For my country excursion this weekend, I went to Blenheim Horse Trials in Oxfordshire.
When we arrived it was raining like an absolute monsoon. Luckily we hadn’t been very organised getting ready in the morning (no change there!) as everyone looked pretty soggy.
We trotted off straight for a mandatory hot choccy and coffee!
After a LONG but scenic walk to the arena, we had a quick look at the scores and wandered around the trade stands.
There’s a huge variety of stalls, with most having a country aspect to their brand. A few of the usual suspects included: Pinkster Gin, Jimmy Hooves, Timothy Foxx, Will Bees Bespoke, Fairfax & Favor, Dotty Hen, Pampeano and new this year, a pavilion sponsored by Town & Country Magazine.
Aren’t these personalised wooden measuring charts from Wildash the cutest!?
I love looking at different jumps and this years course was designed by David Evans (best known for integrating wood carvings into his courses). He produced two tracks; one for the championship class for eight to nine year old horses, and one for the final of the new event rider masters series. Blenheim can be an especially challenging course to design for due to it being a world heritage site.
I liked the Biffa arch; the first time I’ve ever seen dustbins used as a decoration and not an eyesore. Although not the prettiest jump..!
In 2003, Blenheim hosted the Asia-Pacific Championships as a qualifier for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Sixteen nations were represented and several European, World, and Olympic Champions competed.
During a lapse in the jumping we followed the hacking route and picked up a few essential moth & spider repellants. You can’t walk through any doorway at home without a conker or four overhead, although it’s just an old wives tale, Mumma is insistent they scare aware spiders. I’m not going to complain, anything to ward off those vile 8-legged creepers!
The selection of food tents wasn’t brilliant, we ended up sharing ketchup soup with some potato wedges. A (not so) cracking choice for my pre-holiday diet!
Sadly, the poor weather meant many riders were disqualified as the course was incredibly muddy & slippery, with horses refusing to jump.
The course is classed as a three-star CCI (Concourse Complete International), with four-star being the highest level.
— blenheim_horse (@BlenheimHorse) 10 September 2016
Usually Blenheim HT has a much buzzier atmosphere; the weather seemed to let the day down a tad, but all in all it was still a lovely day!