I caught up with my sponsored rider Isabella Shaw and her fabulous Pony ‘Only Sometimes’ at Llanymynech Horse Trials on the 14th of May.
On this lovely sunny May morning, I met Issie and her mum by the horse boxes as soon as we all arrived and it was a bit of a dash to get ‘Only Sometimes’ (aka Leo) and Issie all ready for their imminent dressage test but they made it on time and after a slightly brief warm up they were off and into the dressage arena. The pair did a lovely dressage test with Leo staying nice and relaxed throughout and ended with a very respectable score of 33.5 in a toughly marked section.
It was all business back at the box with a short amount of time to get ready for show jumping as all of Issie’s times were pretty close together. The pair had 2 poles down show jumping in a technical and up to height course which Issie was happy with as it marked progress with Leo’s show jumping.
We then had a brief window to get out and walk the cross country course which I spent walking back and forth across fields trying to work out which jumps I could reasonably get to to capture as much of Issie’s round as possible in the short length of time it takes a horse and rider to get round the course. This is by far the trickiest part of a B*Spoke Competition Shoot! I opted for fences 4a & b, a nice solid log and a ditch under a tree, it would just about gave me time to grab my gear and run to fence number 15 to set up/abandon my tripod with time to hit the record button before legging it on to the water with fences number 13 and 14. I do try and make sure I will get the timings right by practising with another horse on track which tends to result in me looking quite ridiculous and I’m sure the odd puzzled fence judge!
WIth my jumps decided on I headed back to the horse box to catch up with Issie before she set off. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to get any of her cross country warm up as with timings so tight by the time we got to the warm up I had to make a quick dash for fence number 4. This isn’t all that easy with a 3kilo camera and lens hanging off you, another camera bag on you whilst hanging onto a tripod and wearing hiking boots. Never mind the long grass and heat! I dread to think what I look like at these times on a B*Spoke Competition Shoot…. I made it and before too long Issie and Leo came flying over the log and ditch, taking them in their stride no issues at all. It was back to some ungainly dashing after that, I got the camera set up at fence 15 and on to the water in time to catch the pair yet again taking the fences in their stride and making it look altogether very easy indeed.
Unfortunately a minor miscommunication at a fence and failure to shout representing to a fence judge resulted in 20 penalites for Issie and Leo but altogether it was a successful and confidence building day for the pair. As I remember all too well from my own eventing days it’s so important to acknowledge that despite the score board at the end of the day there could still be room for celebration with personal bests and achieving your own goals…. Although I had to tell myself that as my mare use to turn every dressage judge into her nemesis and simply saw dressage boards as objects which most definitely should be jumped which could cause a surprising amount of excitement in the dressage arena…. Rosettes for Ariac and myself were not a common souvenir and yet my passion for eventing has never wavered in the slightest.
We finished the morning up with a few portraits of Issie and Leo which I love to capture of a horse and rider when the day is done and they can both finally relax and enjoy the immense sense of achievement combined with fatigue, relief, pride and determination that can only be the result of a good days eventing!
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Until next time,