The day started with an early 4*S show jumping for Jonelle and Faerie Magnifico (George) and with pouring rain and a really decent track as is the norm on the Lignieres all weather hopes were more of the fingers crossed variety than the uber cool ‘no worries”. But Sweet George who used to be an angel was a bit of a 4 faulter ( and sometimes an 8 faulter) and now, as his alter ego Grumpy Geoffrey, seems to have become a much better jumper! George popped around a big track for a clear taking all of Jonelle’s forward distances and leaving the annoying last minute spook at home to boot. It was a great start to the day and George lies in 4th going into tomorrows cross country which is an impressive stat for his first 4S. Fellow 4*S mate Coup de Coeur Dudevin (Joker) also left all the poles in their cups for a clear so things were looking good.
Things went rapidly downhill in the 4*L cross country which had the bare minimum of 17 starters ( with the Olympics and the Europeans plus Aachen CCIO4*S pretty much every country has run out of horses for the 4L!) as first Jonelle (Killbunny Andy) was pulled up at fence 18 and then Tim at fence 13 ( Happy Boy). Turns out that they both missed a compulsory flag hidden behind a bank.
Eek moment for sure. Compulsory flags are to blame for some massive moments in the sport….Sir Mark Todd ran around Burghley 5 star on Bertie Blunt ( clear in time) before being eliminated for apparently missing a set on roads and tracks some moons ago. To be fair to the crew, Jonelle had asked at the briefing if there was just the one set of compulsory flags and was told yes but as she said, clearly the question got lost in translation as there were in fact two sets. And the only way to ascertain that was to look at the course map which, lets face it, most pros don’t see the need for! Tim and Jonelle accept 100% that they have to take the blame but it’s a very unusual thing to happen and they really have been a bit blindsided by it. To add fuel to the fire both Andy and Happy had been on flying form and they had no idea why suddenly someone pulled the plug on their rounds.
Compulsory flags add nothing but a bit of distance to a round. It seems a shame in this day and age of recognising mistakes like dropping a pin for 11 penalties robs you of the prize but still counts as an MER should not be rolled out to cover things like this…its certainly not a safety issue and would mean that a horse would not have to go back and repeat a whole 4L adding miles to legs that dont last forever.
Full Monty de Lacense ( FM) came up trumps at the end of a long wet day with a clear round jumping in his first 2*S. It elevated him some 20 places up the rankings and would have put a smile back on Jonelle’s face for sure. Future talent is so exciting and FM has it in spades.
So just FM and George to go cross country tomorrow and then the long trip home with a couple of trucks and fellow Kiwi Jesse Campbell’s ride Shadow Sister in the lead in the 3L overnight. Good things and bad things…just another weekend eventing but the main thing is no horses or humans were harmed in this result!