photos Baino.

Baino said...

It was pretty nice. I lamented wearing jeans though and the waiting. God so much waiting.

Nice pole though don't you think?

I'm a sucker for them Renee . . always have been. I was that little girl trailing around people on horses hoping and wishing for a 'free ride'. I don't ride any more but still enjoy watching them.

I know Subby, very hot for this time of year. Early spring indeed the spray from the sprinklers was very pleasent, we just kept hoping it was water from the dam and not recycled grey water!

Guaranteed to keep you poor even if they're paddock bashers Cali. We did see a saddle on sale for $3,450! No girth, no stirrups, just the saddle! It's a very expensive sport.

Not quite as exciting as the soccer or hockey eh Ropi? Actually the cross country event is pretty exciting but that was held on Saturday and we couldn't go.

Better than sitting at home Tom and great for photography.

Me too DBM. It is intoxicating. Actually the most comfortable pair of shoes I ever had were a pair of short Baxter riding boots, they looked great with jeans I hardly ever wore them riding! Good old Blundstones. Although in truth, I think they're made in New Zealand.

OH Ian, that's what Clare's like. A couple of Telfast and she's right! I'm not sure. Most seemed to wear a dark Navy. I think they can wear pretty much whatever they like but yes, it would be known as hunting livery, not sure about the 'pink'.

Yeh a few had withdrawn which probably explains the smaller amount of competitors on the last day. Also some had so many points there was little worth in doing the last day as they weren't able to gain a place. I haven't caught up with the news Nick, must have a look.

Thanks GM. They look a little over exposed but frankly it was that kind of white hot day. So they're true to form actually.

Darlene said...

Those are wonderful action shots of the horses as they leap over the barrier. Good photography, there Baino.

I would think the first rider would have the advantage before the horse is tired. Maybe I missed the way it's done.

Baino said...

Darlene it takes place over three days so by the jumping stage, all the horses have already completed a dressage test and a 10km cross country event, I think they're all pretty tired!

Ces said...

I LOVE equestrian events! We don't have a lot of English riding events here but we have the rodeo! These horses and riders are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful animals and beautiful photos- glad you enjoyed your day out. I have always wished I could ride a horse. It seems such an exciting thing to do- but so 'close to nature' as well. I think I would have enjoyed watching this :)

Melanie said...

It sure does look quiet in the pictures. Maybe if they had half naked cheer leaders it would get peoples bums on the seats next year. I love horsey pics so thanks for sharing. How come we never see you on your horse?????

Miladysa said...

Fantastic shots and really enjoyable read too :)

The pony poos up here on the Lancashire moors are far from wanky - I am assuming you mean those southern wanky poos? ;)

otin said...

You really are a great photographer!

Baino said...

Me too Ces although I don't care for rodeo. It's pretty cruel but for an animal that spends most of it's brainpower operating it's legs. I really appreciate dressage and showjumping. Although it's not without it's casualties

They are beautiful . . well actually only a few really were but majestic none the less.

Yeh Mel. Clare went as a groom to the International Horse Show in Hepstead, very posh so this was a very Aussie version. Mind you it wasn't advertised at all, I happened upon it by accident via a community newsletter that I subscribe to. It was hardly International, all the riders were Aussies!

Yes Miladysa I think Clare was at the posh end of the horsey spectrum. The ponies she cared for in England barely saw a field, triple rugged and oiled just to look good rather than perform.

Thanks Otin, it's one of the few things that gives me joy and if they turn out perfect without any tinkering in Photoshop I'm a happy camper. There were photographers there with massive lenses, solar filters bla bla . . Just did this with my little Canon 400D on the Sports setting. I love it.

Rowe said...

mmm, that glorious smell of horses and leather. These gorgeous beasts are my all time favourite animal, divine creatures they are. It is a bit disappointing when the crowd lacks a bit of swell.

jay said...

