Arabella Barnes ..
It’s Badminton week and usually a large proportion of the equestrian community packs up and heads to the Cotswolds to spend a day or more in a prosecco induced equine frenzy. This year will be slightly different…
We are all desperate for our yearly quota of dry stone walls, alcohol, eventing, shopping and to sit in a queue for several hours, but we will have to draw from our own memories and experiences this time.
So, you’ve made it to Badminton Horse Trials. You’re driving through the parkland, tyres rumbling across the metal temporary tracks and you can see a kaleidoscope of colour splashed across the countryside. Flags are flapping in the breeze, the sunlight glistening on the peaks of marquees and you’ve spotted the first few jumps on the cross country course.
You park your car with everyone elses and get ready to head off for the day, forgetting that if you wish to locate it ever again you need more to go by than the fact you parked it under a big tree. There are a lot of trees on the Badminton Estate…
You’ve planned and checked the weather forecast well in advance, but brought clothing and footwear for every eventuality, even though blisters are inevitable and you’ll end up carrying your coat around all day anyway.
You grab a coffee and head out onto the cross country course. By 10:00am you’ve walked a good chunk of it, watched some jaw-dropping action, analysed the technicality and precision executed by all the top level riders and already hit your daily step goal.
Four hours later, you’ve completed it.
You’ve now worked up an appetite but the picnic you packed for lunch was mostly eaten en route, plus you cannot be bothered to walk back to the car, let alone look for it, so, chips and pimms will do.
Time for a sit down in the Grandstand. Dammit brought the dog, scrap that plan.
You’re ready to hit the shopping village and are hit by an abundance of tack, clothing, interiors and anything else remotely equine and it’s utterly fantastic. Two-for-one buckets? Sure! Haul them around all afternoon? No thanks, but you’ll sign up to buy a new lorry, a full set of show jumps and a hot tub instead.
The last horse has now crossed the finish line, things aren’t slowing down but you know you need to call it a day before you buy anything else or eat your fifth ice cream. Plus, the queue to get out is just as bad as the one to get in.
So, where the devil is that car.