Another year, another Highland Show! ;D I went with Holly (TPMP) again on Sunday and had a great time. The weather forecast rain but in actuality we only had a very, very light drizzle and while the sky threatened to fall on us most of the time, it stayed dry and sunny all day. (To my cost, look. >.<) Also, bear in mind that I was still faffing about with my camera at the start so the photos get better as I go along. XD After paying the somewhat extortionate entry fee, (£25! O_O) we bought some models at two of the trade stands (I bought a couple for myself but the rest are to be painted up and sold and/or donated to the MHL raffle ;)) and then headed off in search of equines, traversing the seemingly endless agricultural vehicles section on the way. (Seriously, how many types of tractors can there be?! o_O) First impressions were of how quiet it was - there was barely a queue for the tickets (almost unheard of!) and it was nowhere near as busy as I'd seen it before so I assume the rain forecast had put people off. Mind you, according to the website, it attracted over 143,000 people over the four days so it wasn't *that* quiet. XD
Finally we found the main ring where, to my surprise we found a side-saddle class being judged! According to the schedule I’d seen, that had been done the day before so it was really nice to find myself mistaken!
This horse had really lovely action - he threw each leg up really high with every stride.
Out of all the entries, this was probably my favourite - gorgeous colour and the rider actually appears to be enjoying herself! 8-)
Second favourite entry... :P
This little Highland was adorable - he tucked his head right in and sort of hopped into canter. XD
These next photos make me think of old hunting prints. XD
As far as I can remember this was supposed to be the Connemara and New Forest class but there were only Connemaras in it for some reason. XD
Next up were the Exmoors and Dartmoors. This one had the most incredible shading and pangare.
This one really took my breath away - stunning colour, beautiful action and what presence!
After those classes finished we moved onto the smaller ring where the Junior Showjumping was held. The warm-up arena is a fantastic spot for photos as you can get really close to the ponies and there were plenty of spots to get the jumps from. I much prefer the junior SJ to the adult equivalent as the ponies are so much more entertaining to watch.
Taking 'on the diagonal' to a whole new level...
...and again. XD
These are two of my favourite shots I think. :)
It's so sobering to see such tiny kids on relatively tiny ponies vaulting over some rather substantial fences. O_O
I've been riding longer than some of these kids have probably been alive and I still couldn't jump that! :O
There now follows a brief interlude in the jumping as I was distracted by the sight of err...cobs. 8-) 8-) ::)
I glanced to my right and spotted something black and white in-between the crowds. I asked Holly if she thought it was what I think thought it was and then moved closer for a better look, and without even looking back just went 'I was right, it's COBS!' and practically sprinted over to the other paddock. XD
Worth it though, loooooook!
Pintaloosa! I've never seen one in the flesh before and I saw TWO at the show!
Unfortunately I'd missed the trotting up of one absolutely stunning traditional cob - he had a mane down to his knees. :o
A very loudly marked sabino Clydesdale. :)
This big lass was gorgeous - I'd have quite happily taken her home if I could have!
Pretty strong though! 8-)
I love the cat-tracks on this one. I think they did quite well.
I love this one's wonky stripe - so sweet!
A very worthy (and happy!) winner!
Cob addiction satiated, I went back to the warm-up ring...
Interesting noseband on this one...
There were a few greys (which, interestingly seemed to be really calm - all the coloureds were mental (more on that later :P) the bays fast, the chestnuts brake-less but the greys? Reeeeeally laidback) but this one really caught my eye for the number of fleabits he sported and of course, matching bloodmarks on each side of his hindquarters.
Damn that fencepost on the left - it ruined an otherwise lovely photo! :(
I really liked this pony - especially that roany marking on his shoulder.
We were getting pretty hungry by this point so we walked down past the ring where the actual showjumping was going on and got ourselves some lunch from one of the fast food van things. This bit was packed but we managed to get a reasonable view of one of the most beautiful ponies there, this gorgeous palomino.
I was distracted once more by this gorgeous welshie in the other warm-up ring next door; I'm sure you can see why!
Anyway, back to the jumping!
There were thrills...
...and a few err...moments like this.
...but on the whole the quality of jumping was very high...as were the jumps themselves!
Here's that other pintaloosa I mentioned earlier.
I'm telling you, some of these ponies can't half shift! O_O
Extension AND collection in one! XD
This one had to be one of the nicest greys I've ever seen - very striking!
Talented, to boot!
Here's that bloodmarked grey from earlier. :) Looks like he's got another mark on his side, under the saddle too.
I could be wrong but I have a feeling this pony refused the bounce once, hence the over enthusiastic approach...
It jumped the second fence like a deer! XD
(http://www.equineresindirectory.com/showresin.asp?resinid=1669 El Embosco anyone? :P)
I'd love to paint a model similar to him - really nicely marked and absolutely loved his job.
