The final day of this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show was as exciting as you might expect. With the final phase of the FEI driving, the beautiful “private drive” of the British Driving Society, and final rounds and championships in many of the show’s most popular classes, there was a lot to see. I missed most of the show jumping, unfortunately, but some of the biggest classes, including the grand prix, are held on the final Sunday of the show.

The weather on Sunday was variable. I awoke to bright sunshine, and then by a bit later in the morning, it was pouring rain. The rain was so steady and the clouds so solid that it looked as if it were set in for the day, but by late morning it had blown over and the sun was back out. Then, in the early afternoon, it rained again, and then cleared up again. And on and on it went. As you might imagine with all this rain blowing in and out, it was really quite windy.

In the FEI driving, the rain, hooves, and carriage wheels had turned the warm-up area into a sea of mud, and the carriage cleaners must’ve had quite a job at the end of the day! When everything was finished, Dieter Hoefs of Germany had won the pony four-in-hand division with a score of 170.89, Beat Schenk of Switzerland had won the horse pair division with a score of 130.98, and the reigning world champion, Ysbrand Chardon of the Netherlands, had won the horse four-in-hand division with a score of 134.09. In the horse pairs, American driver Randy Cadwell finished in 9th place overall, with a score of 154.57. In the middle of the afternoon in the main arena, HM The Queen presented the awards to the winners of the FEI driving competition.

American driver Randy Cadwell on the cones course with her pair of horses

American driver Randy Cadwell on the cones course with her pair of horses

in the horse pair division, Austria's Isidor Weber won the cones phase and finished sixth overall; his horses are owned by one of the members of our CAA group at the show

in the horse pair division, Austria’s Isidor Weber (shown here on the cones course) won the cones phase and finished sixth overall; his horses are owned by one of the members of our CAA group at the show

Ysbrand Chardon, saluting the crowd and celebrating his victory after the awards ceremony in the main arena

Ysbrand Chardon, saluting the crowd and celebrating his victory after the awards ceremony in the main arena

In the early afternoon, a large number of beautiful turnouts gathered in one of the arenas and then left for a lovely (and, unfortunately, rainy) long drive through the park. This annual class in composed of BDS members and is judged as a concours d’elegance of sorts. The judge each year is an artist (this year, it was Joy Claxton), and her task is to pick the turnout that makes the lovliest picture, the one she’d most like to paint.

as is tradition, HRH Prince Philip led the way for the BDS drive

as is tradition, HRH Prince Philip led the way for the BDS drive

a long line of carriages, heading out of the showgrounds and into the park for their annual drive

a long line of carriages, heading out of the showgrounds and into the park for their annual drive

Some of the highlights from the rest of the day:

one of the several packs in the annual meet of the hounds

one of the several packs in the annual meet of the hounds

the members of the team from England celebrate their victory in the Pony Club games, which go on throughout the show (with the final on Sunday) and which pit England against teams from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland

the members of the team from England celebrate their victory in the Pony Club games, which go on throughout the show (with the final on Sunday) and which pit England against teams from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland

a bit of the excitement from the final round of the Shetland Pony Grand National (look at the jumping form of that gray pony!!)

a bit of the excitement from the final round of the Shetland Pony Grand National (look at that gray pony’s form!!)

In the evening, our CAA group met one last time for a farewell dinner. We enjoyed a traditional British Sunday dinner of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and vegetables. Speeches were given, stories shared, and then, sadly, goodbyes made. We’ll be back again next year with a new group of travelers and, in the meantime, we’ll be traveling to Germany in August for the 2009 FEI World Pony Driving Championships and to Argentina in November. Whether in person or here on the travel blog, we hope you’ll join us!