Super Head Girl extraordinaire Kerryn Edmans traversed the country on Thursday and Friday in her role as head trucker and really earnt her sleep on the way home from Bicton when Tim took over the wheel.  McClaren (Mac) was flying out of Stanstead on Thursday en route to the 5* Kentucky so a long trek north and its a pain that you have to wait on site until wheels up in case there is a last minute delay.  Kerryn arrived back at Mere Farm at 2 am and barely caught a couple of hours sleep before heading south down to Bicton with 10 horses and Jean and Tayla on hand to help.

The novices were first up for the day and Jonelle had her three whilst Tim just had his new toy to play with, Volani. (Arnie).  Arnie has had just a run at Larkhill with Tim and after a 31 test he was slightly unlucky to be faced with the toughest showjumping track by far seen this year!  Bicton hosts allot of big jumping shows and they had all the fancy wings and freshly painted rails out for the phase which favoured tight roll backs to spooky fences on a surface.  Arnie took a gulp and did his best to just roll a couple of poles but he was far from alone.  Cooley Seeing Magic ( Guthrie) would be one of Jonelle’s most consistent jumpers and did so well on the Sunshine Tour in 2021 he was left at home this year.  His mates, Fernhill Kankan ( Kankan) and Full Monty de Lacense (FM) showed the benefit of their recent foray to the Tour by both jumping really good clears whilst poor Guthrie jumped fence 1, had no’s 2 and 3 down before taking a big gulp and making a great job of the rest of the track! None of them particularly impressed the dressage judges but they were all exemplary cross country which was also a pretty grown up track for their first novice of 2022.  Arnie also enjoyed a spin up and down the valley and is beginning to cement his relationship with Tim with a neat clear round.

Tim moved swiftly onto the big boys and his 2021 Pau 5* winner Falco was having his first leg stretch of the year.  It was a tough scoring section with just theee horses in the 20’s and even Tokyo team gold medallist Toledo de Kerser failing to break into the over 70% club!  Falco scored a 31 and ate up the showjumping which now included a very unusual blue and yellow wall with only half a pillar on one side and was causing havoc on the scoreboard. He popped around the cross country for a super easy run and looked very happy with himself.

The Young Guns were up next and Viscount Viktor (Viktor) Chio 20 and Jarillo (Milo) faced a steep learning curve.  Not only was the showjumping quite the test but the rolling hills of Bicton provide plenty of opportunity to learn some nifty footwork.  Tim pulled off a very smart 24.3 on Viktor on the flat and all his work on Viktor’s showjumping, which has included some forays into British Showjumping territory, paid off as Viktor just tapped one rail out.  Chio is quite the lad in the dressage warm up but he does have a super attitude in the ring and he pulled off a 25.7 in his section before a great round over the poles left him in a good position too.  Milo struggles with being horse shy in a busy warm up, something he shares with Wesko, so Tim is adept at protecting him as much as he can but he is always relieved to get the arena to himself and have a bit of space.  A 29.3 showed his quality and he too jumped his socks off for a clear round.

Milo picked up 10 time as he learnt his trade cross country and came home clear.  Chio added just 2 seconds to his score to win his section and Tim was heading for win no.2 when he headed out cross country on Viktor around 6pm.  He said afterwards that he thinks of Viktor as the faster horse but in reality Viktor added 4 time so Tim missed the win by just 0.4 to finish in the runner up spot.   It was a super end to a great day for Tim’s horses though and he was pretty happy to be trucking home with such a wealth of talent on the truck.

Jonelle had half brother and sister ( and polar opposites) Faerie Magnifico (George) and Faerie Dianimo (Maggie May).  George just jumped around the massive advanced at Burnham Market and at nine years old is on the up and up.  Maggie May hadn’t had a run since she was taken out by a fence decoration just a few from home at Luhmuhlen 5 star last summer and at 17 is the Princess of Mere Farm.

Maggie May was, as is her custom at one days, joint last after dressage on a 42 ( which Jonelle described as ‘generous”) and smirked her way back to the truck to await the jumping phases. George is capable of being in the low twenties but he is going through a ‘teenage stage’ of a sense of humour which makes him seriously annoying in the ring! He did step up though in the showjumping to just drop a single rail and picked up just 4 time cross county around a decent track which he thought very easy after Burnham Market.

Maggie May gave her usual display of a superb showjumping round before proving she was none the worse for her ignominious face plant at Luhmuhlen and positively bounded around the track with consummate ease as one would expect.  As the girls packed up at the end of a very long day there was plenty to be happy about and the two trucks pulled out around 6.30pm whilst Jonelle headed off to a local hotel for the night.

Yup, she still had one more to ride!  Dromgurrihy Gold ( Dara) just needs another couple of 100’s before he is ready to go novice and with a flight to Kentucky booked on Sunday there was no option but for him to travel down to Bicton on Saturday to meet Jonelle.  He also had to be moved from the 100 to the BE90 Open to facilitate the early times Jonelle needed!  Bicton, as always, were incredibly obliging and they moved him on Thursday so Jonelle was able to complete all three phases by 10.30am.  It’s pretty rare to see a Price in a 90 class but Dara thought it marvellous and he duly obliged with a 28.5 dressage which he finished on and with Bicton stepping up in all the tracks it was just as educational as a 100 elsewhere. Jonelle finally got to exit Bicton and headed home for an afternoon of packing and some time with Otis and Abel and Tim before she leaves early doors on Sunday for the first 5 star of the year.  Jade Roberts is out in Louisville with Mac and they head out of quarantine and into the Kentucky Horse Park this afternoon with all reports saying that he has travelled really well.

Well, he has been to the USA before so he knows the ropes!  Here’s hoping for a super week ahead.