Jonelle kicked off the 2023 season with an easy trip to Moreton which, being in Dorset, is now a local. If Jonelle was excited about starting the event season she hid it very well as it had been particularly wet in the build up during the week and eventing in the rain and mud is definitely low on her list of favourites.
Another thing that ranks pretty far down is catch riding. Tim quite likes it but Jonelle isn’t much of a fan and she declared that since she was going to a novice event, in March, in the mud and without a single horse of her own to ride she was half way up the stairway to heaven path already.
Jutopia (Lola) is a smart young horse that has been produced by Sammi Birch for owners Terry Miller and Susan Lamb. Sammi is currently 2 months off having a baby so Jonelle is returning the favour that Sammi did for her when she was pregnant with Abel and Sammi took over Faerie Magnifico (George). Lola has been down to Spain with Jonelle to hone her showjumping skills which paid off in spades with some super rounds in Vejer de la Frontera and today was a jaunt around the Open Novice before the OI beckons at Cirencester next week.
Tim Rusbridge had two novice horses for her to ride, a good looking black horse called Inception and a big chestnut mare called Espirit du Feu. Both did lovely tests for a 28.5 apiece and Lola, who is extremely flash on the flat, did a better test than either of them and scored a 33.8 which was a little inexplicable but perhaps the judge in that arena didn’t really want to be at Moreton either.
As one would expect after a month down in Spain Jonelle made light work of the showjumping with three clear rounds and having walked the cross country and noted that the ground was half ok and half a tad deep that she would be cantering round and expected everyone else to do so as well. Lola and Espirit de Feu gave her lovely schooling rounds and Jonelle surprised even herself by declaring that she “quite liked” the big chestnut mare which must have been music to Rusty’s ears and sure, hell might freeze over.
Inception didn’t get the same fan club reaction after he ran off a corner twice a few fences from home. To be fair to the horse he did have a bit of an issue on his last run at Lignieres 3 star and he did come home but I don’t think he is quite Jonelle’s type!
So for any Dorset eventing inhabitants that were worried the World no.2 was going to stride on in and steal all the prizes, you can rest easy. Lots of riders did in fact gallop through the mud and Jonelle finished up 13th, 19th and 31st on the scoreboard. Which is exactly the way Jonelle usually tackles the one days, especially at the start of the season and with a rare Sunday off today the fact that no rosettes have yet been won won’t be bothering her one little bit!