Guest Post: Gee Gee & Me
Hello from across the pond...my name is Jessica and I am the writer of Gee Gee and Me, a British equestrian obsessed blog. Founded in 2013 my mission was the share the very best equestrian products and services from around the world, with a little help from my gorgeous Connemara pony Oscar, together we Google, trial and test so you don’t have to!
Gee Gee and Me has been recognised worldwide as a trusted equine review service and I am proud the equestrians of the USA are my largest audience outside of the UK.
In 2016 I launched a Facebook page, a fun addition to the blog that shares a Dear Diary element of our life, showcasing many amazing British equestrian events I am fortunate enough to attend and I would love to share my top five with you...
As this article goes to press the USA will be gripped by the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, just as the UK will be to our first Four Star FEI Event of the season, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials - both kicking off on the 3rd May.
Badminton Horse Trials is one of the UK’s two Four Star FEI Events, Badminton always falls early (April/May) and Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials always late (August/September). Both are magical events held in the parklands of privately owned stately homes, Badminton House is the seat of the Duke of Beaufort and situated in South Gloucestershire. Attracting crowds of over 200,000, with a challenging course, top class international horses and riders, not to mention the enticing shopping village, there really is no other place like it.
2. The Royal Windsor Horse Show (May/June) is a prestigious event, held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle, also known as the Queen’s back garden! Featuring competitive classes of dressage, showjumping, driving, showing and endurance there really is something for everyone. The highlight for me is the Queen’s arrival by horse and carriage as she is always in attendance to watch her very own horses and ponies perform in competition. Cucumber sandwich anyone...?
3. The Grand National hosted by Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool (April). Having just come back from an exhilarating two days here as a first timer, it should be an event on everyone’s bucket list. First ran in 1839 the Grand National is a challenging four mile steeplechase race, a test of athleticism, endurance and mental strength of both horse and jockey to safely navigate thirty fences to be in with a chance of winning the one million pound prize fund. The racecourse is exemplary; the care of the equine heroes at the heart of the operation and the roar of the crowd will take your breath away.
4. The LeMieux National Dressage Championships (September) is like no other event for me, a keen dressage rider I go alone and prior to the event have studiously planned my day. I take a packed lunch, a notepad and pen then sit, watch and learn. I watch everything, especially the warm up arena, I like to know who is warming up whose horses, lots of swopping and changing happens because some competitors are in two classes close together. I watch how professional riders handle challenging situations, who I aspire to ride like and why and I never forget how fortunate I am to be sat there – with my flask of tea and sandwich – watching Charlotte Dujardin ride her next potential Olympic star. The shopping is high end and full of dressage glitz and glamour – I confess I always leave with an expensive purchase, when in Rome...
5. The Hickstead Derby (June), a course of 21 show jumps, rustics fences, water, ditches, oh and the 10ft 6inch bank, it is a true test of a horse and riders partnership, courage and determination because it isn’t just about going clear there is the small matter of speed. It is absolutely thrilling to watch and a fabulous event where I can mostly be found sitting in the sunshine, drinking champagne because show jumpers really know how to do things properly.
I struggled to name just five, I could go on to five hundred including the lovely little country shows in secret corners of the UK that offer the best ice creams and fierce local competition, our pony club games are far from light-hearted, or the Valley of the Racehorse Open Day where you might see a spot of camel racing...I feel humbled by all these events that make being an equestrian in Great Britain a truly amazing place to be.
Jessica and Oscar
Gee Gee and Me Blog.