Tim dabbled in a Burghley Young Event Horse Class which is highly unusual for him to start off his weekend at Gatcombe and Susan Lamb’s Happy Boy certainly impressed the judges to finish runner up and seal a spot at Burghley for the final. Tim’s one and only appearance at the final was with the infamous Faerie Fifty Shades ( Ralph) who unceremoniously dropped him in the main arena so I have no doubt that someone else may be piloting Happy at the finals this year!
With just Kindred Spirit (Joey) in the intermediate Championship and Xavier Faer (Hugo) in the ERM it was slightly more relaxing for Tim than last weekends marathon of Burgham and Wilton. Joey posted a 34 when early to go in the dressage on Friday and Saturday saw Tim getting pretty much drowned in his showjumping warm up with Joey as yet again the heavens opened and rain pelted down. The warm up at Gatcombe is pretty tough anyway being quite restricted in size and on the side of a hill but with the going suddenly turning so wet and slippery it became even tougher! The arena itself is reknowned as being one of the most difficult on the circuit with its undulations and uneven ground coupled with the incredibly busy hospitality tents and a crowd that literally sits on the arena fencing. Joey was a bit backed off the fences and picked up 16 jumping faults, all behind and one of those “Gatcombe” moments when you cant really explain exactly why it happened!
As the sun came back out again Hugo mooched over to the warm up for his dressage looking fit and relaxed. The going at the top field remained incredibly good compared to the park bowl and both Tim and Hugo looked to be enjoying themselves as they entered the arena to the sound of “Don’t worry, be happy” followed by “Lola” which Tim chose as a tribute to his niece just born to brother Brad. They did a lovely smooth test for a mark of 43.3 which was impressive in the company of such good horses and a PB at three and four star for Hugo.
Thunderstorms then settled over the park for a good 45 minutes and threw more water onto the track. The start of the Intermediate Champs was delayed but the footing on the cross country was probably one of the best it has ever been! Tim and Joey jumped a classy clear round in what is actually an advanced track and understandably took their time doing so. Gatcombe is not really the easiest place for a “schooling” round but Tim pulled it off!
Sunday sees Hugo showjump and go cross country at what will be his Gatcombe debut so here’s hoping his run of good form continues… and the weather improves!