Friday, 13 March 2015

Tweseldown Horse Trials 2015

Tweseldown water complex
Let's be honest; it wasn't that long ago I thought Tweseldown was in Ireland! And having realised my mistake and committing to Tweseldown to make up for missing Aldon I was slightly apprehensive when the large quantities of sand on the videos on the Tweseldown website had me worried about getting grit in the camera. Then there was the weather. I really wanted to video the Intermediate classes on Thursday but the weather at the beginning of the week made me think Friday might be a better bet.

As it was I shouldn't have worried since having stuck to my guns and made the trip on Thursday we were blessed with a beautiful Spring day, an abundance of lush grass and perfect soft sunshine for photography, especially later on in the afternoon around the water.

Sammi Birch and Hunter Valley II at 11
I arrived at Tweseldown at about 11:30; although I had a rough plan I'm afraid that went out the window; I've come to realise that, apart from dressage, the published times mean nothing when it comes to show jumping and cross country. I think you just have to take those times as proof that somebody has demonstrated logistically that it is possible to fit all the horses into one day; it is no guarantee that they'll turn up at any given time!

Even before I'd had chance to set up the tripod I'd seen William Fox-Pitt, Harry Meade and Kitty King in the show jumping arena. I then set off around the cross country course as Jonelle Price, Sir Mark Todd, Francis Whittington, Kristina Cook, Jonathan Paget etc etc took on the Intermediate/Open Intermediate cross country course. So many great horses being given their first run out of the season. You can only imagine what's going on behind the scenes with some of the top riders taking out four or five stars on the day.

BE100 Tina Cook and "Wally"
I'm very pleased with the action, horses and riders I managed to video. Favourite moments are Kitty King asking if she was the right side of the flag at 18a and Lowhill Clover getting a big pat at the end. I edited out a bit of what I thought was over zealous use of the stick; I don't like to see that although nobody said anything at the time.

It took me the whole competition to get round the course. Although on the video you see Jonathan Paget at the beginning of the course he was in fact the last Intermediate horse. I then videoed some of the BE100 show jumping, seeing Tina Cook and Mary King on their younger horses before setting off again to video the BE100 cross country.

One thing I was keen to try out further was the Super Slow Motion Setting on my video camera. I had had an initial play at the Hartpury JAS Championships and had managed to download some instructions so that I had a reasonable idea what I was doing. Basically I can record in 3 second bursts which produces 12 seconds of video. The only downside is that it records at Standard Quality and not High Quality that I usually used. So although I can now reasonably capture the action, for example Jock Paget jumping the Parallel Rails at 15 on Clifton Signature, the picture quality isn't as hot as I would like (although I'm sure it will be acceptable on a phone or tablet). So more work to do there and perhaps time to buy another, higher spec, camera? Watch this space!

Super Slow Motion; Jock Paget and Clifton Signature at 15
OK getting home in the rush hour and back down the M4 was never going to be easy but the commuters were very kind in letting us out onto Bourley Road, clearly a "rat run" at that time, and after that it was a case of be patient and you'll get home eventually.

I made sure I had some taster videos out that night and worked on the main feature, the Intermediate Cross Country so that it was finished on Saturday. I hope you enjoy the videos on the playlist.

Here is my complete Tweseldown play list.

The music is an orchestral version of "Hero - (The Wind Beneath My Wings)" by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Next stop will be Gatcombe at the end of March, hopefully for both days at the weekend.

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