12:03PM, Monday 14 May 2012
FRUSTRATED horse lovers whose favourite events had been cancelled because of the weather 'saw the tide turn' at Royal Windsor Horse Show.
The five day show has been a fixture of the equestrian season since 1943. But at one point it looked as if this year's Diamond Jubilee year event might be a wash out too.
It had already happened to Badminton Horse Trials and other shows the previous week.
As the Windsor show began its five day run on Wednesday (May 9) it looked as if history was going to repeat itself. But by Friday the weather had cleared and the sun shone. The crowds soon poured in.
Jo Peck, who has been part of the team that keeps the show running smoothly for nine years, said: "We haven't done the final figures yet. But the footfall seems to have been about 20 per cent up on last year. About 80,000 people were involved either as visitors or competitors."
Members of the Royal Family were out in force. The Duke of Edinburgh judged the driving events on Saturday, while the Queen presented trophies to other major winners.
She had the pleasure of seeing her own highlander horse Balmoral Erica win the Mountain and Moreland class. The Earl and Countess of Wessex came with their children and the Duke of York and Duchess of Cornwall joined the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in their box for the evening pageant.
Top equestrians took part as usual, notably Tim Stockdale, 47, making a major comeback after six weeks of treatment for a broken neck following a recent fall.
He had made it known he wanted to win at Windsor and achieved his ambition coming first in the 'six bar' event. But shocked spectators saw him take a tumble during the show's top event the prestigious Alltech Grand Prix.
Spectator Hugh Davies said: "He lay there for a few seconds, then got up to everyone's relief. I said 'he must be mad or very brave' and the women behind me said she thought it was a little of both."
Tim rallied and still came a close second on his gelding Fresh Direct Kalico Bay, joking: "I'm glad to have got my first fall since my accident over with."
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