Salisbury Plain, not far from Stonehenge, is one of the UK’s largest military exercise grounds, but it’s also home to Larkhill Horse Trials, run over a point-to-point course. The open and exposed landscape may not have the hallmarks many associate with eventing venues, but it does attract many of the top riders who use it as a good building block in the education of their younger horses, and today was no exception. Mark Todd, Sam Griffiths, Chris King, Paul Tapner and a host of others were in attendance, all with lorry loads of green horses out for an educational run.
|The Charlie Massey Cup Cake Shrine!|
I had only intended to drop in briefly to deliver some madeleines for “Charlie The Coffee Man” to sell for charity as it seems there was a charity bake off going on in aid of Spinal Research, Charlie’s cause for this year. #JustEatCake day spread from the coffee van all the way over to the secretaries office where a shrine to Charlie and his cause was set up selling cup cakes for the charity fund!
Everyone was talking about it on course, and I overheard several people pledging support, from all corners of the showground. The occasional hold in proceeding as we waited for horses to arrive in the cross country warm up, provided the commentators with plenty of opportunity to give the cause a plug.
|Sam Griffiths & Opposition Angel Two|
From anywhere on the showground you can pretty much see everything that goes on, the vistas are quite spectacular, with views for 10s of miles in every direction. In the morning sunshine of the dressage arena four or five arenas were kept constantly busy, and the warm up arena was buzzing with activity.
In amongst the stunning greys I did spot a few lovely bay horses that stood out, including Sam Griffiths’ Opposition Angel Two, who finished on their dressage score of 29.5 coming 5th in the BE100 section B, narrowly beaten by another of his rides, Opposition Angel One on a dressage score of 28.5!
|Bettina Hoy Is Back In Britain.|
Fellow Aussie Paul Tapner managed to notch another win of the season with his grey, Inishmor in the BE100 section A, finishing on a dressage score of 23.0, and managed a 3rd on Supreme Watts in the Novice, matched by Mark Todd who also managed a 3rd in the Novice with another of his NZB horses. But one of the most promising horses I saw all day was Bettina Hoy’s grey stallion, QUERDOLAN VITAREL, who won his Novice section and jumped out of his skin.
There weren’t really too many problems on the cross country course, although I did spot one or two lazy attempts approaching fences, but spare a thought for Kate Lucas’ head girl, Charlotte Clay, who had a fall from Atent DL, suffering a broken pelvis by all accounts.
As the clouds rolled in, I decided to put my camera away and test out the video feature of my new iPad. It’s no substitute for a traditional HD camcorder, but the result is impressive none the less. I’ll leave you with a couple of short clips filmed at the sunken road, with two legends of the sport, Mark Todd & Eric Smiley:
…and here’s a few more photos from today:
Don’t forget you can still support Charlie The Coffee Man & Claire Lomas in their Marathon challenges for Spinal Research (see links, top right).