The last one day of the year and Jonelle found herself flying solo as Tim is the USA for his last event of the year at Maryland.  You know the season is beginning to close when you leave home in darkness and struggle to find a window to walk the course as dawn rises and it was a very early start today for Jonelle, Grappa Nera (Grape) and Full Monty de Lacense (FM).

Grape is Pau 5 star bound and after a nice outing at Little Downham advanced a couple of weeks ago a run around Oasby’s great going in October was just the ticket for a Pau final gig.  Somewhat annoyingly Jonelle had all of Grape followed by all of FM which involved allot of clothes changing but with just the 1 OI section pretty unavoidable for the scorers.

As Jonelle put it so succinctly, it’s not so much that Grape is any less feral in the dressage at a one day but more that she is now still feral but staying within the designated movements which does make Jonelle’s life much easier.  Faerie Dianimo (Maggie May)  used to go very much off piste and try out passage/piaffe/rear  half pass which never was her forte on grass.  Grape scored a 33 which was both fair and acceptable for a one day with a 20 minute warm up and she then jumped a super showjumping round before having, annoyingly, the last fence down for 4 faults.  Grape breezed around the intermediate cross like a hack and is more than ready for her first three day of 2022.

FM was there by double/treble fault really….. he has exhibited enough attitude this year to be a designated future superstar but since he didn’t qualify with an MER at either his 2*L or his two attempts at 3*S Jonelle thought she had better end his season on a positive.  Let’s take a moment here to admire FM’s stance on the matter.  He has no intention of being put on the (legendary) end of season transfer list so he was Angel Gabriel personified in the jumping phases with an immaculate double clear and not even a smidgen of a hint that he has been a tad ditchy this year.  He has never had a problem on the flat so today he utilised his last chance to get one over on Jonelle by pretending to be simply terrified of a set of harrows that happened to be parked pretty close to the end of the OI/Int dressage arena.

I say ‘pretended’ as anyone who has been to Mere Farm knows it is more than just a working farm.  Mowers, Quad bikes, 2 massive ( err, no Jonelle, they were not Mini Pigs that you bought 4 years ago) pigs, chickens of various sorts ( all screeching allot), trucks, bikes, cars, miriad dogs, the odd (very fast) cat  and lots of people are just something you have to negotiate on your way out for a hack from the yard.  FM has not been brought up in some sort of monastery but today he decided that the piece of metal harboured a dragon of true fire breathing proportions so having taken more time than anyone else to actually get into the arena FM then proceeded to decide that C was the only safe space and every time  Jonelle attempted to go down the long side towards said harrows near A  FM left the arena by around 10m each time.

Technically you cant be eliminated for leaving an ‘open’ arena ( only the FEI arenas are ‘closed’ meaning that there are no gaps in the boards ) and one days, due to the cost of the arenas and the plentiful laying out of them, have lots of gaps in the boards.  But you can be eliminated for repeated ‘disobediences’ so having finally got to the last (crooked..had to keep one eye on the metal dragon) halt she asked the judge “So, what do we do about this situation?”.

And the really lovely, truly proper horse woman judge, replied “Well, I am not going to eliminate you as you clearly needed to get through that but I do warn you the score is going to be a whopper”.

And that is the story of how Jonelle did a personal best today in an intermediate test and scored a 59.1 on the flat.  As she said, the only downside is if it was going to be a score like that it would have been nice to have nailed a 60.

And thats a wrap on the one days until 2023.  Here’s to Grape having a brilliant Pau and hats off to the cheeky little brat that is FM.  Clearly he has a great future with a calculating smart arse brain like that! I have no doubt he sashayed his way out to his holiday paddock tonight and I cannot help but admire him!