As if to make up for our appalling spring today dawned yet another stunning blue sky day. This might be the norm in California but its pretty rare in the UK to have an entire event blessed with sunshine but hey, climate change and all, we will take it!
Phases ran more to timetable today and after bouncing up the jog strip Fernhill Kankan was passed fit to jump. I don’t think there is anything more poignant than remembering the 5 star horses jog at this level, it was a case of hey, have a bit of a walk out, lets just check, oh great! As the courses get tougher, the miles get greater and the tests get tougher the jog becomes more of a “phase” to be gotten through.
But here and now Kankan sailed though and she sat out L E B Lias Jewel’s cross country hanging out in her stable. To be fair it is one of the better appointed stables at Bicton ( more Selling Sunset than those in the bottom field for sure) and definitely a Room with a View.
Jewel meanwhile was chewing the fat in the XC warm up and whilst was happy with the ground was unsure of what lay ahead. Within the first 5 fences she had it nailed, ears pricked, game on, tackled the questions like a pro and was giving Jonelle a peach of a ride over some tough combinations.
Late on, a white vertical rail to a drop off a bank and Jonelle assumed maybe a tiny jog step as she balanced herself. Turns out Jewel needs a bit more leg than that and her hesitation followed by a couple of sideways steps amounted to a technical 20. She then dropped off and came home the ultimate professional earning herself a good pat on the back from Jonelle and the comment “she was brilliant, very game on” which is a true accolade for sure. We are 99% sure she is off to Luhmuhlen 5 star, we are just struggling to understand the FEI uber complex MERS but she is entered and accepted so by fair means or foul she is going!
Meanwhile Kankan was hanging out with her other Kiwi mates and then sauntered down to the 3*L show jumping for the final 4. An immaculate round was jumped, sadly the three above her also jumped immaculate rounds so 4th place it was and yet another top 5 finish for the pretty little black mare who will now get her holiday in the sun. Blenheim 8/9 year olds beckons and as a bright young thing on the up Jonelle can be proud of the journey so far.
Shout out to Megan Hodder this week who has been her usual happy smiley persona, has turned out both Jewel and Kankan beautifully, has dealt with “triumph and disaster ” to quote the great Kipling in equal measure and has massively helped make the Kiwi camp a fun one. Rumour has it some dudey legend called Kerryn Edmans may have trained her.