Olympia International Horse Show 2014

As has become tradition, the AD and I made our way to the International Horse Show at Olympia.  I was surprisingly organised this year and managed to secure decent seats for the Thursday evening.  I actually got to see the Puissance live! (But, then, the power of twitter may have already let you know that).

Here are some of my favourite photographs from the night, in roughly chronological order.

Four Time Penalties
Four Time Penalties
Soraya de l’Obstination, ridden by USA’s Reed Kessler, coming in just half an inch too low on fence 3 of the Christmas Pudding Stakes show jumping.

Mersley Chakotay flying by
Mersley Chakotay flying by
Ridden by Great Britain’s William Whitaker.

Madame Ballerina
Madame Ballerina
Madame Ballerina, trained by Tracy Flower, showing the rest of the field how it’s done in a winning round.

Cossack Attack
Cossack Attack

Cossacks
Cossacks
These guys – the Ukranian Cossacks – are ridiculously nimble on horse back.

… But it get’s nimbler!

Vaulting Display
Vaulting

The Metropolitan Police are, of course, not to be out-done.

Metropolitan Police Display
Metropolitan Police Display
Yes, real flames and a full canter crossing paths.

Now for the main event – the Puissance.

Making It Look Easy
Made It Look Easy
Fantomas de Muze, ridden by Belgium’s Karline De Brabander.

High Clearance
High Clearance
Noctambule Courcelle, ridden by Guy Williams playing at home.

Precise
Precise
Armani the Gun CH, ridden by Puis Schwizer for Switzerland.

Making it Look Hard
Made It Look Hard
Fantomas de Muze and Karline De Brabander again. They cleared it, and finished in a respectable second place behind:

The Winning Jump
Winning Jump
David Simpson on Richi Rich, winning it for Ireland.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Ohekysaurus

I took this at the Natural History Museum, London.

According to the most recent research I could find from behavioural paleo-biologists, when compared to a duyathincisaurus an ohekysaurus was much more likely to make direct eye contact with it’s prey.  It’s believed that this was to cause the prey to freeze in fear and make it easier to catch.

Ohekysaurusthe head of an animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex at the National History MUseum, London.

Olympia International Horse Show 2013

Olympia2013

It’s starting to turn into a tradition for the AD and I to go to Olympia every year for the Horse Show – and it’s been consistently good.  I leave arranging tickets until far too late to get into the audience for the high-demand Puissance, but the Wednesday evening never fails to excite and entertain.

It opens with an Extreme Carriage Driving Competition – a glorious mix of high speeds, tight corners, gates no wider than the carriages, and something akin to reckless bravery by all involved.

 

Tight Corners

Olympia2013 Tight Turn

 

 

Time to move out of the way

Olympia2013 Four in Hand

 

 

Second on the programme is the Kennel Club Dog Agility. This is not quite as crazy as the carriage driving, but fun to watch nonetheless.

Jumpin’ Bearded Collie

Olympia2013 Dog Agility

 

 

The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art make two appearances in the evening, bringing a needed reduction in tempo each time.  The skill, control and co-ordination involved is wonderful to behold.

Andalusion

Olympia2013 Andalusian

 

 

Acting as an interstitial between the two Andalusian performances is the Shetland Pony Grand National.  More Fast and Furious than Vin Diesel in a Ferrari factory, the ponies hooves barely even seem to touch the ground.

 

Charge!

Olympia2013 Shetland Pony Grand National

 

It’s can be tough getting something resembling a half-decent shot, but there are a couple of unsung heros who get it bang-on the entire night long:

 

The Cameramen

Olympia2013 Cameraman

 

Now that we’re well past the interval, the real fun of the evening can begin – I speak, of course, of the Christmas Pudding Stakes show jumping.

Last year was won by Ireland’s Cian O’Connor on Splendor. He was riding Blue Lloyd this year; unfortunately, he had to withdraw four fences into the first round of jumping.

 

Blue Lloyd ridden by Cian O’Connor

Olympia2013 Cian O'Connor

 

There was so much great jumping – here’s some of my personal favourite images from the evening.

 

Cecilia, ridden by Robert Smith

Olympia2013 Robert Smith

The course is roughly as tight as it looks here. [From memory, this is the 5th fence on the first round]

Elie van de Kolmen, ridden by the great Michael Whitaker

Olympia2013 Michael Whitaker

 

See how Whitaker is already looking for the next fence before he’s even landed!

 

Jubilee d’Ouilly, ridden by Laura Kraut winning.

Olympia2013 Laura Kraut

Horse and Rider are jumping their final fence on the final round.  Two fast, clean, rounds earned them the Trophy.

 

Of course, no trip to Olympia would be complete without an appearance by Father Christmas.  For me, this signals the official start of Christmas.

 

Santa

Olympia2013 Santa

 

 

Merry Christmas!

(P.S.  I’m taking a couple of weeks off, so no new posts until the New Year.)