Northumberland is a long way to go with 7 horses for the intermediate/ OI day but that’s the way that the calendar works sometimes as it happened to be the only event running this weekend above novice.

The crew travelled up the afternoon before and stabled offsite as onsite stabling was £150 per horse, whether you stayed one night or 4.  Thats pretty steep if its just the one night so Hope Farm Equestrian it was and a very warm welcome there was too.

The horses mostly shared the same OI arena which unfortunately was the closest one to the cross country.  As Jonelle says, once they are advanced there really should be no excuse but Grape in particular thought this just way, way to mesmerising to watch and perform a nice quiet test.  A 51 was the result and its good to see she has most definitely taken on Faerie Dianimo’s (Maggie May) one day crown!  Two beautiful jumping rounds followed so all was forgiven.  McClaren (Mac) scored a credible 31.1 whilst just sneaking some peeks at the cross country before a smart double clear adding just 2 time fo finish in 6th spot which was perfect prep for his return to Le Pin au Haras in some 10 days time.

Hiarado (Jools) is Jonelle’s smart new toy and it’s pretty clear that they are hitting the ground running with a great partnership already.  Jools is just 6 points off advanced so eligible for intermediate and with a 29 dressage under her belt the duo added nothing else for third spot and an immediate leap up the ladder to Grade 1!  Jools is a good looking bouncy bay mare with lots of pizazz about her….the perfect match.

Tim had a couple of Burghley rides with Vitali and Bango (Uno).  Vitali was a tad distracted in his first run back since Luhmuhlen to post a 32, just tapped a rail out and then ran slowly cross country.  The uber experienced Uno posted a 33 and a lovely clear round showjumping before Tim withdrew him as the ground was on the firm side of good ( even that far up north!) and Uno isn’t going to learn anything from an OI jaunt.  He has been 10th and 5th at Burghley so the aim is to get him back there for the next step up in placings!

Coup de Coeur Dudevin ( Joker) is an exceptional young horse and this was his first start back since his runner up slot in the 4L at Millstreet. A 29.6 and a slow double clear was exactly what was required before he too heads out to France in mid August.

Happy Boy is, as we know, a cheeky chappie and his 31 and double clear was another tick in the box.  Tim doesn’t do the uber slow hack around on Happy as, no doubt, Happy would see that as a golden opportunity to play the joker so they just picked up 10 time and had a great outing for his first run back since he was 6th in the 4L at Millstreet.

So all in all a good day if a long hike home.  We used to have Wilton on the doorstep this weekend, then we thought Cholmondely Castle in Cheshire was a bit of a hike but this Northumberland lark is another story!