Strangest sights at Royal Windsor Horse Show 2013. One, undoubtedly, was the man who ran into the Castle Arena on Saturday afternoon on some sort of protest, only to be swiftly bundled up by the security forces and hastened away. I have no idea what he was protesting about — and possibly neither did he — but it was certainly short-lived. I’m pretty sure most people at the arena side missed the episode completely.
Another sight to behold was the Kingdom of Bahrain’s — which was supporting the endurance at this year’s 70th anniversary show — display of Arab horses. Around eight of these magnificent creatures exploded into the Castle Arena (I’m told they refused to hold the display in the smaller Copper Horse Ring, as scheduled) and leapt and cavorted the whole way round.
Crowd pleasing perhaps, but why must Arab horses always be shown thus? No wonder people think they’re mad and skitty and can’t do anything but look beautiful… They are intelligent, trainable animals who deserve to be shown in a better light.
There were a few scheduling problems, it seems. The open show pony classes overran and their championship, due to be held in the Castle Arena at 2.35pm, was put back — to 5.40pm. Of course, show schedules always overrun, whether it’s Royal Windsor or Little Potting-Shed-on-the-Wold. But it seemed a long time for children, and their ponies, to have to wait.
But on the whole this year’s Windsor, with memories of the deluge that forced organisers to cancel the Friday in 2012, was a triumph. There were a few classes with disappointing numbers forward, but on Saturday morning an impressively long line of mountain and moorland lead-rein ponies filled the Copper Horse Arena and the amateur classes all seemed well supported.
There were even spells of bright sunshine — it always rains at Windsor — and everyone, officials, competitors and the public, was upbeat and cheerful.
On Friday, I presented the Horse & Hound Challenge Cup to the winning novice hack, Anton Blue Rumba, ridden by Helen Baker. Hack line-ups have been somewhat sparse in recent seasons, so to see so many novices forward bodes well.
There’s a delightful story behind one combination in the novice hacks, so don’t miss Thursday H&H’s for our Royal Windsor special report.