I don't remember which pony it was but one had a big refusal at the bounce and was circling round to take it again. Some of the people who were watching next to us obviously knew the rider/pony and kept offering encouragement. When I say 'encouragement' read that as 'GIT ON, HUUUUUPPPP! RAAAAAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!' very loudly on the approach. 8-) It seemed to work though as he popped over them no bother but it was really funny. 8-)
Back to the warm-up ring now...
That grey with the green numnah was one of my favourites. :)
More of that gorgeous palo from earlier...
We finally tore ourselves away from ponies long enough to visit the Clydesdales. Annoyingly we couldn't get into the big barn type stables where the majority of them where but did see some lovely examples of the breed outside.
Oh and some piglets. XD
I find it very interesting how Clydesdales bred in other countries seem to adhere to the 'Budweiser' look - bay with high whites and a blaze - and don't have nearly as much sabino ticking as over here where they originated!
Since docking was made illegal in the UK, you almost always see them shown with either a full tail or, as shown here, with the dock shaved and plaited up at the top.
This is my favourite kind of sabino - LOUD! 8-)
All the Highlands were heading off to the parade in the main ring but while they were waiting for the Clydes to move out of the way, I got some nice shots.
Gotta love the contrasting ear-fluff! XD
Look at the eartips!
If I remember correctly, this little yearling filly was called Skye. More details on how I know that later on...
Only one pony was kitted out for deer stalking this year but I got a couple of nice shots - very helpful as I intend to make a better version of the only pack saddle I have! Highlands are traditionally used on the estates for hauling the deer carcasses back to base after a day's hunting or shooting. While I despise hunting for sport, I have no problem with shooting or culling when done for the right reasons such as conservation or land management.
There were loads of Shetlands too - the majority of which were black! I'd never seen so many the same colour at once before - it must be a popular colour in the showring at the moment.
We followed them out to the main ring to watch the final parade of champions.
I love how some sabinos end up with grey manes and tails. :)
Unless I'm very much mistaken the next horse is Carlung Feargus who won here last year (I took some nice shots of him last time too) and looks to have done so again, and honestly, if I had a mare I wanted to breed from, he'd be my first choice of stallion to put her to. Absolutely stunning.
I love this lad's attitude. ;D
*shakes fist at person on the left*
Now, I'm no expert in showing but I thought that coloured/decorated bridles like this were a bit of a faux pas in Native classes? In my opinion it rather detracts from an otherwise beautiful pony...
Here's Skye again!
This was either a Dales or Fell pony and I'm amazed he didn't walk into the fence - with that much mane he must have had very little vision!
Is this a Silver of some kind? The legs are telling me yes but I've drawn a blank otherwise. 8-)
This youngster didn't seem to understand the concept of walking forward and ended up trotting sideways along much of the ring. XD
Unusual browband here - again, I thought that for this kind of class decoration was to be kept to a minimum so as to show off the horse's head to its best without distractions? I like the browband but it's too dainty for such a workmanlike head. :/
After that we paid a brief visit to the Highlands.
Last year I'd taken some shots of a lovely little mouse dun called Rory...
...which his owner found on Flickr and emailed me a month or two ago about, asking if she could get copies. I happily obliged and during the conversation it transpired that she'd be at the show again this year with Rory and his friend Kyle so we arranged to meet up. The ponies were far more interested in their hay to bother to pose so no photos of them unfortunately, but Heather (the owner) asked if I'd mind taking a couple of shots of her friend's yearling filly Skye, as she had no decent photos of her. Never one to refuse such a nice opportunity, I agreed and here we go!
Lovely wee thing she was but took a bit of encouragement to 'smile' for the camera! 8-)
Heather lives not too far from me and I've been given an open invitation to come round and visit the ponies! :D :D So yeah, eeeeee! ^^
After that (and the briefest rain shower you've ever seen 8-) ) we headed back to, yup, you've guessed it, the showjumping. 8-)
Holly's claimed this pony as her's – one totally MENTAL creature! 8-)
No brakes, head in the air the whole time but oooft, he can jump!
Lovely grey. :D
I absolutely love this shade of bay too.
This little chestnut was brilliant - could turn on a sixpence and despite its diminutive size, could jump just as high as the larger ponies.
Here's the nutter off again. XD I don't think they went clear sadly. :(
...and our wee chestnut!
Just look at 'im go! :o
Lovely grey again. :D
By now Nigel's battery was almost depleted so I only managed to take literally a couple of photos of the SJ finals in the main ring.
It's bad when I think that I could probably only manage to jump the very bottom pole of those jumps. 8-)
Anyway, that was the last event of the day and once it was finished we headed for the exit. I had a great day out (aside from the sunburn which REALLY HURTS) and can't wait til next year! :D
To finish I'll leave you with this photo of a puppy whose expression probably matches your own after reading through this entire post! 8-)
Also, as ever, feel free to use any of the photos for sculpting/painting reference - just don't sell them, pass them off as your own or use them as stock for photomanips etc. :) All I ask is to be credited if anyone asks. :)[/b]