Yesterday (Thursday) was a long, full day at the horse show.

The members of our group went their separate ways to find the things they most wanted to see. And there were so many choices!

First, there were the horse pairs and pony four-in-hand teams in the FEI driving event … they had their dressage tests yesterday (all the many horse teams will go today). The only American competing in this event this year is Miranda (“Randy”) Cadwell, who right now sits in fifth place out of 21, with a dressage score of 54.78 penalty points.

In the other three rings of the horse show were such diverse classes as jumping, riding horses, “fancy dress” for riders with disabilities, light trade turnouts, hackneys, polo ponies, driving for the disabled, hunters, mounted games, and more (see the photos below).

Each year, the layout of the venue changes ever so slightly, so that I always spend part of the first day at the show getting my bearings. This year, in the middle of the circle created by the three rings and the warmup areas, and next to the vendors and food court, is a big display of military vehicles. Most of these are open for peering or even climbing into. 

one of the competitors in the riding horse championship is standing here in the collecting ring, and on the other side of the rail is an RAF plane on display

one of the competitors in the riding horse championship is standing here in the collecting ring, and on the other side of the rail is an RAF plane simulator on display

one of the colorful turnouts in the light-trade class

one of the colorful turnouts in the light-trade class

... and a different sort of milk-delivery wagon from the one above

… and a different sort of milk-delivery wagon from the one above

this butcher's cart won the two-wheel division and was reserve champion overall; they won the championship a couple of years ago

this butcher’s cart won the two-wheel division and was reserve champion overall; they won the championship a couple of years ago

these were the champions in the light-trade turnout class: T. Cribbs and Sons' funeral service delivery van (they won the class last year as well)

these were the champions in the light-trade turnout class: T. Cribbs and Sons’ funeral service delivery van (they won the class last year as well)

a competitor in the "heavyweight hunter" class

a competitor in the “heavyweight hunter” class

this hackney pony was declared reserve champion for the hackney division (check back for the pony's name because, after I've touted it, the show's website doesn't have these results posted yet)

the Hackney pony Westbourne Hi-Tec (a 5-year-old stallion by Plaistow Pippit, owned by Mr. E.A. Ward) was declared reserve champion in the hackney division

... and the champion in the hackney division (check back for the horse's name because, after I've touted it, the show's website doesn't have these results posted yet)

… and the champion: the Hackney horse Forewood Brave Heart (an 8-year-old stallion by Heldon Expectations, owned by Mr. J. Wenham)

one of the exciting classes of the afternoon was a team jump-off between various hunts; for the awards, these hounds were in the ring as well and led the way for the victory gallop

one of the exciting classes of the afternoon was a team jump-off between a number of hunts; these hounds were in the ring for the awards ceremony, and they led the way for the victory gallop

Near the end of the day, many in the group made our traditional trek under the Victoria Bridge, over to the stable area, and on to the Bowman/Fawcett “camp” for drinks and a visit. The Bowmans are actually not here this year, but the Fawcetts did a marvelous job of making the Pim’s in their stead! We all had a nice chat under the trees by the river. That part of the stable area, where the caravans park by the Thames, is always very peaceful and friendly. While we were there, several of the group met and struck up a conversation with a woman and her family, returning to their horse box from the arena. She had shown her “coloured” horse (pony-sized, actually)  in the in-hand class. He was an adorable youngster, only two and a half, that she had bought from the gypsies when he was six months old. Someone offered him a bit of his Pim’s cup, and the young pony was only too happy to have a slurp or two.

Later that evening, at least two members of our group who had so enjoyed the tattoo the night before went back again. Unfortunately, it poured rain for about ten minutes in the middle of the performance, but then it let up. We’ll hope it didn’t put too much of a damper on the festivities.

Today is the coaching marathon and such diverse horse-show classes as tent-pegging and skill-at-arms.

For combined driving or other horse-show results, don’t forget to check www.rwhs.co.uk or www.hoefnet.com.