Monday, 29 September 2014

Blenheim Horse Trials 2014

I was lucky enough to spend two full cross country days at Blenheim this year as part of a two week blur of videographing and uploading which took me from Burghley to Blenheim and then onto three days at the British Dressage Nationals with Gatcombe International Horse Trials squeezed in between.

Impressive carvings on the Blenheim course

Saturday required an early start so that I could be in place in time to see the first horse on the course pass through the second water crossing. This involved leaving home at 07:20 and sailing into Blenheim at 08:37.

Off early to capture the first horse on the course
I was expecting some traffic delays around the venue but I'm pleased to say these didn't materialise. 

Good old Land Rover Sat Nav

Having got myself a cup of coffee and got into position by the water crossing I had a slight wait due to one of the event medical team injuring themselves and requiring medical attention and an adjustment of the medics to the different control points but we final got away at about 09:45. The first horse on the course had to deal with an additional obstacle in the shape of one of the Blenheim swans as the video shows honours were even as although the swam got out the way of the horse he gave us a warning flap of  his wings once the horse was safely out of the way.

Ready at the 2nd water for the first horse on the course

Once I'd captured my signature first CCI 3* horse on the course video on the iPhone at the second water I then moved to the first water to make sure I got some decent footage before the crowds got too big. I continued round the course from the first water crossing and then round the loop of the course nearest to Bladon where I found some wonderful 3G by which to upload my video via You Tube Capture. Here's the video featuring Fiona Breach and Cartoon IV, watch out for the swan!

I had an enjoyable day and found that even as the crowd grew I was still able to use the tripod around the course. I possibly spent a little bit too long in the arena and found that I only just made it back to the first water crossing by the time Coral Keen was the last horse on the course. One of the catches at Blenheim is that the Cross Country action starts and finishes early. So although I'd appreciated the 09:30 start it did seem a little strange finishing Cross Country at 14:15. I think this catches a few people out and I did hear one young lady complain to her mum that they'd spent valuable Cross Country time shopping! Someone after my own heart!!

Camera in position for the final shots on the CCI 3*

Having decided I wouldn't stay to watch the CIC 3* Showjumping I headed home to get the fist video edited and uploaded. As well as a couple of shorts featuring the first water crossing and the arena fences the main cross country video ran to about 21 minutes in length. Here it is:

Day two was a more leisurely start and saw me on course by midday.

Sat Nav locked for Blenheim Horse Trials
I video'd the CIC 3* cross country for 8/9 year olds, grapped myself a cup of coffee, a bottle of water and a piece of cake and then set myself up at the side of the arena to video the prize givings and the show jumping.

In position for show jumping
I was very lucky to find a space at the front of the open end of the arena to video from. The tripod didn't take up too much extra space and apart from the couple who decided to park their dog under my feet I don't think I got in the way too much. Neither do I think I intended to video every show jumping round but any way I did and they're all there on the playlist to watch!

Walking the course
Our winner!

Sunday afternoon elegance

Producing the 24 show jumping videos took a little bit of time and I just about had them finished by the time I went to the Dressage Nationals. While I think it was right for the Francis Whittington Easy Target video have the lap of honour included it was probably wrong to include it on all of them. I was very pleased that the Blenheim programme included people's Twitter addresses, this certainly made uploading easier, and I was particularly delighted to get a favorite and a retweet from Catherine Witt, Easy Target's owner.

Also pleasing was that both Eventing Nation and An Eventful Life picked up my videos and reused them, which I'm always grateful for, and of the show jumping videos the most successful are Francis Whittington and Philip Dutton.  

So all in all a great weekend at Blenheim, some great weather and some great video and some excellent viewing figures after the slow response to Burghley. I just about finished in time to give myself chance to cut the grass prior to setting off for Stoneleigh and the LeMieux National Dressage Championships.

Here is my full video playlist from two days at Blenheim.

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