Aachen Saturday, Cross Country

Aachen Saturday, Cross Country

Saturday dawned with clear skies, sunshine, a cool breeze and no humidity.  Pretty perfect for cross country day and the crowds were piling into the venue with the trade stands packed to bursting and a steady influx of people out onto the cross country course which is across the road from the main stadium.

The warm up is sectioned off from the crowds with plenty of room for some practice fences..a large table, a skinny, an angled combination but plenty of people huddled alongside the ropes to watch.  Aachen is very much about the dressage and jumping so the eventing is a bit of a unique thing in the middle of the city. It is all managed with typical German efficiency and the only downside this year was that the screens showed intermittent coverage and the only reliable live footage was if you could access a phone that had a subscription to ClipMyHorse!

The individuals ran first and quickly ran into a bit of trouble and the time proved nigh on impossible from the get go.  You can hear the roars from the main arena from the start which is where the riders finish with a couple of fences plus a decent final water and the crowd were exceptionally enthusiastic this year..maybe, like us, they are delighted to be a normal crowd again.

Jonelle was our pathfinder and Killbunny Andy had a bit to prove after his sub standard dressage and two rails.  Jonelle has a heap more experience than him and she used it to to full effect and guided him around his biggest test to date with her superb combination of skill and bravery.  She took one long route when she felt the direct route through the water was going to be be a bit of a mission having landed quite steep over the in and Andy redeemed himself with a gutsy display of jumping and galloping.  They came over the line with a clear for the team and some 16 time which eventually moved them up form 38th to 23rd.

Jesse Campbell and Gambesie brought home another clear with 9 time and Clarke Johnstone and Leopard’s Action bolted around the track for just 3.6. which elevated them from 27th to 11th and proved that having Clarke on this side of the equator is a massive bonus!

Jock Paget was doing complicated sums with the aid of his laptop and us scanning rechenstelle.de for live scoring and when Tim came into the warm up with Falco there was a sniff of a win in the air for the team, and possibly for him as well as an individual.  They warmed up after a short hold on course and set off from the start box where we could only agonisingly watch the little green markers on rechenstelle.de with the occasional glimpse of them live in the backdrop of the course behind us.

And then the little green markers stopped and turned red and the prize giving at Aachen disappeared from our minds as we then watched on ClipMyHorse on Jonelle’s phone as Tim and Falco had ended the 2022 Aachen somewhat ignominiously by being straddled on the keyhole fence.  Sometimes you couldn’t make this column up and after all the struggles to get to the advanced, 4 star and 5 star wins last year you would think Falco was done with dancing with the devil but apparently not.  Falco made a simple error when Tim felt he looked at the bank as opposed to the keyhole on top of it, skipped up the bank, tried to put in a couple of trot steps to the keyhole, discovered there was no room and bravely launched at in in front but then found his back legs suspended with no power to drive him over.  Tim was off in a second and pulled a somewhat bemused Falco off the fence backwards and luckily they both walked away unscathed.

So there we go…so near and yet so far.  It was another rollercoaster Aachen and each and every horse took away a chunk of education and experience and we never forget how lucky we are to be there.  It was a full on team this time and it was a great team workout before the World Champs in September. As Jonelle commented, we keep coming so close it is going to be so very sweet when we finally get on that podium as a team again.

And, of course, it is not lost on any of us that Ros Canter’s beloved All Star B (Algie) will not be coming home and our heartfelt condolences go to her and the rest of the British team.  It must have seemed a slightly hollow victory.  The twisty road to Pratoni del Vivaro continues and as the sun sets on CHIO Aachen for another year we look onwards and wonder what the rest of the season has in store for us.

NZL-Tim Price rides Falco during the Cross Country for the SAP Cup – CCIO4*-S Eventing. 2022 CHIO Aachen – Weltfest des Pferdesports. Saturday 2 July 2022. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography