A group of horsy ladies of a certain age arrived as I sat watching a hunter class. “The chairs have been commandeered,” said one. “They’ve been commandeered. Comm-an-deered!” Their chat centred on the eventing world. They’d been to Blair last week, and didn’t like the way the British young riders all rode the water jump the same way. “They bounced in. They bounced. Think what that will do to their horses’ legs. The French didn’t ride it that way,” said another. Next weekend, they were off to Burghley. Today, they sat in the sun and tried to pick a winner from the small hunters.
We saw pony show jumping, stunt horses and riders and the hunt. After the hounds had galloped around the ring a few times, the commentator invited the watching children in to meet them. There is something very endearing about foxhounds; they are always waving their sterns and they always seem to have a delighted grin on their faces. So did most of the children, until they reluctantly had to leave their new friends and return to their parents.
The show was, as always, a wonderful cross-section of humanity. Joules Girls in pearl earrings, farmers, hunting types, pensioners, families out for a day with the kids. And of course, there were more of those dreaded bargains to be had; and had they were. I really am suffering from a guilt trip now. Thankfully, the Joules stall wasn’t as tempting as the one at Thirlestane, but there were plenty more temptations to separate a gal and her money.
Unfortunately, the cattle, sheep and goats were missing this year but there was still something for just about everyone: local food, clothing, jewellery, paintings, crafts, fairground rides, tractors, trailers, cars and motorbikes, and of course, horses, horses, horses …