Monday 26 August 2013

Thunderbird Show Park

I think I'll start my horsey vacation events recap with the most recent first.

Yesterday, on my way back to Vancouver, I talked the ever agreeable G into spending a day at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC. I was tempted by the $100k Grand Prix taking place in the afternoon, he was tempted by my promise of German beer and, of course, concession stand hot dogs. He's a pretty easy sell ;)

I've been to Thunderbird once before for a regional Quarter Horse show a friend was taking part in. That was a number of years ago now. I was aware that the parks main purpose in life is mainly to hold hunter/jumper shows throughout the summer months, but the timing just never worked out for me to visit, so I was left with a rather vague imnpression of a mid winter visit to a couple of their indoor stabling areas and a rather crowded trade show area. Living in Alberta of course all you hear about is Spruce Meadows. Even in BC, Spruce is the venue my friends all talk about visiting. Long story short, Thunderbird had (unfairly) fallen off my radar.

We followed Google maps which apparently led us to the 'back door' of the park - the camping and horse trailer parking area for competitors. FYI, it's on the exact opposite end of the park as the main entrance and the main arenas :) No problem for me, I got an up close look at a lot of very beautiful horses (and tons of very expensive gear!). As a result of our little adventure, I can also say with authority that the grounds and facilities are stunning - absolutely gorgeous and incredibly well maintained.

We showed up in time to watch a 10k jumper class in one of the main rings. It was a super fun course with lots of twisty turns and roll backs that caught out a few competitors. I'm not sure what the footing was, but it was some sort of sand/fiber mix that I immediately wanted for my own - it looked like a prettier, fluffier version of the Nike footing we have at our club grounds at home (So technical, I know ;)

Here's a couple of pics from that class:
So pretty!

Quick little grey made it to the jump off

Bad pic of the triple combination that a few people had trouble with
After feeding G, we wandered over to the Grand Prix ring. Again, the grass and landscaping was immaculate and the jumps were beautiful. We ended up being too late for bleacher seats so we sat on the grass ringside in the sun. I got a super awesome farmer tan complete with a ring around my neck from the necklace I was wearing. I also got pretty envious of the caliber of riding - G was like "you should practice and do this sometime." What a sweetie he is. I had to gently explain to him that I am not as good of a rider as that, or even as good as the small children we saw on their hunter ponies :) He thought I was being falsely modest, and was pretty sure Ginger was up for the course too - gotta love him.

Some not so great pics from the grand prix:

People who actually pay for seats get to sit in the nice pavillion in the background and have drinks and appies served

Our free seats on the back side of the ring. Complimentary hot dogs and beer available if you're nice to your girlfriend :)

On our way out, I took a shot of one of the practice rings for the hunters. Gorgeous ring and jumps!

In my next life, I would like to have enough money to tour around to shows like this with my horse in tow.
If you're curious there is much more info (and nicer pictures!) here:

I see on the schedule that they hold dressage shows in the spring and fall. Maybe Ginger and I do have a chance of living this particular dream :)

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