Who needs a bridle? — and 8 other things we learnt at the H&H Festival of Eventing

  • The Horse & Hound Festival of Eventing, run in association with KBIS were a runaway success for the second year.  We’re sad it’s all over now, so to reminisce, here’s just a few of the things we learnt at Keysoe over the Bank Holiday weekend (26-28 May)…

    1. The prizes were awesome (again!)

    80cm winner Beccy Belcher’s prize haul

    This wasn’t an ordinary unaffiliated event, this was an unaffiliated event boasting thousands of pounds worth of prizes. To give you an idea, here’s what you won if you scooped first place in any of the four classes:

    £250 from KBIS to be redeemed against an insurance policy
    NAF goody pack made up from

      • 1 x Ice Cool
      • 1 x Superflex 800g
      • 1 x Cooling Wash
      • 1 x Show Off
      • 1 x Leather Cleanse and Condition
      • 1 x Recover

    Bates eventers pack

      • 1 x dressage saddle cloth
      • 1 x polo wraps
      • 1 x jump saddle cloths
      • 1 x stall guard

    A pair of Ariat long boots
    A pair of Icevibe boots
    Winner’s rug
    A pot of Sliverfeet liquid hoof oil
    A Likit

    Even better, the excellent prize haul awarded those all the way down to 10th place.

    2. One competitor was supremely cool in the face of a adversity

    One rider was faced with a bit of a problem when facing a bridle malfunction while going through the water complex on the cross-country, but she remained calm and both horse and rider escaped from the incident unscathed.

    3. Age? It’s just a number

    Whether you are 11 or 72, age really doesn’t matter. Competitors as young as 11, such as Frankie Fox who was second in the 70cm class, gave the grown-ups a run for their money. While Sally Pidsley, last year’s 70cm winner, who finished a highly creditable third in the same class this time around, is 72. Aaron Clark was also another 11-year-old competitor, who is pictured having a whale of a time below.

    4. All shapes, sizes and colours of horse and pony were welcome

    Large, small, bay, grey and everything in-between — all sorts of horses and ponies gave the competition their best shot. In fact, of the four classes, two winners were riding coloureds and one was on a dun. And then there was this one — a real life My Little Pony!

    5. All was not lost if you didn’t make it round the cross-country

    Those that didn’t complete the cross-country phase were allowed to trot-up and complete a consolation showjumping round on the final day.

    6. The commentator was brilliant…

    Nick Woods deserved a medal for his brilliant commentary throughout the competition. He made the event feel like Badminton and so many were full of praise for his hard work — not to mention his unwavering enthusiasm during nine hours (!) of cross-country action.

    7. …As was the catering team

    There were no greasy burger vans in situ at Keysoe, just delicious, fresh food, all day every day — take a bow, catering team — you were ace (as was your macaroni cheese)

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    8. Takeaways do deliver to Keysoe

    But if you did fancy half a duck and some crispy seaweed, the sight of one group of riders in the lorry park tucking into a Chinese confirmed the local takeaway does deliver to Keysoe.

    9. Fun was had by all

    From a drinks party with endless bottles of fizz to a live band and insightful demos, there was never a dull moment at the H&H Festival of Eventing, and the competitors and their supporters sure knew how to have fun!

    Don’t miss the full report from the Horse & Hound Festival of Eventing in the 7 June issue of Horse & Hound magazine

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