Aaah, that's not easy. Not easy at all. You're right, they're marvellous athletes, those horses. And so enchanting to watch!

Must have been a great day - and I love your photos! They're really, really great!

'I do like a man with a long pole' ROFL!!

Kath Lockett said...

I love the black-plasted potted plants just shoved around the jump in your last photo, Baino - that's definitely the 'go tough or go home' Aussie attitude to horticulture that we know and love!

As for a man with a long, er pole, remember: It's not the size of the wand but the magic you do with it...!!

The Jelly Monster said...

Awh I want a pony

Brian Miller said...

all the pretty horses indeed...beautiful shots baino! spectacular animals...and the mans poles a bit small eh? lol. hope you had a great sunday.

Ronda Laveen said...

Fantastic action shots, Baino. Really!! I liked seeing how you make the horse smile pretty.

Hmmm...the husband's pole is 3x that long and 2x around, at least that how he describes it.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

great jumping shots!!

Bella Sinclair said...

"... so suck that you poncy Europeans!" HAHAHAHAHA!

Whoa, Baino. Gorgeous photographs. The horses are so sleek and majestic. What a fabulous weekend!

GayƩ Terzioglu said...

Oh sorry that's FB-Speak.
Great shots Miss.

River said...

I got on a horse once. As soon as my bum was in the saddle he took off down the road. When he got close to a fence I was afraid he was going to jump it so I "fell" off. I've never been on one since.

Baino said...

Mine to Rowe, even my old paddock bashers melt the heartstrings.

Thanks Jay I was pleased with this lot. The trouble is you spend more time lining up the shot than watching the jumping!

More arse than class Kath? Yeh, Clare did mention that the jumps were a bit substandard by European standards, the plants kept blowing over too! Re want sizes . .I wouldn't know.

Jelly stick to a puppy,they're cheaper and you can house train them.

They are great things aren't they Brian . .horses, not poles.

Haha . .it's like taking baby photos Rhonda, you have to jump around and grab their attention but all they really want is a lollypop! Hmmm . .telegraph pole eh?

Thanks Kim . . I'm improving I think.

Hey Bella . . yeh well, totally up themselves some of these horsey types. Clare was amazed at how the rich Brits particularly pamper their animals. They thought she was 'rough' for riding in jeans. We used ours like bikes!

Happy birthday for yesterday Gaye, hope you had time to celebrate today!

River, you either love them or hate them I think. I can't tell you how many times I've fallen off but never really injured myself, These days I can't swing the leg over without the assistance of a milk crate so it's great incentive to stay on!

Alan Burnett said...

Sounds like a great day out. Fascinating to read all about it ... and see the pictures.

Carolina said...

Hi, I popped over from Jay (the one with the Depp-effect). I saw in the comments that you had a post about horses, and me being a horsey person too... The photos are great. Waving a hat and shouting BOO would either scare our horses to death or they would look flabbergasted. Neither looks good on a picture ;-)

LOL about the long pole one.

Nice to 'meet' you. I think I'll become one of your followers. Always nice to see how things are on the other side of the world.

I visited a horse event this weekend too. A totally different one, but very exciting. Pictures to be found at my blog.

laughingwolf said...

hot, dusty... but the horses made it all worthwhile :)

Anonymous said...

Great photographs.

Baino said...

Alan I've never had any real inclination to compete but they are true athletes. Mind you it's not a sport for the poor and almost a full time job training them up and attending these events.

Welcome over Carolina, always welcome. Haha . . no mine are looking a bit rubbish and dirty at the moment although they wouldn't care if I waved a red flag . . I think 'bombproof' describes them well. I'll certainly pop over.

Yep Wuffa was a bit, and very windy which wasn't too pleasant. September gives Sydney a dose of wind similar to the Californian Santa Anna'

Thanks Unstranger. . well pleased I was .

Mim said...

Quite the day!

I think I'd like an Aussie guy with a long pole also