Last Friday (16th) I had a day out at Olympia Horse Show with Mum as a little Christmassy day out together. I have only been to Olympia Horse Show once before way back in 1996 with my Godmother, and it’s been something both Mum and I have wanted to go back to but have just never been organised enough to do so… until this year.
I have been a lover of horses all my life, and like every little girl growing up it was my dream to have my own pony, but owing to moving quite a lot it never happened (or that’s the excuse my parents have given me anyway). Currently I am struggling to find a yard or stables near me to go riding without having to pay Windsor Park fees; but in riding terms I am the quintessential happy hacker and love nothing more. One thing though that is still a dream to do, is to experience galloping along a beach and it’s one of the things on my 29 things to do before I’m 30 list (here), so I need to get on and find somewhere to achieve this.
So, Olympia Horse Show.
I had booked Mum and I into the afternoon performance which started at 12:40 and finished about 16:45 or so; we then spent an hour walking around the shopping village before heading home. As soon as we walked into the arena to find our seats, we were immediately hit with the waft of horses and only horsey people will understand (and appreciate) how amazing that smell is. We were sat at the top end of the arena (block 10), which faced the entrance/exit the riders and acts came into the arena.
The first on the programme for the afternoon was the FEI World Champion Driving Leg and although I have seen the odd bit of driving here and there, mostly outdoors at places like Windsor Horse Show, I have never seen it properly up close. Each team (the driver with two grooms) controlled four horses and the carriage around a course of obstacles, the objective being to do it in the quickest time with the least amount of faults. This really was a spectacle and how those horses, and the carriage bent around those tight obstacles I will never truly know.
Second into the arena was The Kennel Club Small Dog Speed Jumping Grand Prix; a team of dogs and their owners completing an agility course –again in the fastest amount of time with the least faults. This was brilliant fun and we all got behind the dogs that were so excited that they ended up completing the obstacles in the wrong order, the wrong way around, or not at all. If I had a dog (hopefully in the future), I would definitely look to join a local agility club.
Of everything we saw in the afternoon, the act we both really didn’t enjoy was Santi Serra; an ‘equestrian artist’ and his two performing horses and two dogs. While we totally appreciated his ability to bond so well with his two horses, it was too submissive and for most of his short display, he had them lying on the floor allowing his dogs to sit on them. For us it just didn’t show a lot of respect to his horses.
However, following this, two more enjoyable performances took place –the Shetland Pony Grand National, and The Portuguese Lusitanos –an exquisite breed of horse with their riders performing a very high level of dressage; it was beautiful to watch.
Following a short interval, the second half of the afternoon was The Snowman Stakes -a winning round show jumping competition, which was terrific. It was unfortunate to watch John Whittaker’s horse slip and collide into one of the jumps early on in the course, involving instant elimination, but asides from this it was a gripping completion with riders competing against the clock for first place.
As is traditional, Olympia Horse Show closes with the Christmas Finale, which sees Santa enter the arena along with other equestrian performers. The whole performance including all the different acts throughout the afternoon, was truly brilliant to watch and I have no doubt that Olympia Horse Show will become a new Christmas tradition going forward.
Have you guys ever been to Olympia Horse Show? What did you think?
Until tomorrow xFollow