H&H dressage editor’s Area Festival video diary: A weighbridge, ice cream and escaping

  • Luckily the camera doesn’t roll all day as Fab disgraced herself this afternoon by escaping from her stable and squealing and spinning in the gangway as I grappled to wrestle her under control again.

    At home she likes to go ‘free range’, which is much frowned upon by my trainer Keith Robertson, even though she saves him and his ever-patient staff the job of sweeping the yard as Fab likes to hoover in front of all the stables. But if the horse who deposited the hay over the door has the audacity to pop its head over the door while she’s in hoover mode, she takes enormous offence and pins her ears back until they retreat back and leave her in peace to clear up.

    I interviewed three great winners today; a grinning former household cavalry equitation officer, Jess Dunn who looks to me to be the next Charlotte Dujardin and Tahley Reeve Smith.

    I’ve known Tahley for a long time as we were often fellow competitors at the much-missed Patchetts EC in Hertfordshire. When I heard she had won (with over 77% on a home-bred) I shouted “winner winner chicken dinner!” as she walked down to the prize-giving.

    She dropped both reins and punched the air in delight — she so deserved this and has worked bloody hard to get it.

    “I’m so on form and I love it!” she replied. Coming from Tahley it didn’t sound arrogant, just sincere.

    My other top moment from today was as I was walking past the ice-cream van. The weather was pretty miserable this morning so the lady obviously felt the need to justify herself.

    “I mean, it’s basically just a training aid,” she said as she was handed her ice-creams. “One for the trainer and one for the rider.”

    Catch up with Alice and Fab’s first 2016 blog here.

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