Millstreet Saturday.

Millstreet Saturday.

Jonelle and Faerie Dianimo (Maggie May) were first out today with the 4S showjumping and yet again delivered another international clear round.  They did pick up 1.2 time faults which dropped them a couple of places but at the end of the class had moved up 5 places with their clear.

Tim and Polystar (Nero) also jumped an immaculate clear round in their 3S show jumping which was hardly a surprise although only Tim’s second time actually in the ring with him!  He has been beautifully produced by Tim and Jonelle’s good mate Chris Burton which is always a plus.  He sits just 0.1 off the lead and they look forward to a cross country spin tomorrow morning.

Full Monty de Lasence (FM) was out early on in the 2*L cross country which started at 9am.  Great footing and a beautifully built track that included 4 waters and plenty of undulations made for a good 2* challenge.  FM had his very first start on May 29th last year where he actually retired as he was so overwhelmed by his first cross country and has come on leaps and bounds since then and has just a handful of novices under his belt. He started out green but game and was answering all the questions with the cutest look on his face.  He came off a bank early on and was a bit surprised to see a brush arrowhead but jumped between the flags although he took the white flag with him and was a bit unlucky to be given a “missed flag” penalty for 15 faults.  All went well until the coffin where he looked through the rails on the approach and saw the ditch and applied the brakes quite firmly and then engaged reverse.  He found forward again, jumped the rails and then proved his fright was genuine by then baulking at the ditch before deciding that maybe Jonelle was right and there were no dragons in it.  He finished with a stack of jumping faults but an even bigger bank of experience which will stand him in huge stead.

Fernhill Kankan had the benefit of Jonelle’s first round to help her out and she set out fast and also with her eyes on stalks.  She negotiated every problem with a cool assessment and since she started just a year ago as well was having quite the upgrade this weekend.  Jonelle rode her with all her experience showing and Kankan answered every question and they came home clear and in the time to take the lead by just 0.7.

NZL-Tim Price rides Gurtera Jimmy Clover. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Next out was Gurtera Jimmy Clover in the 3L for Tim.  He described it as a ‘tough track and tough time too” which was proven by the fact there were not that many inside the time.  He described the drop off the bank to the skinny arrowhead as a proper question but added “Jimmy just soaked it all up and kept on galloping!”. They came home just 1.2 over time and Jimmy is fast becoming a banker for Tim as he moved up into 11th spot overnight.

Happy Boy and Tim were early out in the 4L that started at 2.30 with a super round in time for Clarke Johnstone and Aces High. Happy gawped at the early first water and Tim had to sit down and ride to get in but then Happy clicked into cross country mode and was very impressive.  It was a beautiful ride from Tim and Happy showed his class with some nippy footwork out of the Hollow which was one of the last combinations.  The Hollow is a coffin to you and I and the out was long but Happy simply popped in a second stride and made it look as though that was how it had been designed.  How Tim can ride in a raincoat with a hood flapping around at the back of his head is beyond me but it was a truly classy display by both of them and pleasure to watch.  They came in just a few seconds over time to add 2 penalties to their dressage score.

Some 40 minutes later Jonelle set out on Killbunny Andy’s biggest test to date. They set out in Jonelle’s usual style seeing forward distances and giving Andy a positive ride through the first water and popped the next couple of questions before the huge double of brush corners at fence 8.  Andy jumped the first well, was all on track for the B  but picked up and then put down at the last second.  It was ultra last minute and he fired Jonelle over the corner and then, probably wisely, decided discretion was the better part of valour and decided to leave Jonelle where she had face planted and head back to the stables.  Jonelle picked herself up, no worse for wear but her expression said it all.  I think ‘Unimpressed” sums it up.

By the time Tim started with Coup de Coeur Dudevin (Joker) it was only Clarke Johnstone who had made time on both of his rides. They set off in a beautiful rhythm and never deviated from it and it was a masterclass in cross country riding.  Having only competed Joker at intermediate level it was a big question and Joker’s first 4L too but they oozed class and came home just one second inside the time to move up into 4th spot.  I was glad to see that Tim had removed his hood from his jacket this time so it must have annoyed him on Happy!

Clarke then made time on his 3rd ride…quite the feat.  So just the Kiwi boys who made time at Millstreet today…nice to see.

Jonelle and Faerie Dianimo (Maggie May)  came out just after 5pm for the final phase of the 4S class. It was still raining but looking at the footing you wouldn’t believe that the 2* ponies, the 2L, the 3L and the 4L had already been around the main track.  It still looked picture perfect with that luminous green you only get in a country where it rains allot.  Maggie May jumped for fun and looked amazing and her partnership with Jonelle looked as good as ever.  I am sure Jonelle was glad to gallop through the finish flags and end her rather unusually mixed day on the cross country!  Maggie May picked up some 11 time as Millstreet is her prep run for Luhmuhlen 5 star in a couple of weeks and she is the first of the 8 horses to have finished her stint at Millstreet and she finished up in 7th spot after a crazy busy day.

As always a shout out to the ground crew lead by Kerryn Edmans… its a team sport for sure. And so cool to have such a good Kiwi contingent at Millstreet with everyone having a mixture of great and not so great days… welcome to eventing.