Well it certainly looked cold and windy in Kentucky this afternoon with spectators well wrapped up! Xavier Faer ( Hugo) still sparkled though with his coat shining and his body looking as good as it has ever done so congratulations to supergroom/ Hugo’s PA Megan Taylor for the great job she is doing.
And talking of great jobs… let me big up Tim Price. Hugo is about as far from a natural dressage star as you can get but he is well trained, he is a worker, he has no particular flair for a fancy trot, a big change or any particular movement which could take your breath away but Tim trusts him to do his best and he doesn’t ask for the impossible. Hugo responded in kind today with a very grown up attitude where he didn’t see, as Tim put it, any “dragons or monsters hiding in the pot plants”and kept his eye on the game to score a very competitive 30.7 and be well in touch with a ‘game on’ score.
As Tim says, Hugo is a “hunter” after the dressage not a leader and that is a position he is happy to be in. And Tim is dangerous in hunt mode! An expensive mistake in the second change which he anticipated and I have to say, much as I love Hugo, a slightly munterish reinback where he assumed Classic Moet’s ( Molly’s) favorite resting-head-position kept him out of Tim’s aim for a 20’s test.
Moving onto tomorrows challenge and Tim was quite clear about the fact that it is a “decent track” with a “busy” course and a “long” one with the time being 11.20. He reports that there are “lots of skinnies & pesky flags” which doesn’t bode well for the current FEI 15 penalties rule which is possibly the worst rule the FEI has brought in in the last few years with much debate already mooted on social media in 2019 . Hugo has a relentless gallop stride and is scopey, brave and implicit in his trust with Tim so they are always simply stunning to watch around a big track. This is where Hugo’s true talents lie…he does the job in the dressage but if ever there was a horse bred to be a 5 star cross country one it’s our Hugo. ( As long as he has the staff to sort out the rest of the logistics that is, he is not into anything but the actual xc and relies heavily on Tim, Megan Taylor, Graeme Thom and Christiana Ober for the rest of the day as any good aristocrat should).
Tim says there is “plenty to do” but he is super happy with Hugo in every which way and that he is ” looking forward to nailing it tomorrow”.
Go nail it buddy! Post Dressage interview below.