Novice day at Dauntsey and summer returned with a bang with temps in the mid thirties and sweating riders across all the phases. The ground was great though as it has been rainy and cool for much of the last week and as always Beanie Sturgess and her crew had done a fabulous job making the event Covid Safe but as fun as ever.
Jonelle’s day kicked off with Elixir ( Cedric) who scored a 31 on the flat before sauntering down to the showjumping with his usual swagger. He jumped a lovely round and was bit unlucky to just tip a pole and then he had a bit of time to consider his options cross country. It is just his second novice start and Dauntsey isn’t always the ideal place to bring green novices but he stepped up and coped magnificently although he did mange to put a 20 on his card at the Ditch of Doom which Cedric decided warranted a really good look before he leapt. In his defence, it’s a smart move…ditches are a scary thing and one doesn’t want to throw oneself over without first checking its safe to do so.
Next up was Diamante ( Monte) and she pulled out a 24 test before also dislodging a pole. As always it was a very professional Monte who was probably rolling her eyes at Cedric who popped neatly around the track to just add 4 time to her tally. Jonelle was finished up a fair bit earlier than Tim as he had three, so, having ridden her two in sweltering heat promptly got changed into gym gear and headed off for a workout. Only Jonelle would see that as necessary and the words human dynamo spring to mind…
Tim began his day with Viscount Viktor and after a 25 dressage and a clear SJ hopes were riding high for his first novice event. He set out cross country with his usual verve and only got caught out when he over jumped a fence that is always pretty spooky and ran out of room for the B element so had no choice but to do a flyby. He jumped it straight on at the second time of asking and it’s probably a good thing as this guy is so talented he could be out of novice in just a few runs! Tim was delighted with his performance and he really does have a very bright future.
Midnight Galaxy ( Herbie) was great on the flat for a 27 but being a darkish bay he was probably feeling the heat by the time he show jumped in the afternoon as it’s not the norm for him to tap out a couple of rails. He went cross country with his usual enthusiasm though and added another clear round to his card with neat and careful acts of footwork in all the tricky places. Dauntsey has a river crossing as its water and it is a pretty hairy trip up and down the banks for the babies.. Tim said Viktor jumped into it like it was the Lake at Badminton! Herbie is a little more conservative so it wasn’t quite as dramatic but he did make a very good job of it.
Last of the day was Kroon Freddie and he and a couple of his professionally ridden mates were rather inexplicably on a 34 dressage which is odd as he mostly scores mid twenties. Being a really lovely horse with a super attitude meant that Freddie backed that up with a very polished double clear and finally got his long awaited shower back at the truck.
A good day at Dauntsey… and the start of a busy weekend as Sunday and Monday will see the crew up at Liverpool for Cholmondely. It’s not normal for the 100 horses to truck a 7 hour round trip but needs must at the moment with a bit of a muddled calendar and random extra days being added here and there. The advanced horses are used to the longer trips and the temp is dropping by a good 10 degrees which will make eventing far more preferable for those who cant walk around in shorts all day.