Today was the day of the 2011 Withington Manor Horse Trials and as my sister, Katherine Begley, was competing and with me freshly filled with enthusiasm for equestrian eventing photography from Badminton last week, I couldn’t stop myself from stopping by for a morning of equestrian shooting in the sun on my way back to university, except when I say on my was back to university I actually mean a 45 minute drive in the opposite direction!

The weather was somewhat similar to this event last year with it being a beautiful sunny day, which while it is nice to be out in and provides better photos when the sun is in the right place, it does cause issues when you have no choice of where to stand, such as in the Dressage and means that you have to be especially careful which jumps you chose to photograph to ensure that the side of the horse and rider that is facing you is in the sun wherever possible.

As usual with an event the day started with the dressage which went without any incidents but was extremely tricky for photography due to having to stand in a position which involved shooting almost directly into the sun in order to get close to the arena, next up was the show jumping and it was a fairly large course but Katherine and Supplejack jumped a wonderful clear round which put her only one phase away from qualifying for Chatsworth International Horse Trials in a few weeks time providing she went clear cross country.

The final phase was the cross country and with mild concerns about the how hard the ground was due to the lack of rain but thanks to the work of the course builders the ground was as soft as could be expected considering it has now been months since proper rain bar the odd thunderstorm. Despite being there on my own thanks to the way the course wound around the fields I managed to photograph Katherine over 7 different cross-country fences which was great, especially as the official photographer didn’t show up! Again Katherine and Supplejack rode an excellent clear round only just outside of the time.

This means that she has continued her great run this season with her third double clear on Supplejack and also that she has now qualified for Chatsworth in a few weeks time which will be Supplejacks final event before he retires!