Horses groomed, boots polished, top hats on - it can only mean one thing - the Coaches are back in town!
This week's guest blogger is none other than our very own Carl Isaac who heads up the Coaching section of the Show. There's a lot to prepare when taking part in a road trip or event, so Carl gives us a little insight into the charismatic world of Coaching.
The Easter weekend marked the start of the coaching season for many of the teams that will be exhibiting at the Show next month. Horses that have been out in the fields over the winter have been brought back into the stables and bathed ready for a summer of events. New horses and drivers are introduced into the teams and the older ones are given a refresher of how they behave in the team after their winter break.
Dust sheets are removed from the coaches and everyone gets busy polishing. Whatever time of year and whatever the weather a coach and its horses have to look their best! That also goes for the people who ride on the coach. Jackets and hats are taken out from the back of the wardrobe and boots are shined. For the people who sit on top of the coach, the etiquette is a hat and a warm coat. The dress code for the coach is unlike Ascot or Henley, it all stems from the coaching revival of the late 1800’s and we still abide by these traditions.
There are two organisations, the Road Club and the Coaching Club, but coaching is mostly about being sociable so often groups of friends meet up.
Over Easter across the UK and Europe (the Show welcomes teams from across the world) teams were out on the roads for the first get together of the year. It’s normally a gentle start of less than 10 miles each day to get the horses back to peak performance. Our meets are usually at various locations, sometimes on public roads and other times we are guests on private estates. Recently we were at Windsor Great Park, the Badminton Estate and locally we’ve been guests of Lord IIiffe on the Yattendon Estate. We normally drive for 4 miles, then we stop for refreshments, then travel another 4 miles before stopping again for lunch or dinner.
So please wave if you see a team in your area, they will wave back!
The coaching teams attend a number of County Shows like the Berkshire Show, but they are also rolled out for many events over the year including Ascot, charity fundraising events, days out with friends, TV and film work and many are hired out for weddings. But more often than not it is a social gathering where friends get together for a day out.
This year, the Berkshire Show is very lucky to be playing host to the largest coaching marathon in the Country. Many of these coaches have come from far and wide to be able to participate and many of them have already competed at other county shows and private events throughout Europe.
Head down to the main arena on Saturday to watch the Coaching Marathon Final Judging and Horn Blowing Competition. We are also very lucky to have the Ladies competition back again this year which you can catch on Sunday in the main arena along with the coaching parade.
These are all stunning displays of team work and amazing synchronisation so be sure not to miss them!