This weekend was Royal Windsor Horse Show and the Diamond Jubilee Pageant - what a show! The Pageant was fantastic and so interesting to watch. Celebrating Her Majesty the Queen's 60-year reign, it took spectators on a trip round the world, capturing different equestrian cultures and showing the many different ways in which the horse is used throughout the world. My favourites were the Russian Cossacks - they were breathtaking. They gallop - and I mean flat out! - along the arena while doing acrobatics on the side of the horse, and they could also slide down under the horse and back up on the other side while still going at top speed. It really is something you have to see. So much physical strength is involved and the trust that they have with their horse is remarkable. I did watch it and think to myself, well that was unbelievable... but Cossacks are crazy!
I also got to meet a real-life cowboy! He was so lovely and charming. In the arena he was reining and lassoing cattle. He told me that this what he does everyday in the Californian mountains on his ranch. There were also orphans from Kenya who had lost their parents in tribal conflicts or diseases, and the children sang so wonderfully that it brought tears to my eyes. It really was quite a remarkable and I was so touched by the whole experience.
I used the show as an opportunity to step Diaghilev (Eric) up a level. He jumped his first 1.60m Grand Prix, and I was delighted with how he went. We did a fantastic clear in the first round and then in the jump-off we had a very light touch on one of the poles and ended on four faults for ninth position. Before the competition started I was thinking "I just want him to go well today", but after we came so close my competitive edge kicked in and I was more like: "Oh why did that fence have to fall!"
Regardless of the result, Diaghilev really proved he has the talent and the ability to become a top horse, hopefully world class, and the great thing is that this time, this horse is staying with me.