Equestrian news by Emma Jane Brown
by Emma-Jane Brown
It never ceases to amaze me how the human spirit can drive ambition, and spending time at the RDA National Championships confirmed to me yet again how disability is not a barrier to riding.
This year’s RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) National Championships were held at Hartbury College in Gloucestershire in July, attracting 780 competitors from across the UK.
The event has also proved a springboard for the Paralympics and many members of the Para equestrian team for Paralympics GB have previously competed at these championships.
There were so many highlights, as there always are, but surely the introduction of carriage driving as a competitive discipline and the first RDA show jumping display deserves special mention – it was simply amazing to watch a blind rider compete over show jumps.
The three day event began with the RDA flagship showjumping, which featured hundreds of competitors in a range of classes, including dressage, countryside challenge, vaulting musical ride, musical drive, horse care and knowledge, arts and craft carriage driving and best turned out.
It was a fabulous event and I loved watching the incredible riders and children achieve so much.
The atmosphere is always jubilant and carnival-like, too. As I went on my guided tour around the championships to see all the children competing, it was clear how important riding was to the competitors and their families.
To see these children, who have all kinds of disabilities, achieve their goals was just simply awesome. And it really does put life into perspective. The biggest highlight for me that day was to be asked to present the rosettes and trophies to all the winners.
I was delighted to see the winners come up, with huge smiles across their faces, to receive their prizes. Of course, how very proud all there parents were, too. It was a memorable occasion for all.
Every year, more than 30,000 people with disabilities discover how much they can achieve through the RDA. Horses and ponies provide therapy and help people of all ages with disabilities to achieve and enjoy their lives.
There are 500 groups across the UK, with 28,000 participants and 18,000 volunteers. It’s a charity very close to my heart.
Finally: good luck to team GB at the Paralympics and I will be watching them cheering them as they endeavour to win gold medals.
Veuve Clicquot - Polo on the Beach
11th September 2012
The award-winning Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach event takes place at Watergate Bay near Newquay, with the promise of speed and excitement featuring some of the country’s top professional polo players.
As the first autumn swells begin to pound the beach, surfers give way to ponies for Polo on the Beach - an exhibition match between two teams of top international players. Six professional polo players, one umpire and around thirty horses take to the sands of the famous surfing beach to play four fast-paced chukkas (periods of play lasting six and a half minutes) in a small arena measuring 100m by 50m.
The match starts at 6.30pm and to help spectators soak up the atmosphere the Veuve Clicquot champagne bar and beach barbeque will be open on the beach from 3pm. Fast, furious and exciting, Polo on the Beach is more intimate than most other polo tournaments as spectators get to all see the action up close and can meet the players afterwards.
If you know nothing about the game then during the match expert commentators explain the rules and strategy of the game, while summarising the action for the spectators. With its friendly atmosphere, beach barbeque and free entry, the event breaks down the stereotypical view of polo as an elitist sport for the wealthy and is a unique event in Cornwall’s calendar.
Blenheim Horse Trials
6th - 9th September
The Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials are now firmly established in the eventing calendar. It has been running since 1990, attracting the world’s best riders and the thousands of spectators who come each year to watch the event.
The Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials is known as a ‘3-day event’, even though the actual event is run over four days! This is because the event is made up of three phases: Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping, with the Dressage phase taking place over the first 2 days.
The start of the event is preceded on the Wednesday afternoon with the first official horse inspection in front of the Ground Jury Judges and the Veterinary Commission. This is followed by 2 days of dressage (Thursday and Friday), and then Cross Country and Show Jumping over the weekend.