BE VOLUNTEER – Cake, Vive L’Arc and Pumpkins

Well what have I been up to…..

From the highs of my Polish adventures, the volunteering tour headed to Shelford Manor over the August Bank Holiday weekend where the usual warm welcome and hospitality of the Bede events team was experienced. The sun even came out, what a lovely bonus.

The ensued the busiest few weeks of my life – work (that thing we have to do to finance all these horsey adventures) rather got in the way, then followed a fabulous four days at Blenheim photographing for the lovely Eventing Worldwide team. Despite a persistent case of man-flu the four days were amazing, and I managed to get a few good snaps including some of supergroom Sarah Charnley for her five minutes of fame in Horse & Hound as she’d been shortlisted for Groom of the Year award. I really am so lucky to see so many different sides of this wonderful sport.

A rare weekend off games to catch up with the special people in my life, that I have dreadfully neglected since the beginning of March and then back to it…

When the leaves start to change and there is a nip in the air it can only mean one thing…Osberton.
Again the wonderful hospitality of Anna and Stuart Buntine welcomed us all to their 100th event and what better place for this to be than Osberton. A bright and breezy start to travel ‘up north’ thankfully the black clouds were left at home and although chilly the weather gods were kind to us all weekend.

There is always a great atmosphere at Osberton, whether it’s the excitement of seeing the young horse championships which has a tremendous record of producing the next championship horses or just that everyone is in an end-of-season party mood – it’s always a great weekend.

Great to see new sponsors Investec join the party, and especially as they gifted me a Debra the Zebra to keep Monteberry company on his adventures. Great for Bede and the sport in general to attract new, high level sponsors to help support the growth of the sport.

After a good catch up with the usual smiley faces at the morning briefing, it was off across the park to our home for the day, a lovely inviting deep roll top with brush atop. Part way up the subtly long climb up towards home, it was a pleasure to watch all the young horses meet it perfectly whilst at full gallop towards home. Some exciting prospects for the future.

That’s for me what makes Osberton so great, especially to have a front row seat to watch the stars of the future blossoming.

Plenty of cake and tea was provided by the wonderful team and there was even enough 4G signal to keep one eye on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The volunteering adventures moved to Weston Park and onwards into October with fences adorned with pumpkins and fallen leafs.

Weston is always a great event; set in beautiful Shropshire parkland the event attracts a good number of entries. It was lovely to see some new volunteer faces, even a BE organised ‘Access all areas’ training course encouraging new people to the great sport of eventing.

Debra and Monteberry set up camp at fence 13, the usually influential Toboggan Run, but alas as someone had pulled the plug and drained it of running water this year we were blessed with a day of ticks, tea drinking and polite spectators.

Wow this season has flown by – Time for a review of the season, reminisce about all the wonderful adventures I have had, and time for contemplating how much Eventing I can fit in next season. I have been lucky to go to so many places this season, but fitting in my Eventing addiction around a 60 hour-a-week day job, trying to nurture the photography hobby into something more and other commitments has been a little tricky at times. A couple of hours spent in hospital waiting rooms this week though has re-galvanised the thoughts, sitting in a field makes me happy, so we’ll attempt to shoe-horn in just as much next year. I can rest when I’m in my old peoples home after all!

Onwards to Oasby this weekend with tales of a mini October heatwave, maybe I won’t need to pack the woolly hat. In a couple of weeks all the ponies will be packed away for winter along with us fence judges until the spring.

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