Saturday, 23 August 2014

A tough two weeks - but very enjoyable Part 2 Hartpury

Part 1 described getting the hay in and Gatcombe Festival of British Eventing. In this section we look at completing the Eventing Cinema entry, obtaining accreditation and four days of Eventing at the NAF 5 Star International Hartpury Horse Trials.

The deadline for the final Eventing Cinema entry was stated as being at 09:00 on the Friday following Gatcombe so basically I had three evenings to complete my masterpiece and one evening for uploading. In the past the Achilles heel of my videos had been the music so for the final version I tried to improve this aspect of the production. I'd tried and failed to use a piece of popular music (charging someone £1000 to enter a competition where they might win a £1000 in gift tokens was never going to work now was it?) so I looked for something that was between pure royalty free and mainstream commercial and stumbled across CAPO Productions. CAPO run a very professional website and you can listen to their tracks in full before making your choice; you just have to imagine what it will sound like without a soothing voice saying "CAPO Productions" every 15 seconds! Here is a link to the video:


The music then set the theme of the video; slow start, bang! into a faster moving middle section all viewed at normal speed before a final reflective section building up to Avebury walking away victorious. The video is built around Just Ironic hitting his head on the white flag at the corner at the Land Rover at the Folley Fence and the video switches from slow motion to normal speed at this moment, synched to the introduction of the drums in the music. This tends to give the impression Ironic head butted the flag, which he didn't if you watch it all through at normal speed, but this a dramatic introduction into the mostly cross country section that follows. (I'm pleased to say Just Ironic and Craig Nicolai went on to complete the course).

Ouch! Just Ironic and Craig Nicolai
While working on the video and getting it published I was also trying to work out just what press accreditation at The NAF 5 Star International Hartpury Horse Trials would involve. I have to say the whole thing had started off a bit a strange, as I'd received the initial invite via five Tweets following the Festival of Dressage which I needed to piece together to get the message. Once I'd worked out I wasn't getting a ticking off I jumped at the chance.

I visited Hartpury on Thursday to pick up my press pass and any details they for me on how they wanted me to edit the videos. They didn't have any hard and fast Brand Guidelines but did supply a copy of the logo which I used on all the videos of the event. I spent half an hour walking the course between the two water jumps and uploaded a couple of videos on the course.


Friday morning I left work very early and visited the Gloucester Branch of the London Camera Exchange to pick up a new tripod and a video fluid head. I've been very pleased with my monopod but felt a tripod would give me a definitely level image. I videoed both indoor and outdoor dressage and the fluid head worked a treat. I've featured Jock Paget and Clifton Promise here because it's good to see them both out and about again and Jock is such a stylish rider.


Saturday saw me set up on the course at 08:00 waiting for the first horse at 08:30. It was a beautiful morning and the only problem was although I caught the first horse on my 'phone I forgot to switch the video camera on for them!


A busy morning's work saw me walk the whole 1 Star Course and then back to the main arena to catch some showjumping and meet up with Judith and Gracie. To my eternal shame I managed to delete the show jumping off the camera before uploading it. I know how I did it by uploading each section into different folders and overlooking the show jumping before clearing the camera for the next day. Never mind.

We walked Grace from the start of the course round to the bank above the lake which was a fair walk for her little legs but I have to say we hardly saw a horse as this was one of the periods they were having problems with the frangible pins.

I'm a cross country Puppy (and get the tripod!)
Once Judith had left with Grace the heavens really opened and I took refuge in the car for a late lunch. After the rain cleared I concentrated on the 2 Star Cross Country between the Superflex Lake and the Magic Pool. Jeanette Brakewell had a nasty fall at 13a the jump into the Hartpury Sunken Road but mostly the course rode well apart from all the stops for broken pins. I used the stability of the tripod to record some long sequences of this part of the course.

Heading for a fall; Jeanette Brakewell and Kec Salza
Needs must; pinching pins from the 1 star course

By the end of the 2 Star competition my running order records that we we running about 90 minutes late and you do start to think "are we going to finish in the light?" but eventers seem to be a stoical bunch and patiently wait their turn. A cheer went up when we heard the first horse was on the 3 Star course to be followed by a groan when we heard there was another hold!

I walked all the 3 star course and videoed at all the fences. Parklane Hawk was withdrawn (again!) and Sophie Wragg had a nasty fall from Sandy City (although she did Tweet to say she was pleased of the sequence through the Lake).

Sophie Wragg and Sandy City at the Superflex Lake 7b
Afternoon wore on into early evening and the riders kept coming. I was rewarded with sequences by Bettina Hoy, Pippa Funnell, Kristina Cook, William Fox-Pitt, eventual winner Christopher Burton, Laura Collett and Harry Dzenis who gave me a demonstration of just how loud a bang an air jacket makes when coming out the side door on Xam at 22 the Andrews Bowen Equaflow Ditch.
You need to get both front legs over the fence Xam or.........

Bang! this happens!!
  Horse and Hound described us having lost the will to live by the end of the day. I don't think that was fair but after 11 hours on the cross country course I was certainly ready for a sit down. As Harry Dzenis successfully completed on Dromgurrihy Blue I was making my way back to the car for the short trip home and a pint of something cold and refreshing!

Got it right this time! Sidnificant and Clare Lewis jump the Smith and Williamson Sunken Road captured on the iPhone while the Sony purrs away in the foreground. The time is five to seven according to the video.


My last piece of video of the day at 19:22
William Fox-Pitt and Avoca Alibi at the Sunken Road 24b
After 11.5 hours on the course I was prepared to give it a miss on Sunday. It threatened heavy rain and as I've already explained videoing in the rain isn't much fun and just ends up with moisture in the camera. However when the organising committee announced that they had decided to move the competition indoors I decided it was worth a trip over in the afternoon.

I set myself up on the far side of the arena and recorded a few rounds from the end of the CCI 2 Star competition. Once again Jonathan Paget featured this time with Clifton Signature as well as Laura Collett, Selina Milnes and eventual winner Matthew Wright. I videoed the presentation, picked up another wad of paperwork and said thank you to the press team for the final time.

It was quite sad cutting the accreditation bracelet off my wrist after four days of wearing it. I'm not sure being accredited made a lot of difference to my You Tube viewing numbers, I think Eventing Nation and An Eventful Life do more for me there, but it was good experience and Hartpury have said they'd like me to come back so that's all good then.

2 Star winner Matthew Wright and Shannondale Shinawil.


Fourth place for Selina Milnes and Cooley on Show.



All the makings of a great weekend!
Manfrotto tripod & fluid head and accreditation!
The beautiful setting of the Hartpury Course