Hackthorn Hall and the Burton Hunter trial

What to do on my birthday? Well they are promising rain…lots of it so a ride on the motorbike is perhaps not a good idea. my friend Kath was going to Hackthorn Hall with Rio for his first hunter trial. It was my first outing at such an event too. We climbed inside THUG and drove round for Julie’s Pal Roche, we dragged her away from her beloved Dyson to blast down the M180 to Jc4 then onto the arrow straight A15 all the way to the kink then turn left down a country lane, left again and entered via a tiny dirt lane into the field of cars.

                 Meeet the THUG …(Nissan Juke).. Avimore, Scotland

Not at all suitable for bikes it was very lumpy wet with grassy tussock up to my knees. the only large flat piece of tarmac nearby was just t’other side of the A15, unfortunately that’s RAF Scampton and is still in use!

The Burton Hunter Trial and Family Dog and Country show here at Hackthorn Hall was by kind permission of the owners, Mr and Mrs W. Cracroft-Eley, a huge thank you to you both.

I made my way to the horse trial course area leaving Julie and Roche to their own devices, I would be too engrossed with the new camera to be much company today!

I walked through the horse-box and trailer park, Everyone was so busy getting pony’s and horses tacked up, strapping shin pads on ..erm sorry I mean brushing boots and giving one last brush, riders disappeared into backs of 4×4’s or horse boxes appearing again wearing jod’s boots and body armour, and sturdy lid…erm I mean helmet was decked out in a nice bright colour, I don’t know why yet but Kath had a pink on and believe me Kath is deffo NOT a pink person! I’m new to this so forgive me please!

  We didn’t get to look around the house, just the grounds.

I stood at the fence line and plotted some camera angles, I saw quite a lot of people amongst the jumps, others seemed to be just following the course and this was as horses were going round, surely they can’t ALL be marshalls? Slowly it dawned on me that one could actually get in amongst the action. Just keep an eye out for the osses as they gallop round and don’t get in their way. I haven’t been trampled on yet and don’t intend to start today.

Remember to left double-click in the mouse to make the photos LARGER.

I walked the course making sure I kept an ear out for thundering hooves. The X- country course was varied, flat open spaces a couple of hills and a section through the trees.

The house looked great with its sloping lawns, lake and huge willow tree at the bottom. I’m not sure the riders gave it so much as a glance as they worked hard with their horses to thread their way around the course. Different fences were for different class of riders, some had numbers and little red or white markers. It was making sence now!

                       Kath pushes RIO on. Hackthorne Hall is in the background

Kath and Rio set off at 13.30 she was easy to see in her girlie pink attire, even the commentator commentated on her pink arms. He did really well and didn’t clatter anything…..until the water bit near the end, RIO just said “Bollix to that”! Kath tried and tried but he wasn’t having any of it! To be fair, a lot of riders had problems here today….. There was me thinking it was just black bin bags, push chairs, and gits in cars! 

It wasn’t like the John Wayne movies where they all spashed through the Rio Grande at full gallop shouting and whooping, firing their guns chasing after those pesky Red Indians who ALSO splashed through the rivers at full gallop, I never saw any of their horses saying “Bollix to that” 

In spite of the killer water RIO did OK and Kath was happy to be sitting sunny side up. Its a long way down and it hurts when you land.

Whilst all this “do and daring” was going off around me the dogs were having a good time in the far arena judging by the loud whooping and cheering. I wasn’t too fussed at going over, let me explain, as a teenager I’d had a few “run ins” with dogs, curiously mainly from the short-legged variaty!  I also ran the gauntlet of Silkstone Terrace, Altofts (once the longest unbroken terraced row in Europe) I was a butcher boy and delivering meat here to folk on Saturday mornings. I peddled furiously down the back alleys trying to aviod the savage Jack Russell dogs.  Then when I discovered my passion for motorbikes and touring they continued their vendetta against me and chased all over Europe by the little devils. The Appy Wanderers Motorbike Touring Group can confirm after they stop laughing! Last year I got shouted at by a French dog. Of the dozens of folk sat at the tables eating lunch, I visited the loo whennit reared up and  chose to have a go!  The owners was ever so apologetic I said its OK I’m used to it, this was much to the amusement of Julie and other biker friend at our table! Yes me and little dogs have been at war on and off for years and I’m still none too keen on those little Jacks!

Kaths hubbi Mike has two nice tempered dogs one of them is the same as the killer Lab that had me by the leg once. Thats Mike above with Zeus and Lizzi (Lab) 

I didn’t think I would see anyone that I knew here today so meeting my doctor was a nice surprise, say “Hi” to Dr Farmer everyone. She is mad keen on horses and has pictures of them up in her office

Another friend I knew was here today, this is Merv, he works at “The Zoo” and is mad keen on horses. We worked at the same place back in 2000. I have managed to beat him to the finishing post, Merv is still at the grind stone at work though just on a part-time basis now.

A picture of Julie taken from the horse-box, so this is how RIO sees us! Today was a good day out, I really enjoyed myself. I dare say I shall come again.

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