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England 2012 

Windsor Report 2012

At the beginning of 2012 Andrew put me forward for The England Mounted Games Team Trial held at Onley Grounds near Rugby. I was very lucky to be supported on the day by so many Atherstone members. After 3 hours riding in horrible weather I was amazed to be the first rider named for the Team! Picked alongside me were Dan Drummond (Cheshire Hunt North), Peter Downs (Rockwood Harriers), Astrid Straume-Brown ( Warwickshire Hunt) Harry Gates (Oakley Hunt West) and Reserve Jessica Beachill (Badsworth Hunt)
 
Our week began on the Monday with a training session at Moreton Morrell before moving onto Astrid’s house, unfortunately Astrid’s pony was ill and so Reserve Jessica brought her pony. On Monday night we all received our England Kit which was very smart. After another Training session on Tuesday Morning we left for Windsor.

As soon as we arrived I met up with the Mounted Games Chairman Ros Slinger and went to meet a real Cowboy and Indian who were interested in using Merrie in the Jubilee Pageant taking place every night. They immediately put a western saddle on him and a huge Indian jumped on and disappeared! We found them in the Castle Arena taking part in a full rehearsal! We sat in the Royal Box to watch. Merrie was amazing but when he saw the four horse Stagecoach he had had enough and left the Arena very quickly with the Cowboy! So it was decided he wouldn’t be used in the Pageant after all!

On Wednesday all the Teams went to the Pony Club Tent where  we received our DAKS jumpers for competing in. This was shortly followed by the entertainment. We had to present a short Entertainment to the other teams and many more people and unfortunately we were elected to go first which in the end was great fun, but I was pleased when we could just watch the other teams after our turn!

Thursday saw the Competition begin and the whole thing was very exciting I was worried Merrie wouldn’t like the Castle Arena after his scare with the Stage Coach but he was fine and I think he really liked the atmosphere. Our team managed to come 3rd in 3 of the sessions, 2nd in two and we won one. We went into Sunday’s Final in third place. The crowd for the Final was the biggest yet and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were in the audience. Merrie was amazing the whole time and never put a foot wrong. My favourite race was the Jubilee Flag, and the Milk Race was very funny when Northern Ireland’s Cow ran into the Sentry Box! We ended the Competition in third place and received our medals from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh which was lovely. Our Team also won the week long Tack and Turnout Competition.



As well as the riding side all the teams were asked to be part of the Diamond Jubilee Pageant which we went to every night of our stay and our job was to hold flags of some of the Countries the Queen had visited, on the stairs leading up to the main stage. It was great to be a part of something so spectacular and I think you can safely say I will never get another opportunity like it again. We also got the chance to meet lots of people that had come from all over the world to be part of the pageant whilst waiting back stage and this too was really special. We spent a lot of time in the evenings getting to know people from the other teams The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland learning new expressions like ‘that’s grand’  the Irish would say that a lot !!   
 

Overall my week at Windsor was an amazing and I will never forget it. I would like to thank everyone that helped and supported me along the way both before the Trail and after, especially Andrew,  Sue & Marcus.  To Lisa, Harriet & Lottie Watson for helping me train for the Trial. Emma Weir & Steph for their great advice for the Trail. Thanks to Sheila Clingo for providing and delivering her Caravan for our week at Windsor. Thanks to all those that supported our fundraising efforts prior to Windsor. Finally my biggest thanks go to Merrie for being such an amazing pony and taking it all in his stride.

Anna Meadows & Merrie ‘The Flying Fell of Atherstone’