Sunday, 5 February 2017

Six Eventing Highlights of 2016

My Six Eventing Highlights of 2016

When British Eventing asked members to identify their highlight of the 2016 season I came up with a list of six which I whittled down to one for posting. Here in no particular order is the full list of six.

Harry Meade's Hartpury Ice Cream Moment

Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy at Blenheim Palace

Fern Taylor-Wrighton and Tillyochie Atraction at Badminton

Harveywetdog in Discovery Valley

Vicki Hancox and Uluru at Hartpury International

Andrew Nicholson and Zacarias Open Novice Dressage at Aldon

Harry Meade's Hartpury Ice Cream Moment

Cross country day at The NAF 5 Star International Hartpury Horse Trials was hot; ideal ice cream weather. So when Harry Meade and Away Cruising were stopped on course by Amanda Eckley and had established that it was due to a fall further on and not to eliminate him for going the wrong side of a flag what else would he ask for but a nice ice cream?

Still looking out for that ice cream?
Amanda Eckley, Harry Meade, Sally Newcomb at Hartpury
Photo © Harveywetdog
  

Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy at Blenheim Palace

When someone tells you they're living one of their dreams you know the day is important to them. So I was delighted when Worcester based rider Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy flew round the Blenheim CIC 3 star track in September like it was always meant to be. I videoed Nicky in all three phases and she completed a superb course walk for me on the Friday. A great combination and I look forward to following their continued success in 2017.

Fearless!
Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy at Blenheim Palace International 2016
Photo © Harveywetdog

Fern Taylor-Wrighton and Tillyochie Atraction at Badminton

Success is often achieved by small margins. This is certainly true when it comes to the Badminton grassroots competition now re-branded as the Mitsubishi Motors Cup, where qualifying takes deep commitment and a pole down in show jumping can knock you out of the top twenty. After an unfortunate stop cross country in 2015 Fern was determined not to have a repetition in 2016 and was rewarded with a double clear to add to her 32.9 from dressage, good enough for sixth place and in the BE100 competition and a chance to take place in the supercharged atmosphere of the prize giving outside Badminton House.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize?
Tilly eyes up the rosette basket as David Holmes congratulates Fern
Photo © Harveywetdog  

Harveywetdog in Discovery Valley

Anybody who was at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials for cross country day last year will tell you how wet it was; it rained heavily for most of the afternoon. The rain was forecast and although some precautions could be taken I thought I'd video up until it rained and then put the camera away. However there are some things which are simply too good to miss and in the grand scheme of things I can always buy another camera. So I pressed on and when it came to Discovery Valley asked the steward in charge if I could stand in the middle to catch the riders head on coming through the influential combination of 24b to c and then back through the Sun and Moon. I was told yes, as long as I kept the string between me and the horses. I had a great time there, skipping over the string in my over trousers and wellies, and I remember thinking "David you are standing in the middle of Discovery Valley videoing some of the best eventers in the world; ignore the rain and savour the moment!".

In the Middle of the Action
Alexander Bragg and Redpath Ransom are forced to take the long route at 24c
Photo © Harveywetdog

Vicki Hancox and Uluru at Hartpury International

I have videoed Vicki and her horses for the last three seasons now and from the first moment I saw him I knew there was something very special about Uluru or Roo as he is known. At Hartpury I videoed their dressage late on Thursday and then on Friday we did a course walk around the major obstacles on the 1 star Hartpury track. As with Nicky I was amazed by how much analysis Vicki put into the course and how she and Roo were going to ride it and the options she would take if things didn't go according to Plan A or B. On Saturday Vicki and Roo put it all into practice with an awesome round of cross country. Sunday and show jumping was a little disappointing with Roo coming out a little flat but overall it was a great experience at what was a difficult time for Vicki and her family.
Class Act
Vicki Hancox and Uluru at Hartpury International
Photo © Harveywetdog

Andrew Nicholson and Zacarias Open Novice Dressage at Aldon

Aldon was Andrew's first competition after coming back from serious injury and for it to be in a Novice at 08:06 on a freezing cold March morning just demonstrated the dedication of the man. For my part it meant a 4:00 alarm, driving to Aldon from Gloucester, finding the dressage, videoing Andrew and Zacarias' test and then editing and uploading the video in the car park so that a hour later it was available to view around the world. An unforgettable highlight!

Welcome Back!
Andrew Nicholson and Zacarias at Aldon in March
Photo © Harveywetdog