Friday, 18 May 2012

Private Wedding Show

Credit: Grayswood Computers Ltd

Last Friday myself, Helen (my lovely commentator), Jess (my lovely helper), Tinker and Casper headed down the A1 to Hilton, Cambridgeshire.  We were due to have a full day on Saturday working at a friend's wedding.  Originally Nikki had asked me to be a guest at her marriage to Chris, along with doing a show for entertainment in the evening.  In addition Nikki and Chris were going to ride the horses from the church down to the village green reception.  This was all fine and well, but then with two weeks to go Nikki asked me if I would like to be a bridesmaid as one of her original ones had had to drop out!  Of course I said yes, but that then left me with a very, very full day!

Having arrived and settled in on Friday evening we took the horses for a wander to let them see where we would be performing.  It was a lovely little paddock and just the right size for us, with a broken hedge down one side into another paddock which meant we had somewhere to warm up and enter from, and a fence half way down right across for the audience to stand on the other side of - perfect!  The owners of the land had been very worried that we wouldn't be able to use it as it had been so wet, but given the last few days of sunshine it had dried out brilliantly and was just about perfect for us!

Following a snug night in the lorry (it really is a bit too small for three of us!) Saturday morning was spent walking the horses the route they would have to take with the bride and groom, before I rushed off to have my hair done, leaving Helen and Jess to plait the boys' tails and put ribbon in them.  Once my hair was done I came back to the stables and plaited Tinker's mane, showing Helen how to do a running plait so she could do Casper's mane.  I then started Jess off threading ribbon through their manes before abandoning them all again to finish polishing the horses and tack up, as I had to go and get my dress on (never seen before yet alone tried on!) and do my make up.  Once that was done we were off to the church for the wedding!  It was a beautiful ceremony and as I was bridesmaid I had one of the best seats in the house!  Nikki and Chris both did really well not to cry, although I thought they were both going to go at one point.  I'm glad they didn't as I'm sure it would have set me off too!

As soon as we were out of the church and the bells were ringing Helen and Jess bought the horses down.  We did a lot of photographs without them and then bought them around the back of the church so they could have some photos taken with the bride and groom.  One shot in particular involved the horses standing grazing on one side of the church wall, with Nikki and Chris in the church door in the background.  However, the horses obviously still needed holding so Helen and Jess ended up crouching behind the wall with the boys' reins over the wall - it's always funny what the camera can't see!

Having got Nikki and Chris onto the horses (not so easy in Nikki's case!) they then walked down past the village green where the guests were waiting, and into 'the wilderness' for more photos.  Tinker and Casper were brilliant, and struck all kinds of poses for the photographer.  Whilst Casper is very photogenic I very often struggle to get Tinker to prick his ears for the camera - he prefers the laid back asleep look!  Luckily I had a very long pearl necklace on, and when I jangled it and jumped up and down in front of him he actually pricked his ears endlessly - turns out he can smile on demand after all! 

Once the photos were finished with it was back to the stables to untack (still in my dress!) and allow the boys a little bit of time to themselves.  We then went back down to the village green where there was a fantastic picnic spread for everybody.  The menu was amazing, Nikki and Chris had made all sorts of things including vegetarian scotch eggs (delicious!), pigeon pate with pickled grapes and ciabatta bread to name but a few things.  The girls and I had about thirty minutes where we didn't have anything to do, which was lovely, but then it was action stations again!

We left the picnic early and went back to do all our show preparation.  This meant warming up, tacking up, warming up both the horses, getting into costume and getting down to the paddock for last minute warm up.  We then had to go and call all the guests over ('ROLL UP, ROLL UP, PREPARE TO BE DAZZLED!') to the show.  The whole thing was a complete surprise for them and I have to say they did look surprised!  They followed us down the track to the paddock and then it was on with the show!

We'd put together a special two horse show which involved a bit of everything - vaulting, dances, chasing, rearing, Roman riding and skipping - so for the next thirty minutes we were flat out!  Casper and Tinker both went really well, although Tinker tried to charge off during the skipping, Casper missed his first catch (but again, as in Morpeth, this was entirely my own fault), and then right at the very end when I was in stand Tinker very uncharacteristically jumped sideways as the crown cheered and I half fell half jumped off!  I landed on my feet though, ran around and jumped back on - I don't think many people even noticed! 

Following the show we sorted the horses out, and then it was on with the clean smart clothes (back into the bridesmaid dress for me) and off to the village hall for the party!  We missed the cutting of the cake (yummy chocolate), but saw the first dance, and then spent most of the evening dancing ourselves.  There was a late night barbeque which was again delicious, and for the first time we could all actually spend plenty of time and eat as much as we liked!  One of the highlights of the evening was right at the end, when Nikki threw her bouquet.  We were all standing behind her and she threw it high into the air, only for it to hit the beam above her head and land in a dishevelled heap about a foot behind her.  The second attempt at the throw had me worried as it seemed to be heading straight for my head, but at the last minute Helen (who was standing right in front of me) made an almighty leap - and caught it!  Her's will be the next wedding then!!  

It was a very tired team that eventually made it to bed on Saturday night, but luckily we didn't have anything to do in the morning other than load the horses up and truck on back to Yorkshire.  The journey home was quite long but unbelievably easy, basically just the A1.  For miles.  And miles.  It was worth it though as we all had a brilliant weekend, the sun shone, and everything went to plan.  Nikki and Chris are now on their honeymoon, which sounds amazing (travelling around Argentine for three weeks visiting polo yards amongst other things), and of which I am very jealous!  Although we didn't manage to get any photos of the weekend (too busy to take any!), we have managed to collect a few - just click here to see them.  As soon as we get some more from the photographer I'll add them to the album and let you know!

We've got a weekend off this weekend but then on Friday 26th we're off to Stockheld Park in Wetherby for the two day Yorkshire Game Fair.  I'm really looking forward to this one, so keep all your fingers crossed for sunshine and I'll let you know how we get on!

Rosie xx