Twice a year the Empire Pool at Wembley, on the outskirts of London, takes on the appearance of tent town for two of the country's major international show jumping events.
GV Wembley arena with sign "Royal International Horse Show".
GV Range-rover towing horse box arriving
GV Mobile Homes (2 shots)
GV Stable area & CU Horses (2 shots)
LV & CU Girl cleaning horses hoofs (2 shots)
SV INT Blacksmith making shoes (4 shots)
SV Girl bandaging horse's legs
GV Horses being exercised
CU woman competitor mounting up
SV Irish rider Eddy Machin watches as horse is prepared
SV Horses being prepared (2 shots)
GV Participants entering arena
GV INT Maathuis of Holland jumping
TV PAN Rider over jumps
SV PAN Schochemohle of West Germany over jumps
Initials BJB/1905 BJB/1930
SPORT: SHOW JUMPING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Twice a year the Empire Pool at Wembley, on the outskirts of London, takes on the appearance of tent town for two of the country's major international show jumping events.
It is a side of show jumping that the public does not usually see, in a sport that has become tough and highly commercialised...and which places heavy demands on competitors who travel the international show jumping circuit.
Currently, scores of competitors with attendant grooms--to care for their horses--occupy the fringe of the arena area for the Royal International Horse Show. They bring with them an army of horse boxes, tents, and caravans.
Laid on by the organisers are blacksmiths, kitchens, cafeterias and stands selling almost every kind of equestrian equipment--from saddles to brushes.
For several months of the year, this is "home" for a close circle of top international show jumpers who, as soon as one show has ended, decamp for another site. Next week, it will be Arena North in the northern country of Lancashire, the following week Dublin, in the Irish Republic.
The top riders live in an atmosphere of fierce competition, each aiming to take the thousands of pounds offered in prizemoney at top competitions.
The tent town around the Empire Pool give something of an impression of travelling circus. In fact, show jumping now has such a huge following that the competitors are will aware that they--and not just their horses--are part of the entertainment.
Show jumping has tragedy too. On Wednesday (23 July) Queen Elizabeth was one of eight-thousand stunned spectators who saw a top show jumping horse shot dead after falling.
Beau Supreme, who was worth 80,000 pounds sterling (176,000 U.S. dollars) broke a leg and had to be killed by a veterinary surgeon. The competition eventually resumed with the Queen presenting the winner's prize to the West German rider, Alwin Schockemohle, on Santa Monica.