After the race to get home and the couple of hours sleep before heading off to Aston it was good to get to the event and see some nice green grass to run on! After the sunshine of Aachen it was a little more inclement at Aston but Jonelle kicked off her day with a lovely dressage on Classic Moet (Molly) for a 27 which was slightly unexpected since the last time Molly did a test was back at Baltic Burnham Market! Molly was so clearly uber happy at being back out in public she was not going to do anything that threatened a return to being domiciled at Mere Farm! She has watched the trucks leave allot…. despite the very early start she had zoomed up the ramp with great anticipation.
Just the first fence fell in the showjumping as Molly caught the back rail. It was a decent track for sure but Molly sailed through all the combinations with gusto and really enjoyed her round. Jonelle then reported that Molly was “lovely” cross country which was also a surprise as Molly is usually a bit slack round an intermediate course so she really is truly on her best behaviour.
With Jonelle’s day done and dusted she had time to watch Tim who had Happy Boy who has a few intermediates under his belt now and Emotion (Emma) who was a first timer. He also had the 5 star experienced Xavier Faer (Hugo) which was his easy run of the day.
Well, that was the plan! Happy was quite bright for a 36 dressage but he followed that up with a very smart double clear and a very grown up attitude for someone who can always play the clown if he feels like it. Emma is at the other end of the spectrum.. whereas Happy is a cheeky brat who is full of confidence Emma is more like a nun released from her vows and spat out into society to sink or swim. She is super talented but also super scared of pretty much everything!
With Tim carefully holding her hand Emma bravely negotiated her first run at this level with a 30 dressage, a single pole and a clear round cross country with just 7 time faults led her to finish inside the top 10 which is really cool!
Hugo is one of the most amazing cross country horses and Tim always says that he is one of the best he has ever sat on. Hugo is not blessed with an astrophysicist type brain but he is so reliable these days and at squad training at the beginning of the week he was really phenomenal and showed a huge improvement in his technique as well as his usual display of scope. A 29 dressage was pretty cool and Tim headed into the showjumping with a smile on his face and exited with a frown as Hugo had 8 faults! Hugo has not had 2 rails down at a one day since Withington in 2015! Clearly Hugo was pretty miffed at not seeing Tim since Tuesday, being left behind while Maggie May and Dash went to The Greatest Show on Earth in Aachen and having to get up early for Aston.
Aiming for redemption and a cruiser round after his young horses Tim then found Hugo backing off at the trakhenner. Now, some horses like to spook at ditches but this horse has jumped Cottesmore Leap and the Vicarage Vee amongst some truly massive ditches in his time and there is no way a trakhenner on an intermediate course should require anything more than a mere glance. With Burghley looming on the horizon Tim gave Hugo a reminder that he needed to man up and then Hugo, being in a sulk anyway, simply bolted into the second water which consisted of two logs 2 strides apart. Hugo went so fast in that he ended up with one leg over the second log and Tim quite sensibly pulled him back off it to incur a 20 which was preferable to a swim. Hugo was then so cross that he basically bolted most of the way home and gave Tim a horrible ride!
Horse and plans.. always the great levellers. Not for a minute did we think that Hugo would be the drop score of the day but there you go. Clearly its better that he has an off day now than at Burghley but he is a bit of an arse to make such an epic stuff up at Aston of all places!
And then they finally all went home and slept!