Today’s break in the horrendous weather we’ve suffered so far this year felt like a mini victory! The promise of blue skies and warm sunshine all day was too good an opportunity to miss being outside to enjoy some sport (plus the bonus of a rare child free weekend), so I decided to head out for the day to practice with the camera at Barbury Castle for the Vine & Craven Point-to-Point.
Having spent a leisurely morning watching the women’s snowboard cross from the Sochi Olympics, and having past rugby, football, and golf matches on my way to Barbury this was turning into an epic sporting day – the sunshine had brought everyone out to celebrate. I didn’t stay all day at Barbury as I still had storm repairs to fix at home, but from the moment I arrived to the moment I left there was a decent crowd out on the rolling hills of the Marlborough downs.
Barbury Castle has a rich racing history, stretching much farther back than the horse trials we’ve all come to know and love. Point-to-Point is “the amateur division of National Hunt racing” and as I was finding it much tougher to photograph than the cross country action of a horse trials. Everything happens so fast and intensely you really have to be on the ball – good practice for me!
It’s very exhilarating to be stood so close to a dozen or more horses thundering past you, and brings a whole different set of risks into to play, as they all vie for spot over the fences, compared to say horse trials, where they come in a more orderly fashion every few minutes. Inevitably this produces fallers, most of whom are quite happy to bowl along with the pack riderless. I just missed the first race, where there was one hard looking fall, but all the falls I saw seemed to be ‘walk aways’.
Here’s a few more of my favourite photos from the day: