The news image is unashamedly Jonelle as I take my hat off to her as one of the most inspirational women that I have ever met. And actually, ditto her mount, Maggie May! Thanks so much to Lucy Miles for reminding me of this moment…
Tim and Jonelle marked out 22nd February as Owners Day a while ago, confident that Jonelle would be back in the saddle and that the day which was centred around Luis Alvarez Ceverez would run in time, on schedule and to plan.
Well, as only a Price plan can come together, it did. No pesky trees down on the drive, Jonelle a whopping 11 days in since birth riding and jumping her horses, Tim on an endless supply of youngsters and old favourites and super chef Beanie Davidson cooking up a storm in the background.
Luis was on blinding form and as always worked on each and every horse as an individual. Beanie was simply on fire and the attendees were treated to an array of snacks and lunch and desert dishes as well as afternoon tea that ticked all the Master Chef boxes. The staff were well provided for and have enough leftovers to fuel the rest of the weekend and leaving food at Mere is like dropping candy…it simply disappears!
Days like this are like live TV.. or the old adage working with animals and children are not the best route to follow. Tim and his crew had done a magnificent job setting up the arena with a dedicated “fake” grass strip area at the end for owners and sponsors, lots of new banners and a flaming BBQ heater to help those flagging in the cold. Horse residents of Mere Farm who deal with sheep, pet Pigs, diggers, numerous cars, various dogs dealt with this with varying degrees of success. Some of the youngsters who could be forgiven for freaking out were amazing and some of the more experienced ones who should have dealt with the situation quite frankly downed tools and brought their diva personalities to the fore!
Tim deserves his bottle of beer tonight.. he rode endlessly. Jonelle is simply a phenomenon as she jumps four horses, engages with the owners, feeds Abel, chats to Otis and then fills in as ground crew for the afternoon.
For anyone involved with Team Price it’s simply another exercise in organisation, teamwork and amazing staff. The guys on the ground, led by Jess Wilson and now ably joined by NZ stalwart Emelia Hazel ( Trained and Bestie of Lucy Jackson) on day 5 of her placement headed a slick team that included Tayla Mason as chief warm up rider. The guys on the ground are awesome.. it take as village guys, it really does.
And now all eyes head to Vejer de la Frontera. 15 horses leave on Tuesday and after a day at Squad Training on the 26th Tim, Jonelle, Otis, Abel and Harriet head to Spain to start the next leg of the adventure that is 2020. Stayed tuned guys!