Tim’s last one day for the season and one he was very much looking forward to with Falco as he headed off on the long trek to Little Downham which is near Ely… guaranteed good going due to the peaty soil, also guaranteed to be a pain in the arse journey!
And so it began with roadworks and no choice but to take the ’roundabout city’ route there which we all hate in a car let alone a horsebox. Along with most of the riders in the advanced class Tim was forced to call and ask for a later dressage time due to the traffic problems but they did finally get there and the day began to rapidly improve.
Just Falco to play with and that is fun! On his second advanced start and he found the dressage allot more to his liking than his debut at Aston where he had to do the WEG 4 star B test…this time he nailed it and was one of only two horses in the 20’s with a very credible 28.
Cruising over to the showjumping and Tim was on a roll. Falco loves this phase and as Tim said, he “finds it a piece of cake, he just plays with it” which is always a nice feeling and one that Falco never fails to deliver over the coloured poles.
The cross country at Little Downham is a bit like everything else when you get to this part of the country.. a little bit different! Ely is supposedly in Cambridgeshire but it is very very close to the Norfolk border and thus sometimes a bit random. I think it has to do with the permanent gale that hammers in off the North Sea as there are no hills to break it down and it’s a bit like the Levante wind in the Southern Med.. you can live with it but it drives you a bit mad. I am not sure what was at fence 5 but it seemed responsible for most of the 20’s and retirements but Falco was jumping beautifully according to Tim when he headed down to the trakhener at fence 13. Tim was having a bit of a cut at the win… it’s Falco’s last event of the season and he is on flying form.. it was a good class with plenty of top horses having a run and well worth a tilt at. Tim said that the edge of the ditch really did lack a bit of definition but he went for a fairly deep spot to make it clear to Falco the effort that would be needed. A nano second of greenness when Falco decided to come up a stride early as he didn’t quite read it was instantly replaced with ” Oh, you are right Tim” and he went to pat back down again but it was too late so they both ended up in the bottom of the ditch.
Not the way Tim wanted to end the season with Falco! They are both fine but dented pride is sometimes even more frustrating. Falco has a bit of a chequered record in the latter half of this season but that is not unusual in a horse that flies through novice and intermediate with the greatest of ease and then suddenly hits a steep learning curve at advanced. He has some big performances in him to come in 2019, of that I have no doubt.
Meanwhile the long trek home was getting more complicated by the minute. A series of accidents had left parts of the motorway closed and even more frustratingly the M4 at 12-13 as well. After around 4.5 hours on the road Tim was no closer to making it to Mere before the Lignieres truck had to leave! A plan was formed with Jonelle packing his bag ( cant wait for the jog photos from Ligniere!) and a meet up on the side of the road for Tim to swop trucks…. not sure if or how that happened but I presume as I write they are pulling into Lignieres and what Jonelle descibes as “the family holiday”!
Yup.. a typical Price family holiday. Just one ride each in the CCI 2 star, one lovely Scooby Doo, Harriet Ashbridge with Otis, two young recruits grooming and a spattering of Grappa Nera’s owners no doubt. Sounds like fun, as always!