There is nothing more exhilarating than hearing that whistle, looking around you, and finally hearing the thundering hooves as the next competitor comes flying over the fence you're stood at. You cheer them on and run along to the next fence - the water maybe? Will anyone fall in? Will someone miss a stride and take a flyer over the fence in the water.....
Wellington Horse Trials 2018
So this was our first ever horse trials, we hadn't even shot an unaffiliated HT before so to go into the best event in the South East (4 Years Winners) was definitely a challenge. We couldn't wait to get cracking with the event, some of our team must have walked the course a good 5 times in order to make sure that we had the right fences, right angles and backgrounds would work well.
We arrived on the Friday and set up the sales unit, drove around the course for the 19th time and finalised decisions. Excitement was in the air and eye of the tiger came on the radio... that was it.. focussed anthem here we come! Tents were set up - as usual someone had forgot the basics... a bed to sleep on.. so off to Sainsbury we went - airbed purchased, got back to HT Venue, by this time it's dark so having to pump up the airbed manually + tired humans = the longest blow up of an airbed ever!
SATURDAY: First day of the Horse Trials, everyone is in position, radio checks done, and eagerly awaiting the shout on the radio that the first horse has left the start box and the course is now live...
"Rider 104 clear over fence 3" the words we had been dying to hear, that meant the next fence would be the one our first photographer was based at.. the water... Normally the water is the place to be sat, where the thrills and spills are most likely to happen...
Thankfully all riders were fine and no-one came off in the water, much to the disappointment of spectators! A relief no less to the photographers, fence judges, riders and horses.
The course was built by Adrian Ditchman - one of the leading course builders in the UK, the course ran with approx. 20 fences with quite a lot of technical questions included. Wellington has won South East Event of Year for the past four years, and anyone who attended will vouch for how well organised and impeccably ran the event was. Without all of the volunteers who gave up their days to help at the Horse Trials, including those who went digging in the water for the lost shoe! The event would not be as popular as it is now.
SUNDAY: Wet, Wet, Wet.
It absolutely tipped it down from the very start to the very end! All of our photographers had to take shelter in their cars, with some being more prepared than others...the rain made our jobs very difficult but despite the weather the riders continued to ride, galloping through the rain and battling the winds, it certainly wasn't the right weather for fairweather riders.
All change on the course for our photographers, with a new day came new challenges for all us, with tricky lighting on some of the fences, sometimes a last minute change of angle or fence due to unforeseen circumstances, our team took it all in their stride and carried on regardless, producing some absolutely stunning images and kept the standard high throughout the whole weekend! A massive thank you is owed to my team for helping out and making our first Horse Trials enjoyable.