Well they still look pretty wet and cold in Ireland while this afternoon in the UK we basked in 28 degrees and cloudless skies..and a busy day for Team Price with plenty going on. Hayley, Ruby and Millie are the troupers on the ground and as always the horses looked beautifully tuned out despite the conditions.
In the CI3*S Tim and Jonelle went head to head with Emotion ( Emma) for Tim and Curly Girl for Jonelle. Jonelle would have been delighted with Curly’s test which scored 30.9 ( just shy of 70%) and Tim equally so with Emma’s who scored just 0.5 of a mark below his wife. Everything is a competition at Team Price and Jonelle won this one by the smallest of margins!
That class show jumped today and Tim regained the lead with a clear in time on Emma which took them up into 10th spot.Tim describes Emma as ” a real trier” and she jumped her socks off in her biggest and spookiest arena to date for that clear. Jonelle and Curly jumped clear but added 2 time to slide below Tim to sit in 16th before cross country. Curly has also run a massive learning curve this year and she also keeps stepping up to the plate which can only be admired. Two class young horses learning their job and showing real talent along the way.
In the CI4*S class Tim has Xavier Faer ( Hugo) and Falco and they both benefitted from tests today which are schooling grounds for their upcoming three day events. Hugo heads to Burghley whilst Falco is Blenheim bound. Tim and Hugo did a smart test for a 30 which left them in 14th and Tim playing with a double bridle which just gives him more options for Burghley and Falco another good test for a 32 which puts him into 17th at the end of today. Tim said Falco is green enough at this level and he was really happy with 2 clean changes but still felt he was little under prepared for his test.. there is not enough warm up time to practice everything for sure! Tim often uses a CI4*S as a prep for a three day event and it has shown to be a great method in the past and I am sure he has plan for the jumping phases.
Jonelle rode a super test on Grappa Nera (Grape) for her first shot at a 4*Long and not only was the trot work really the best that Grape has produced at any level the canter was good apart from a couple of green changes which at 8 years old Grape is entitled to. She stayed with Jonelle, tried her hardest and just got a bit fiery when she anticipated he changes which is also the reason she is such a great jumper. As Jonelle said, the mark of 40 was mostly down to the Portuguese judge who was on a totally different page to the other two and if his mark had been the same as those Grape would have been sitting on a credible 32. “The best 40 yet I have ever done” was Jonelle’s comment which says it all and she was really happy with Grape.
Tim has Wesko ( Dash) in the ERM and they did dressage this afternoon when it looked like it had stopped raining but people were still dressed like Boekelo. Dash is nothing if not reliable and he posted a 28 which could have been a much smarter mark had Dash not spotted something at the start of his canter work which suddenly got him a bit tight….he saw something out of the corner of his eye and that really affected his extended canter as Tim wasn’t able to to totally let the handbrake off! Dash is mostly a real goody goody but he has been known to flick the naughty switch at one days in the past… it’s great to see he feels so good that he has Tim on his toes when he heads into an Autumn season which should end with a 5 star. Apart from Ollie Townend who is way out in front on a 21 on his Burghley winner Ballaghmor Class the field is well and truly all together at the top so plenty to play for! As always the jumping phases are hugely influential in the ERM so its not over until the fat lady sings. ( Or Dash completes the next two phases!)
Jonelle says that whilst the weather is slowly improving she thinks that the ground will be a major factor cross country and says it will be ” a tough slog” for the horses. Tim says it is “ever improving” but he still hunt quite made a decision yet on whether he will run his whole team. If anyone can get down and gritty cross country it’s Tim and Jonelle so we will wait and see what the weekend brings with interest.