And finally winter is over and the sun has come out. Jonelle headed off to Borde Hill on Sunday with three brand spanking new rides with slightly different backgrounds.
Full Monty de Lascense (FM) was first up and he really is as green as the grass is suddenly turning! It was his first start eventing and a 33 and a single pole is much to his credit. There was a slight miscommunication as Jonelle thought he had done a bit of cross country whereas it turned out that his sole introduction to that element of the sport was when Jonelle did a bit with him mid week! To FM’s credit he got half way around quite a grown up track before they came upon a step down followed by three strides up to a skinny brush which FM neatly sidestepped as he had no idea that he was supposed to jump it. But a good effort nonetheless less!
Next up was Gurtera Jimmy Clover who you may have guessed is from the Emerald Isle and is a bit bigger than Jonelle’s usual type of horse. Jimmy has done a fair few novices and CI2*’s in Ireland but it was a bit mean of British eventing to award him 45 points which is more than halfway through intermediate and he hasn’t had an intermediate start! Jonelle describes the dressage as “a work in progress” but she was very happy with an assured double clear from him.
The most experienced is Coup de Coeur Dudevin (Joker) who was produced by Chris Burton and last ran at Le Lion d’Angers in 2019. He was running in the ON and as to be expected was pretty bright eyed and bushy tailed! A very nice start together though with a 30.8 and a double clear for 5th in the Open novice.
Monday was a bank holiday in the UK so the route down the M5 towards Pontispool was busy enough. Jonelle had Tomochichi (Chichi) in the intermediate and he gained much redemption having slightly lost his confidence in the bottomless mud of Aston and Tweseldown showjumping. He scored a 29 on the flat despite a couple of mistakes and jumped a good double clear for 12th spot which is much more like him! It was a tough cross country across all the levels as well and Pontispool is always up to height and technicality. Tim had 2 first time intermediates with Chio 20 and Viscount Viktor. Chio does have Strzegom 2L under his belt which was rather a baptism of fire so it was good to see that he came out full of confidence to score a 26 on the flat and a brave double clear for 4th spot. Viktor is a big young horse and his personality makes him lack concentration at times as he is so interested in everything that goes on around him! A 31 for his first test at that level followed by a rail and drive by cross country as his eye was caught by something else. There is never any malice in his mistakes, he is simply learning on the job and when he listens to Tim the second time around it is never a problem! He did well to jump his way around as there were plenty of casualties on the scoreboard across all levels.
Senza Fine is much more experienced and she found the day pretty easy. A 30 on the flat, the ubiquitous Pontispool rail and a fun ride across country sums up Senza’s day. Senza was destined for Bicton 4S but will probably now find herself at Luhmuhlen instead as with the current travel restrictions in Germany Team Price will be unable to return to the UK from Millstreet before Luhmuhlen. Its infuriating, expensive with endless requirements for PCR testing and a logistical nightmare!
Tim’s first ride of the day was the up and coming Jarillo. (Milo) who scored a 24 on the flat despite Tim being much distracted by the arrival of sir Mark Todd at the side of his arena! Toddy is an unusual sight at an event these days having moved into racing and he has an irreverent sense of humour at the best of times. He told Tim, in the middle of his 15m canter circle that he was doing the wrong test and when Tim asked what he should do next he replied with ‘ oh, go up that end and do some more circles I should think”! Milo managed the technical showjumping well until the last which he dded to Tim’s tally of four falters and then he too found the cross country a learning experience when he picked up a 20 at the roll stop in the quarry section. Milo is going to win allot of prizes in the future!
Jonelle had her two babies out for their second event and she said they were much improved from their debut at Tweseldown! They were not terrified of the white boards this time which was a big deal at Tweseldown and both Cooley Seeing Magic (Guthrie) and Fernhill Kankan knocked out 27’s on the flat which is pretty smart. Jonelle did credit Tim with having a sit on Guthrie earlier in the week and Guthrie had clearly decided he was a pro at this eventing lark and followed that up with a double clear and just 8 time for 7th spot. No mean feat when your second start is at Pontispool!
Kankan was so green at Tweseldown that Jonelle elected not to even start the mini Badminton cross country. After her dressage she show jumped well apart from a spook at fence 4 (a wavy rail was placed quite prominently on the cups) which meant she dropped her back feet on the back rail of fence 3. They went from fence to fence cross country and negotiated a clear round with various tactics which Jonelle said included “allot of trotting” so a time of some 44 faults was not surprising. But Kankan can now officially call herself an eventer as she was still a Combined Trainer after Tweseldown!
As Tim said it was an unusual combination…great ground and it was hot! The girls got sunburned and Tim and Jonelle sweated and as he pointed out, normally when that happens the ground is like concrete. Lots of boxes ticked this weekend before the fist of the 2021 Internationals with 10 horses at Millstreet. The 02.45am boat beckons from Pembroke tonight and tomorrow they will commence Millstreet week.