It is always what Jonelle refers to as a “working” day at Aston Le Walls with a truck full of horses over several days. A total of 17 head out over the next few days so the team at home will be plenty busy enough!
And far from the glamour of Badminton as spring seems to be stuck on pause at present and it was a cool and pretty wet day. Tim says he got wet, wet and then wetter and even endured some hail during Ascona M’s dressage which would not have put the lovey Ava in any sort of happy mood! Surprisingly she seemed to cope remarkably well posting a 25 but Tim says she then was a bit stroppy in the showjumping to catch a single pole. Nothing on the course at Aston is ever going to bother Ava and she skipped around although the weather conditions were not really much to her liking.
Wesko put his best foot forward to beat Ava on the flat with a 24.6 and then, most embarrassingly for him, tipped a rail for 4 faults. Tim said it was a “good, educational rail at the start of the season” but I am sure Mr Goody Two Shoes was mortified! Tim didn’t run him cross country as it was a pretty miserable day and he said Dash “didn’t need it” so he got to hang out in the dry truck instead.
Cloud Dancer ( Marley) has a bit of making up to do after his walk of shame at Withington but that was always going to be a bit hard when he was having to do his test in the “dreaded” far corner arena which has a hedge alongside it behind which horses on the cross country can be heard jumping into the water. A beautiful start followed by a spooky Arab bit in the middle when he put his tail up vertically and shot off followed by a fair amount of tension left him on a 33. He seized his opportunity to shine and humiliate Dash at the same time with a superb clear in the showjumping over a decent course and he set off cross country with all of his normal enthusiasm and gave Jonelle a fabulous ride.
Until the skinny out of the water where he ducked off. Ooops. Even Marley must have realised this was a step too far as for the first time ever he circled round and popped it neatly and we know normally that once Marley runs off its down tools time. His redemption was short lived and I think I am his only fan left!
Cooley Showtime ( Eddie) was also in the “dreaded” corner arena and as Jonelle said, you could not have picked two more naughty horses out of her whole string to put there! He objected to not being able to watch the action on the other side of the fence too as it sounded far more exciting than trotting round an arena for a 36. Of course he then had masses of fun with a super reliable double clear and Jonelle was full of praise for his jump phases.
Tim and Falco won the dressage in their star studded OI section with a 25 and impressed sodden bystanders at the showjumping with yet another impressive clear round. Falco isn’t really one for plodding on stoically in the rain as he is much more of a blingy beach type but he really was solid at Aston and posted just 8 time for 6th place.
Clara M was in the same section and Tim is getting to know her more with every outing. Just under 70% on the flat which was a good score amidst some 5* horses and with her favorite phases ahead of her they had fun despite the weather. Clara kept her immaculate jumping record with another clean score sheet showjumping and they become more in tune with each other with every run cross country for another educational clear round.
Grappa Nera ( Grape) is another little black horse who isn’t a fan of getting wet. However, Grape is a work in progress on the flat and Jonelle felt she stayed with her more in the test this time and she was not at all disappointed with her 35. Jumping for fun is Grape’s motto and she pinged around the showjumping before putting up her usual flawless performance around the cross country. She heads to Tatts full of confidence which is not something she will ever be short of methinks!
Kindred Spirit ( Joey) is a proper old fashioned NZ TB and rain and hail mean nothing to him. He did his best for a 32 in quite flashy company and yet again stayed onside with Jonelle to post an accurate and honest dressage to the best of his abilities. He is becoming solidly consistent in that phase and although he got a bit tight in the showjumping after an early rail he settled to come home leaving the rest of the course intact. Aston cross country is a walk in the park for a horse like Joey and he gave Jonelle another great ride which made up for the weather which was,t getting any better!
To quote Jonelle on the elements, ‘It was a tough day for a Princess like me!”.