THE BE VOLUNTEER Glamourous Gatcombe 

Lessons learnt this weekend…

Vintage champagne is delicious and you definitely get what you pay for, that said my glass was a complimentary one! 

Lightning doesn’t just strike twice, it can strike many, many times as it did Saturday lunchtime!

And the time doesn’t get any easier to achieve at Gatcombe.

Off we journeyed down the M5 towards Gatcombe Park, a beautiful gem in the Gloucestershire countryside. The forecast was for a changeable affair, so the car was packed to the rafters to counter every blow that Mother Nature may throw at us. We met up with Victoria and Peter, who so kindly invited me to Badders, as this weekend two became four as we teamed up for The Festival of British Eventing.

I had already got the opportunity to do a reccy, as I attended the officials briefing and drinks reception on the prior Monday evening. Hhhmmm  a glass of kindly donated Pol Roger went down very nicely, thank you.

Our home for the day was the EHOA Festival Finale, an inviting brush dressed oxer that made up the last jumping effort on course. I love the last fence; you see so much emotion and expression on both horse and rider as they head towards the finish, from elation to reflective ‘what could have been’ moments. There’s a great video on social media of what Gemma’s double clear on Spike really meant to her and her team as she passed by the last fence; priceless.

Despite the blue skies on arrival, it wasn’t too long before Mother Nature decided to unleash a spectacular thunder and lightning storm, so bad the only thing for it was the car. Never a fan of spending too much time in the car (hard to get a tan from in there!) we were then soon back out to watch the Intermediate Championships class. 

All that rain did wonders for the going for our hooved friends, but it led to a headache for the organisers with how to get all the vehicles off the site at the end of the day. I was just finalising a battleplan in my head of how to tackle the rather large, steep hill to the exit, when a tractor driver blocked the gateway ahead of my car, and promptly started fumbling under the front of my car! On asking what he was doing, he replied “I’m looking for your tow hook” my reply along the lines of why, I don’t plan on needing it were met with “Everyone’s getting towed up the hill” I can honestly say I have never been towed out of an event before, but then it’s not often I park on a Royal Highness’ front lawn either!

Anyone reading this and thinking how do I get to do that, you can. Volunteering with BE is very easy to arrange. I can be as simple as contacting your local event and offering to help, BE also run various training courses; mostly free for volunteers;  to show people how to get involved in the sport. Give it a go, and soon you too can be covering your car in Royal mud.

Sunday was thankfully a much drier day, and as we were reserve fence judges, we got the opportunity to be (as we weren’t required to cover anyone this year) spectators, taking in the eventful ERM class. A massive congratulations to Gemma & Spike on their fabulous win, well done girl!

The volunteering adventure heads to Hartpury next weekend, a new venue for us so really looking forward to a new adventure, and then onto my exciting Polish adventure.

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