September is my favourite month for many, many reasons.
The end of September always makes me a little sad but but I am always looking forward very much to the next one.
It is filled with lovely things for us:-
It is the month we take our main annual holiday
It is the month of Burghley Horse Trials
It is the month of harvest
It is the month of Sandringham Game Fair
It is a month when we do most of our walking
It is the month when the best fungi appear.
It is the month of Food Festivals across the country. Ludlow being our favourite.
It is the month for Bramble picking & making Jam.
It is the month of Indian Summers when the heat has left the sun but the cold months are not showing themselves yet.
It is the month we got our hound and collected him when he was just 8 weeks old.
And it is the month we got married
It’s about 18 months since I first ‘discovered’ horseboarding. I now follow it on FB and enjoy the odd post from the hard working teams.
I would like to eventually do more to support the sport as I just love it but for now, I remain an enthusiastic spectator.
It is fun, funky and very, very exciting.
I’m not lucky enough to feed my interest in it often but it does’t diminish my enthusiasm.
Today, I got my fix at Sandringham Game Fair and it just gets better and better.
To the uninitiated, it probably just looks like a lot of very fast fun but there is some serious skill involved. There are polo players, championship snow boarders, olympia qualifiers and some very good jockeys.
I know that they perform as often as they can and I also know that they practice hard. There are long days on the road to get to where they need to go and I’m sure they have a wonderful associated social life but there will also be some massive sacrifices.
And they rescue horses!! What’s not to love?
My favourites are still Dead Pigeon but there are some great new teams.
I just love the sport and wish I was still a rider….. I might just think about taking it up!!
We went off the Burghley again for another visit this morning and it was a treat as always.
This year, the Olympics have made it EVEN more popular than it normally is and the event has been lucky with the weather when some of the earlier ‘summer’ events have been rained off.
The first day of september was not a disappointment and it was scorching today.
We started, as we usually do by paying a visit to friends of ours who have a stand here every year. They sell the most fantastic and unusual items for your home and garden. Amorosa is a really interesting company who not only sell to the public but supply to the restaurant world be they old wine & olive pots, fossil sculptures, ammonites, garden mirrors, garden wall plaques, wooden stools, stone owls & sconces, moroccan and African artifacts or a number of other fascinating objects you just won’t find anywhere else, they are completely unique. A visit to their stand and a good chat is a great start to our day at Burghley.
Onward for a quick but short shop. JC got a new Barbour Corbridge jacket (lovely), we got some great spices from Fox’s Spices who do mail order as well as having an FB page & I bought an absolutely gorgeous merino wool blanket for our sofa from So Cosy. It’s disgraceful for me to buy this as I can make it myself or indeed my mum could but this is such a perfect shade of charcoal grey and is so huge that it would take me forever and probably cost loads more so I had to buy it.
A spot of picnic lunch on a blanket in the sun, a nana nap and we were ready to take in the main event so we got ourselves off to a good spot by the Elephant Trap jump number 5.
The sun came out and everyone was in a good mood. Along with that came lots of support for the competitors, most of whom had already recently performed in the olympics. And they had all done brilliantly. The USA’s Sinead Halpin was first at the end of today with only one day of eventing left and dressage etc behind her. Who knows who will be the overall winner but there are some faces that appear every time; Mary King & William Fox Pitt (I’m sure he threatens to retire every year!). No Zara Phillips this year but Captain Mark Phillips designs the course so I suppose she is still represented in a way.
Where we were sitting gave us the opportunity to watch the riders come down the drop jump that is The Leaf Pit jump 4 into the open before going over jump 5 and turning 90 degrees right onto the rest of the course.
Each rider took it differently, and the jumps varied enormously from calm and relaxed, to nervy and reluctant or bold and aggressive. One thing that united them, though was that look ahead to see what is coming once the jump is safely negotiated.
The jockies and the eventing horses are so incredible. Big crowds, barking dogs, giggling little ones or cars racing by don’t interrupt their concentration and they are totally focussed on the job in hand.
The only time I saw this change, was when England’s Francis Whittington came by on Sir Percival III and a large and very friendly but loud girls shouted her name in support.
It raised a giggle and a smile from the crowd and a grin from Francis as she sped by.
The atmosphere was very relaxed and lovely.
Like an annual pilgrimage that signals the start of our main annual holiday, we headed off from our little house in south lincolnshire this morning towards the lovely town of Stamford and the gorgeousness of Burghley House to enjoy the spectacle that is the annual horse trials.
The setting is fantastic and the course is vast. There are long stretches, woodland and water, undulations and some very tricky jumps.
The riders walk the course to familiarise themselves with the intricacies and dangers lurking therein but not even that can possibly prepare you for how some of these terrifying jumps must look from on top of a 17 hander.
You just have to look at the expression on the face of the jockey above as he grazes the top of the jump that takes you into the ‘leaf pit’.
The variety is huge whether it is jockey, horse, obstacle or the level of success over each jump.
We succumbed to the shopping temptations early on like most visitors but only for a very short while. This year, after a nice frothy coffee, we hooked up with old friends for a catch up before we found ourselves a good spot on the opposite bank to the land rover jump. We got perched on a rug with a picnic, waited for the whistle to announce the next jockey and watched a steady stream of horses take off over a land lover shaped brush jump. A favourite spot for lots of watchers.
There are some lovely traditions at burghley such as the bowler hatted stewards and the ever changing ‘look’ for the trendies. This year’s happened to be short denim skirts, Rampant Rugby long socks, Hunter wellies, a Crew shirt and a Jack Wills gillet (no matter how hot it was!).
It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon, especially with a nice glass of chilled rose. Next year I think we will plump for the water jump as our picnic perch!