News image credit Esib Power
A marathon day of dressage for the team today which Falco kicked off in style at 8.06 am with a super test in the 4L to score 28 and hold the lead. The main arena at Millstreet looked so forlorn with not a single spectator ( although Jonelle and Graeme Thom could be glimpsed at one end) but they had dressed it beautifully. Tim did a superb job as always and Falco is becoming very established at this level and confident with it.
Less than two hours later it was the turn of Spartaco and whilst the judge at B (who has a very different view to C and H) thought his changes were good unfortunately C and H disagreed which brought his score down to a 32. There was some classy work with Sparty’s trademark super relaxed attitude making him look like he was enjoying his trip overseas and a nice change of scenery!
Jonelle and Curly Girl were 2nd into the arena in the 3L class and Curly held it together to show some real work in progress. She is a powerful mare and is still learning to channel her energy in the right direction but she continues to improve and its just the walk movements she deems a bit pointless! A mark 0f 32 was still good enough to sit in the top three when Jonelle and Faerie Magnifico (George) came down the centre line halfway through the class.
George has been something of a brat of late on the flat! He has an alter ego whom Jonelle calls Geoffrey and quite frankly Geoffrey is a right prat. Today though it was all George as he performed a beautiful test right up until the last halt which he rather splayed. Jonelle nudged him with her spur to move up and he remained standing exactly in that position with his ears pricked daring her to ask again. Jonelle decided to tactfully not go head to head and left it like that and George then exited looking incredibly smug. He seems to be turning into a version of his half sister Faerie Dianimo (Maggie May) who only deigns to to perform on the big occasions. Quite what Maggie May will think of the empty arena later today remains to be seen as she wasn’t very impressed at Pau last autumn!
After some wheeling and course walking the dressage resumed this afternoon with McClaren (Mac) and Jonelle first to go in the the 4S at 4pm. Millstreet looks like speed dating, everything crammed into a short space of time! Mac and Jonelle were frozen mostly on the live stream but the quality of the work was good, its just always hard to be No.1 when the judges are playing safe to see what will come after. So much of Mac’s work is now top class and and he and Jonelle look like such a unit. The score of 31 is almost irrelevant its more a case of a work in progress. What did come straight after was Tim and Ringwood Sky Boy (Ozzie) and they played a blinder. I wouldn’t assume that Ozzie and Mac are friends….. Ozzie loves his recently retired mate Wesko (Dash) but Mac is a bit of a Del Boy type…all talk and swagger to hide his small stature and a real in your face kind of guy. Super guy of course but just a million miles away from Oz’s shy persona that would rather fly under the radar. So when Ozzie trotted in and saw Mac leaving it was almost like he breathed a sigh of relief and he relaxed and did an amazing test for a 25.2. Go Ozzie and how the late Varenna Allen would have been so proud.
Jonelle and Faerie Dianimo were up next for what is best described as a compromise test. Maggie May sneezed and made her opinion clear that the lack of spectators was not to be forgiven but they got a ‘clear round’ in that no movement was abandoned. Millstreet was always a set up for Luhmuhlen so boxes ticked with a 31.9.
And then it was time for Tim’s final test of the day on Ascona M ( Ava). Ava comes with something of a health warning….she can be wild, she can be unpredictable but she had never let let anyone down in a big arena. She has woN 2 x 4 stars and a 5 Long and is indescribable talent wise but she is also a witch and as Tim canters down the centre line its compromise all the way. Ava used to halt with one back leg out… now she tends to halt base long. Its no big deal, Tim ignores it, Ava decides she will then play ball and they knocked out a stunning PB of 20.1 t take the lead by over a pole. When Ava is on fire she is on song!
At 7.06 pm Jonelle and Killbunny Andy went down the centre line for the final Team Price test of the day. Andy has had his moments recently but he put them all behind him to put his best foot forward for his first ever 4*S test for a 29.7 which is a great start to advanced level.
Tomorrow sees some 9 XC and some 5 SJ rounds so no peace for the crew or the riders…. we will keep you posted.