Windsor


For obvious reasons, I mainly focus here on all the carriage driving that takes place at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. But there’s a lot more to the show, including the ever-popular Shetland Pony Grand National Steeplechase.

These fearless kids and adorable ponies run and jump their way through several sessions each day. I just love the ponies’ manes floofy manes and flying forelocks …

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Here are a few more photos, some rather close-up and detailed, from the trade-vehicles class at last week’s Royal Windsor Horse Show.

A couple of these are a front-on and then a side view of the same vehicle, so you can see both the pony and the vehicle itself.

Enjoy!

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I’m getting ready to head over the showgrounds for marathon day in the FEI driving competition.

Yesterday, a few members of our group met with fellow CAA member Tommy Fawcett for a walking tour of today’s marathon obstacles.
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While we were out, the competitors went out on their official course walk as well. Bicycles only, apparently.
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Here’s a view of one of the new obstacles, with some of the RWHS “fun fair” visible in the background.
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Yesterday was our group’s first day at this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show, and a full, beautiful day it was.

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As I headed out from our hotel in the morning, I saw a man coming over the Thames footbridge with a hand-cart stacked with small beer kegs. And when I got over the bridge, to the Windsor side, I met this …

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Naturally, I had to stop to take a few photos and have a chat. The man you see here is the driver of this beer dray (the horses are Major and Tommy), and he said they do horse-drawn deliveries of this local microbrew, to Windsor and a few other nearby towns.

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Over at the horse show, it was a glorious, sunny day … if a bit warm.

But it was a good day to be a sleeping trade-fair dog.

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… Or to stick a cookie in your mouth, and run around with your bunny. This little guy was running laps around his family while they sat by one of the show arenas.

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… Or to watch the trade-vehicles competitors gather for their class. Would you just look at that glorious blue sky!!

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I’m still going through the bulk of the trade-vehicle photos, but here are a few of the awards presentation.

The Carriage Association had sponsored this class, so the CAA’s president, Dr. Thomas Burgess (in the tan suit), and his wife, Gloria, were on hand to present the awards.

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This pony and Pickering Float won the two-wheeled division …

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And this funeral vehicle, put to a pair of Friesians, won the four-wheeled division, plus the overall trade-vehicle championship …

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Later in the afternoon, before heading over to the Pimm’s party that our CAA group is invited to each year, I stopped off at the FEI-driving arena to watch a few of the four-in-hand competitors’ dressage tests.

I don’t often get the chance to actually watch dressage, as I’m usually photographing it. But I had filled up my camera’s memory card with photos from the trade-vehicles class, so I watched every bit of Chester Weber’s gorgeous test … except for the brief moment when I snapped this photo with, if you can believe it, my phone …

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After this brilliant test, which earned him a score of 31-point-something, Chester’s in the lead among the four-in-hands. We’ll see what happens in tomorrow’s marathon!

Yesterday morning, our CAA group traveled the short distance from Eton to nearby Dorney Court, where we enjoyed a lengthy, in-depth tour of this exquisite, and beautifully preserved, Tudor manor house.

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We started out in the largest hall in the house, where the lord of the manor would hold court in the house’s earlier days. Here, we were offered coffee, tea, and homemade cakes. And then we split into two groups for our tour(s). One of the tour guides is on the right in this photo …

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As you can see here, the house has, um, settled a bit during its 500-or-so years …

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This is the gorgeous Jacobean fireplace mantel in one of the oldest rooms in the house …

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In the center, our group’s tour guide, who is standing in front of a lovely old mirror …

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Every room in this wonderful old house looks like it’s straight out of a museum, or a movie set, or some super-high-end antiques store … but it’s also completely lived in. It’s an amazing combination of English history, architectural history, and family history.

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Another view of the large hall where our tour began …

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… just outside the frame of the photo above, is this delightful Victorian-era rocking horse, built for three young children …

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Finally, a view of one of the side gardens. All the irises were blooming while we were there …

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Our group of CAA travelers has been arriving in England over the past several days, and all nearly-thirty of us are here now.

Our first official group activity was Tuesday’s afternoon tea…
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… which was, of course, served with the obligatory (and dangerously delicious) scones, with clotted cream and strawberry jam…
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This morning, we all went to see the amazing house at Dorney Court. I’ll have more on that later, after I’ve had a chance to go through all the photos.
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I’m getting ready to fly “over the pond” to England this weekend, where I’ll join all the others who’ve signed up for our CAA trip to the Royal Windsor Horse Show. (Hint: stay tuned for reports and photos from our trip and from the show, starting early next week.)

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In the meantime, I came across this cool overhead-cam video of the combined-driving marathon course from last year’s Windsor event. After the video finishes, you can click through to watch any of four different “tailgate cams, which were shot at four separate marathon obstacles.

Enjoy … and stay tuned!

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