Yay! Thanksgiving Weekend!

It has been the quintessential autumn weekend: clear, cool, crisp and colourful!

I headed up to Lower Jemseg yesterday to watch and photograph some of the #FoshayInternational October Horse Trials. The weather was perfect for such an event.

As I left Sussex I happened to look up and what did I see? A hot air balloon floating peacefully over hay and cornfields. There was no wind early in the morning making it perfect (if a tad chilly aloft, I’m sure) for flying.

After stopping on the roadside to catch a few images, I drove on smiling, toward my destination.

All along my route, I marvelled at the amazing autumn colour display the trees were providing. Brilliant oranges, reds and golds glow in the brilliant sunlight.

The show grounds are adjacent to the St. John River at Lower Jemseg, right beside the Gagetown Ferry landing. It’s a gorgeous venue, especially at this time of year.

Throughout the day, the ferry continued its crossing, back and forth across the river, transporting travellers out to enjoy the scenery and fall colours!

The event was already underway when I arrived, with the dressage phase just wrapping up.

While that was going on I took the opportunity to explore the setup for the Cross Country phase. The track wound through what had been a hayfield and provided challenges for both horse and rider. Many of the jumps appeared intimidating (a rider psych-out) but were, in reality, very manageable. Although there were no jumps inside the water feature, riders were still going to have to jump in, ride through, and jump out of the pond.

NOTE: To see any of the images in greater detail, just click on the individual shots to enlarge them.

Back in the main arena, the dressage phase was just ending with a rider (#PamSugden) on her big Clydesdale cross mare, April. The pair just proves that any horse can compete in eventing/horse trials, depending on the level.

The second phase of the Horse Trials was Show Jumping. This included the traditional jumps one would see at most venues. They started with the highest level of competition and worked their way down to the lowest (crossed rails) to finish off the phase.

Regardless of the level, the smiles of relief and accomplishment at the end of each round were the same – a pat on the horse’s shoulder to say “we did it!”.

Then, it was on to the Cross Country phase of the competition. There were six levels of jumps, the highest jumps and longest route belonging to the “Open Training ” division and the shortest track and lower jumps set up for the Introduction to Eventing level. The courses were designed to challenge both horses and riders while at the same time providing a safe and enjoyable experience for them and the spectators lining the route.

The clouds rolled in. The temperature dropped. And, the wind came up. Despite the ‘freshening’ air, everyone perked up as the horses came by, one at a time, to challenge themselves in the open field.

It was a wonderful way to spend the day and be thankful that I live in SUCH a beautiful part of Canada. I am truly thankful!

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