Sunday, 5 July 2015

Gauchoux Open day 3

We were up first thing on Sunday, despite the late night involving beer and cognac, and it promised to be a hot one. The last day of competition was the Hunt Track, followed by the FFE Club competition that Ali was entered for.

The Hunt Track is basically a cross country course but with targets instead of jumps. A lot of these were 3D targets in the shape of the various creatures they like to pursue in France (although they usually go for it with big guns). Have to say, looked like a lot of fun and I really want a go at it one day!

We picked a nice spot near the start under some shady trees and waited for the action to start. Was actually quite difficult to photograph due to the white tape marking the track everywhere and having to be careful where I stood since the targets were on both sides and I didn't fancy getting hit by a stray arrow!

Ali ended up appointing herself head groom for the German team and spent most of her time holding on to various horses and passing up bows and quivers, and at one point being in charge of the wolf dog who tried to follow his owner onto the track!
A TV crew showed up in the afternoon and once they'd been told to move since they went to stand in one of the danger zones, they shot a load of footage of the competition and did some interviews, one of which was with Johan, so Kinna got on the telly (sort of)
Only one casualty, one of the Hungarians came off when his horse took exception to a plastic wild boar and he broke his wrist. For once, the pompiers showed up within minutes and took him off to hospital.

It was a great competition to watch, for the same reason we always go to Badminton on cross country day. There was even a Qabaq shot, where the target is above your head:
Quite a lot for the riders to think about, there was an optimum time and you lose points if you are too slow but also if you go too fast. A lot of them borrowed eventing watches and spent a lot of time checking them.

After everyone had been round, there was of course the prize-giving....
Then it was time for the Club competition, a bit of an anti-climax after the international one, but Ali and Kinna were up for it. She didn't do very well, largely because she was more focussed on getting Kinna to listen to her and stop at the end when she should, but then Ali really isn't very competitive at all.
She is keen to improve her shooting though, and Adam from the British team is always keen to help, so after the comp it was back to the training.....
We ended up with Kinna in hand as John was doing the club élite comp with the other horse and we didn't think it'd be a good idea to leave her on her own, so naturally she got drafted into service when Ali was practising her back shot
So another long but fun day, rounded off with a meal for all the competitors who hadn't had to rush off home, and a meeting of the new French branch of the IHAA

Great fun weekend, think I need to go and photograph some more competitions abroad, there's talk of a stage in Germany next summer :-)

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