Hot hot hot at Cornbury today with a jackets off rule and plenty of sweaty horses and riders although there was a breeze up at the showjumping which was very welcome.
The dressage is a proper hack away from the lorry park and with plenty of golf buggies to take the owners and supporters up to the main house the crew at the trucks were relieved that no test videoing was required as they had a total of 13 horses and four trucks on site. Cosby Green and Sean Duffy had done some dressage yesterday and were hampered by a break down en route and then had the misfortune today to be caught out by a faulty fuel gauge for another unscheduled stop! Cooley Seeing Magic (Guthrie) has an ordinary test and 4 down on his card in the 3 star short but his prep for both days involved hours on a truck, a sharp canter up to the dressage, followed by ditto today for the showjumping and having been given an hour to compose himself was great cross country and did tick the MER box. Sean was a bit luckier and gained another MER at three star which is exciting for his future with Kinsale Ortaire (Phoebe).
Hiarado (Jools) thought the hack up to the dressage was fun and it was pretty boring of Jonelle to ask her to do flat work when she wanted to look at the house and the surrounding arenas for a 32. Fernhill Kankan popped out a 26, Clever Louis an ever improving 29 and Chilli’s Midnight Star (Ollie) is fast becoming the banker on the truck for a 23.
Tim was knocking out great scores and won Ollie’s section with a 20 on Falco, a 25 on Viscount Viktor who is becoming more and more impressive, a 24 on Chio 20 and a 32 on Happy Boy.
Over at the showjumping we got a bit of a surprise to see that the rather cramped main arena from the last few years had been extended with a fence to incorporate what used to be the warm up on the slope below. So the track was a rather bizarre first three fences at the bottom of the arena then a hike up the slope and wow, banging busy main arena with champagne hospitality tents along the top side and quite allot happening. And add to that there were some quite decent ( well, chunky apple at least!) sized rocks in the warm up and the bottom half of the arena which could have been hand picked at such a prestigious event but someone had clearly missed the memo that on good to firm ground the rocks don’t sink into the turf!
Jools was first in for Jonelle and jumped a copybook super clear with all her usual enthusiasm and joy de vive. Kankan was next and another really super round with just a single time fault to add, Louis is on a fast track ‘get to know my new rider’ and the improvement from Wellington was incredible. Despite it being a tricky track he has lost the ‘run through the distance’ and jumped a really classy round for just a rail. The 2 time was academic as Jonelle wanted as quiet a ride as she could get and it was like watching a new partnership start to gel for sure.
Ollie the banker smashed out a classy clear and Jonelle headed out to the cross country.
Tim kicked off his showjumping with a simply brilliant round on Viscount Viktor. It’s hard to imagine that at the start of his career Viktor had a bit of a dodgy showjumping record and simply wasn’t that careful through his novice and intermediate days. Now he is well into advanced points Viktor seems to have developed a newfound confidence and trust in Tim and when I asked Tim today what he has done in terms of training he said simply “Nothing really…he’s just developed the strength and shape as he’s progressed”. I think he is probably being a bit modest but its fabulous to see.
Milo is becoming quite the show off showjumping and he bounced around the track with his pretty white legs way above the fences and passed the patiently waiting Falco on the way out with a look that said “Better that mate”.
Of course Falco rose to the challenge and gave a superb display of ariel acrobatics as he gave every single fence an extra foot just because he can. He is a total enigma of an 5 star horse and we love him to bits. He wows the crowds everywhere he goes and my favourite part is when someone snipey in the collecting ring watches him with a ‘I just sucked on a lemon’ expression on their face and says “Well good luck with getting that round the cross country”. Oh, yes, please come and watch!
Chio looked very classy and just added an early rail as he arrived into the main arena proper and finished off with a lovely rest of the round. He didn’t even try to buck Tim off in either the warm up or the round so the 32 degrees must knock the edge off him and long may it continue.
Happy was a bit miffed at being left til last and definitely over all the Falco compliments so he put in a terrific display of jumping for a real classy round where he really did jump for joy. He’s a grumpy little pony but he was all smiles in that arena today and went beautifully.
Jonelle was rocking out the cross country clear and was on number 4 when Tim was on his first. She appeared in the truck ( I did mention she looked like a tomato which she thanked me through gritted teeth for) to warn Tim that at fence 3 a cardboard cutout horse had appeared and perhaps it might be wise to be ready for Chio to react with aversion tactics. She noted that both Jools and Kankan had baulked on the approach and then mentioned that galloping cross country was actually the coolest part of the day.
And gallop she did….5.6 was her slowest time on Louis, 5.2 on Jools, 4 on Kankan and just 2.4 on Ollie. Sweet prep for the Blenheim Boekelo Pau bound crew!
Tim headed out and had five classy clears as well. Falco picked up 12.8 time, Viktor 10, Chio 8, Milo 7.6 and Happy just 5.6.
And our banker Ollie picked up 3rd and some more prize money. Hot sunny days in September are a true luxury ( not that we don’t deserve some sun after a dreadful July and August) and it was the last of the ‘massive’ one day horse days. Plenty of big numbers for autumn three days but a huge effort for the crew at the trucks working in 32 degrees and with hot sweaty horses and a shout out to the home team as well as they are prepping the last 4 for tomorrow.