It’s that time of year again where we have the excitement of Horse Trials and Three Day Events, which produce a lot of popularity in the equestrian calendar. I believe that every horsey person has that one event every year they always attend that is special to them, for me, that is Chatsworth.
I remember the first time I attended the event, it was around 2011 and I went with my sister, aunt and uncle in their caravan. When we arrived we parked right next to the cross country course, which in my books is one of the best seats in the house! It was a beautiful sunny spring day, and I was so exited to be at my first horse trials! I remember being mesmerised by the whole event, the grounds, stalls, displays and being able to get so close to the riders I had admired for a long time, it was defiantly 10x better than seeing them on TV! When it came to lunch I remember that we sat on pull out chairs outside the caravan eating a delicious lunch we had prepared the night before, whilst watching the riders go over the jumps only a few feet in front. It defiantly sparked my love for Horse Trials, and for Chatsworth in particular.
So ever since then I have attempted to attend Chatsworth every year. But of course it was not always possible, especially when real life gets in the way. But altogether I have attended Chatsworth four times, and every year I fall in love with it a little bit more.
My two favourite things to do every year at Chatsworth are taking photos (obviously) and walking the cross country course! I must admit, I’m not big on eventing and have never done cross country myself, but the feeling you get watching the horse and rider combinations tearing through the course is something that I will never get tried of. The concentration on the riders faces, them encouraging the horse, the split second when they gallop past you and being able to feel the vibrations of every stride travel from under the ground, it’s something I wish more people could experience.
Over the years of attending Chatsworth there has also been a big development in my photography. The first time I went was in 2011. I didn’t have a DSLR yet, instead I had a small, inexpensive digital camera which I had received as a gift, probably for christmas. And even though it was okay for still life photos, I didn’t have very much luck when trying to photograph the horses going over the jumps. I remember trying to hard to get at least one decent photo, but unfortunately I didn’t get very far.
2012 I had a slightly better compact digital camera with me, the quality was so much better than the other camera and the zoom was better, but I still wasn’t having much luck.
2016 was the third time attending Chatsworth after not being able to go for a couple of years, and this time I was fully prepared! I had a DSLR (actually my second one as I upgraded at the start of the year) and a telephoto lens so I could get some decent photos, even from a distance. I was so happy to finally have proper camera equipment to take to events and use, it kinda made my feel like a pro 😉
This year I upgraded my telephoto lens which I had only used once on a shoot a couple of weeks before, so I was super exited to take it out and test it at an event! And it did not let me down! I feel like I have defiantly improved since last year at Chatsworth and I am so exited to do it all over again next year!
Chatsworth will always have a special place in my heart, and it is an event which I will return to time and time again for years to come.