Jo at Burghley (AKA Horsey Girls’ Dream!) – Blog 4
Join us as Animal Therapeutics Online owner Jo Shanahan (Schneider) takes us on a whirlwind tour of professional yards and competitions in The UK and Germany. Jo will spend three weeks interviewing and visiting the exclusive yards of riders such as Olympic team gold medallist Carl Hester, current world record holder and Gold Medallist Charlotte Dujardin, Eventing superstar William Fox Pitt, Australia Olympians Hayley Beresford and Wendy Schaeffer, and more. Amongst the events she will attend is the Burghley Horse Trials and Blenheim. Jo will bring news, tips, and training ideas back to Australia straight from some of the world’s top riders.
The extravaganza that is Burghley International Horse Trials (AKA a horsey girl’s heaven!)
As most of you know I, through my business Animal Therapeutics Online, import the Activo Med Combined Therapy Systemfrom Germany. The main purpose of this part of the trip was to spend time at the stall of FMBs which is the business responsible for providing this therapy system to all the top riders throughout the UK.
I was picked up at Maidenhead train station (I’m getting pretty good at catching trains) by my gracious hostess Serena who owns FMBs. We then began the long (by UK standards) trek up to Stamford where Burghley is held. We arrive at Stamford which is a gorgeous historic town (pics in here for Mum which I know she’ll appreciate) and head to the entrance of the horse trials.
How gorgeous is Stamford!
We drive in and I swear Serena, who has been to Burghley many times (and even ridden in some of the classes there) thinks I’m crazy practically jumping out of my seat with excitement and taking photos of everything! But I’ve been watching Burghley since I was a kid, rewinding my VHS and seeing them go through the course over and over again on my tv, so I can’t believe I’m actually here.
Burghley is run on the grounds of the historic Burghley House. The track is watered all year round so it’s very green and good going for the horses. A beautiful and picturesque landscape, it has all the makings of a superb English event, including the obligatory historic house…
That’s me in front of Burghley House. Not a castle, palace or manor…it’s actually a house! And it actually is a house, people live there…I can’t seem to get my head around that.
I am absolutely loving bringing Activo Med products to Australia, not only do I get to help a lot of our riders perform at their best by providing access to the top products in the world, but I also get to meet some of the absolutely legends of our sport!! Here’s just a few …
Activo Med rider Mark Todd – this man is so amazing!! I have been following his career (including retirement and come back) since I was a kid and to see him competing in the flesh and then talk to him was an awesome experience.
The man who made Aussies so proud in 2010 winning Badminton gave the Brits (and the Kiwis!) a run for their money at Burghley, another Activo Med user Paul Tapner.
That’s right, that’s me with William Fox-Pitt. The nicest guy ever and such a super rider, William actually came to our stall at Equitana last time he was here and did some signings for our customers. He’s been using Activo Med products for years now and I loved hearing all the things he does to get a horse successfully competing at the level that he does. He makes me (and everyone else in the world) look pretty short though!
So I’m not quite sure how a little Aussie girl got this invite but somehow I was able to be a ring in at the Horse & Hound VIP party on Thursday night! Champagne flowed, English accents were everywhere and we were staying on site so of course were ushered out of the marquee last. Seriously though, I met quite a few people from Horse & Hound and they were such a great, fun bunch of people, I really enjoyed myself and it was a great start to the event. Horse & Hound comes out weekly over here, they include lots of articles as well as advertising of horses. One thing I did find interesting is that their horse categories are based on sizes, not breed or discipline. So does everyone over here just decide what size horse they want and go from there?? I must find out…
The Horse & Hound VIP party – the place to be Thursday night.
Left to right – Me, Serena and Tamzin from FMBs having a great time with champagne and good company!
And (OMG) the shopping!!!!!
So I went for a walk and thought “oh great, there’s a fair bit of shopping here”, and then I turned the corner and thought “oh wow, there’s more”, and then I kept walking and there was more..and more… and then there were actually named “avenues” that all the shops are on. It was like an entire village of shops. Food stores (Tom’s toffee yum!!), gift stores (gift for mum, check), beautiful English stuff stores (happened to stock a horse print bag that I really needed!), and of course horse gear, riding gear and everything in between (Custom made top boots for me..do you deliver to Aus? Yes? Sold!).
I really felt like you need two Burghley’s, one for shopping, one for watching horses. Trying to fit both in was actually pretty difficult. It was a tough job, but I was up for the challenge. So here’s some pics of the shops and the next blog will have more on the jumps and horses.
Pavilions for everything!
This is one of the “avenues” of shops – there were so many I kept getting lost. I needed a GPS to get around it! This was at a quiet morning on the first Dressage day, this was packed on Saturday for Cross Country!
There were more car displays than I thought a horse show needed, but I guess we can’t ride horses everywhere!
Not just horse shops. Fancy a bit of English country living **English accent**
And we can’t forget the stall I spent most of my time at. This is how Serena has FMBs stall setup. Does the horse look familiar? A close relative to “Warren”, our trade stand horse. He loves attention so make sure you come and say hi to him at Equitana Sydney.
So that’s it for now, join me, William, Paul, Mark and all the other riders, next time as we jump our way (through pictures) around the track that is Burghley International Horse Trials 2013. In the meantime, don’t spend too much like I might have… J