Mere Farm sent out 9 horses to Gatcombe on Friday which was a great effort! It was a bit of a mammoth day with times spread out from 8.24 through to nearly six o clock but the fact that it was a beautiful sunny day made it all so much easier.
It was not without incident though….much as we love the setting of Little Gatcombe no one is a huge fan of the water combination and as Jonelle said, having jumped through it three times on a 6 year old, another young horse and a very experienced advanced horse it didn’t ride nicely even once!
Spartaco (Sparty) kicked off proceedings early on and after a 28 dressage was poised for a top placing before Tim turned the wrong way in the showjumping and garnered 9 time faults which was a bit of a pity as Sparty jumped his socks off for a super round! An easy clear cross country followed up and then Sparty slept in the sun for the rest of the day as was well deserved.
Happy Boy did a nice test in his intermediate for a 30 and then for some reason wasn’t quite himself so he got to sunbathe for the rest of the day too. Happy thought that this was a great way to go eventing although I think he secretly loves his jumping. Falco is a horse that totally lives for the showjumping phase and a cool dressage mark of 26 and the usual classic clear round showjumping left him in a very good position in his OI. He didn’t get to run cross country though as he heads to Blenheim on Wednesday for the 4 star Long and he joined the sun seekers at the truck for the afternoon.
Tim then had an enforced break which was a bit of a pain before he started off with dressage again at ten to three with Senza Fine. Senza has improved rapidly on the flat this year and todays mark of 25 was a fair testament to how far she has come. A really cool double clear left her in 3rd spot even though she picked up 22 time cross country and she is all set for the Blenheim 8/9 year olds class at the end of next week at Blenheim.
Ava didn’t get to start until nearly 4 o clock and she alternated between Valegro and a trick pony in her test! The good bits were simply outstanding as she floated around with her spectacular trot but when she spied the cross country through the hedge it would be fair to say there was some very tactful riding from Tim as he kept the lid on what could have been pretty explosive. She then warmed up for the showjumping in the best form possible, catching some super fences with a soft supple back and giving Tim and easy ride. In true Ava form though she had something up her sleeve and at the first fence in the ring she launched into the air as though she had never seen a filler in her life which was pretty funny and she then executed a spectacular clear round as always.
Cross country she thought she had the last laugh as well as an intermediate is pretty easy for her and she doesn’t back off anything. Tim felt she was getting just a tad unruly coming home and as she did one of her trademark lengthening strides heading down to the last Tim made her turn a circle which left him very much in charge and no doubt infuriated Ava! She is so super talented but she is some handful when she is fresh back after a bit of a summer break and Tim is heading for Pau 5 star where he really does need to be in control!
Jonelle had a bit of a later start to her day with an 11 o clock dressage with Curly Girl. 70% was good enough for a well earned pat and as they headed over to the jumping later in the afternoon it was clear this was another mare who was fresh and feisty! Curly has a spectacular jump but with her in-between antics and being over keen on her approach resulted in a couple on the floor and some time penalties. Curly thought it all great fun and she then bounced down to the start of the cross country and zipped around with her only blip being a tiny hesitation on Burghley’s younger brother of a Leaf Pit which caught quite a few out in the field.
Gino Gingerino carries more weight than most thoroughbreds do and I am sure he is very grateful that he didn’t go down the racing route! He is nothing special on the flat but he has been trained correctly and he has a super brain and his test made him look far beyond his tender age of 6. He had a single fault in the showjumping before finding the tricky enough cross country much to his liking and there are not that many 6 years olds that are cruising around intermediates like this!
Grovine de Reve is another coming back from a summer break and whilst Ava is as fresh as a daisy Reve is very much still in ‘sleep-in’ holiday mode! He had an unusual rail for him in the showjumping as he clipped the vertical out of the double in front before a bit of a lazy passage through the water combination which earned him a sharp reminder from Jonelle as he headed down the hill! It never ceases to amaze me how different the top advanced horses characters can be and how each and every one, whether they be quirky or straightforward, has a unique personality that has to be understood and figured out. And that is why the Team Price is at the top of their game because they understand the mindsets and ride each horse accordingly….and they swap if they think the other will get on better which was on show today when Jonelle rode Gino in a dressage arena alongside Tim and Ava.
Just a couple of novices tomorrow for Tim and one for Lorenzo Monachesi. Congrats to Tayla Mason who picked up her first rosette on Centennial (Chase) in the UK with a smart double clear for 4th spot….and she very very nearly made it to the prize giving too!