Off up to the beautiful Chatsworth House in Derbyshire for the first ERM of the year which is a truly magnificent venue with a stunning mansion set in the rolling landscape of a Capability Brown Park. It is generally regarded as one of the toughest cross country CIC three stars and it’s one where speed and agility count for more than a flashy dressage.
Which is pretty lucky really as neither Xavier Faer ( Hugo) or Faerie Dianimo ( Maggie May) were wowing the judges this weekend! Hugo finds the dressage quite hard work but he does try his best, much like a small child who writes laboriously with his tongue stuck out! He stayed with Tim, did his best not to gawp at the crowds or spook at the flowers and did some of his best work in the trot that we have seen. It was mildly unfortunate he forgot his back end in both flying changes which dragged his mark down but all in all it was a good effort, not least because of his fast tracked start to the season. Tim was pleased with him and he is quite a horse to be sitting on when it comes to the start of a stamina testing cross country.
Meanwhile Maggie May was giving Jonelle a pretty hard time in the warm up. A message had come through to say that she was “WILD” in the morning session which was not much of a surprise. A quiet outing at Bicton followed by the razzle and dazzle of Chatsworth had Maggie May determined to give the crowds a proper display of dressage. The fact that Jonelle had to follow a set pattern of movements was merely a minor issue for Maggie who was pretty keen to demonstrate a free style of her own, most of which involved flicking her front feet up horizontally in front of her face and attempting the impossible like extended trot shoulder ins and half passes. All of this meant that she lost her balance and then she promptly blamed Jonelle for asking her to do something she couldn’t. When Jonelle went to do the serpentine which involves counter canter she point blank refused to canter on the wrong leg in front of her fans. It was very funny to watch for those of us who would forgive Maggie May anything in the world and it does prove how fit and well she is feeling but I am not sure Jonelle enjoyed being humiliated by Maggie May so quickly after winning Badminton! Jonelle did give a lovely interview on ERM TV where she laughed about it and it is quite par for the course for Maggie May in the spring but as always, having exuded tension throughout her test, Maggie wandered out to the collecting ring looking as cool as a cucumber!
Showjumping and Cross Country start at 1.30 on Sunday afternoon… click on the link below for live streaming and replays later on.