Heading to Royal Windsor this weekend? Keep an eye open for these signs that summer is here (or maybe not quite yet…)
1. The unpredictable weather
The cancellation of all classes at Royal Windsor on Wednesday (11 May) due to severe flooding in the lorry park reminds us that the British summers are all about the unpredictable weather — basking in glorious sunshine one moment and torrential rain the next. But let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be summer in the UK without it…
2. Dressing up
If there is any occasion to don a summer dress, in The Queen’s back garden is the place to do it. Visitors to Royal Windsor do so with such optimism, although it is usually with an umbrella tucked under one arm and a mac hidden away in the handbag. And for when the weather does decide to make a turn for the worse, the mac over the summer dress is always a ‘practical’ look.
3. Enjoying an ice cream
As soon as the sun does make an appearance, the ice cream van at Royal Windsor is conveniently located near the grandstands. Even when there is a slight chill in the air, spectators defiantly feast on ice creams in a bid to truly believe summer has arrived.
4. That familiar smell
There is nothing like the strong smell of fly-spray to remind the senses that spring is on its way out and the summer months are on the horizon. Linger around the collecting rings for long enough and you will catch a waft. But where would horse owners be with out the deterrent — pesky flies cause havoc over the summer, especially in the show ring.
5. On the grass
As soon as showing classes begin to take place on grass arenas you know it’s time to start celebrating summer. There is nothing like a perfectly mown grass ring…
6. Being outside
As much as we all love the likes of the Horse of the Year Show and Olympia as popular winter shows, there is something particularly pleasant about watching showjumping action outdoors — sipping Pimms while the sun (hopefully) emerges from behind that stubborn cloud.
7. The short option
If a summer dress is not the chosen wardrobe for Royal Windsor, shorts seem to be a close plan B when it comes to British spectators — who defiantly get their (sometimes rather white) legs out, which have been hidden away all winter. And these shorts are often matched with boots (of the Dubarry kind), just to be prepared for all eventualities…
8. Bring out the sunglasses
As soon as there is a glimmer of sunshine, the sunglasses come out like Grease Lightening around the grandstand. We Brits take any opportunity to get those Raybans or aviators out — even if the sun disappears as quickly as it arrived…
9. A nice shine
You only need to look at the horses at Royal Windsor to notice their gleaming summer coats. After endless brushing to get rid of shedding hair over the winter, riders sigh with relief as soon as that ‘summer coat’ comes through — helped along with some ultra-shine conditioner of course.