Tim and Jonelle are seriously good at mixing it up with their owners days… sometimes it’s a pub lunch, last year it was a great lunch in Lucy Sangster’s chapel and this year, as they spent nearly 6 weeks in New Zealand at the end of 2018/start 2019 and are heading off to the Sunshine Tour next week, they changed it slightly and invited owners to attend a day at Mere Farm watching a training session with Luis Alvarez Cevera.
Luis, also known as ‘The King of Spain”, has been involved with Tim and Jonelle since ESNZ set up their High Performance coaching system in 2011. They have a unique relationship with him which has developed over the years and they enjoy a great interaction. Luis is one of the elite band of riders to have represented his country both in pure showjumping and eventing. At Barcelona Olympics in ’92 Luis competed in the eventing at El Montana as part of the Spanish team before relocating to the Real Madrid Polo Club for the showjumping. Funnily enough, our own NZ legend, Sir Mark Todd did the same!
It is January, so it was cold….but the eventing owners are a hardy bunch and came mostly dressed for the ski slopes. In fact the person wearing the least clothes for the entire day was new recruit to Mere Farm ‘Carol from Brazil’ who wore a simple summer outfit of a thin jumper and jods and insisted to all who asked that she was not cold. Either Carol has an ability to generate her own heat or she is going to collapse when it gets to 25 in the summer for sure! I was mostly moving poles but there was a huge crowd that filed in to the top end of the indoor which the younger horses pretty much took in their stride and the older ones ( yup, no surprise to find Cloud Dancer aka Marley and Cooley Showtime aka Eddie in this group!) used as a massive spook and inability to even attempt to go near unknown humans in the top of the indoor. To be fair Tim had positioned and lit a patio heater there too so there was FIRE as well as lots of immobile bodies and there are not normally immobile bodies lurking in the indoor at Mere.
Thanks to some nifty programming by Jonelle and some impressive organizational skills by Lucy Miles et al with some 23 horses on display the day moved swiftly and smartly and involved just the one minor crash between Prices’ on the dance floor. Tim misread a move and they ended up with horses chest to chest but with a swaggering “Sorry honey” Tim quickly put his into reverse and situation normal was resumed. Beanie Davidson has become a legendary part of these days as well as ESNZ days and she kept guests toasty with hot soup, home made scotch eggs ( I swear I only ate about 12 of these), stunning filo pastry cheese muffins, chilli con carne and other such delights while Jonelle, in her massive spare time, had knocked up a huge batch of mint pistachio which went down very well.
So as the day drew to a close old and new owners had a great insight into not only the training with Luis but also the way their horses live and chill out at Mere Farm. There were plenty of pats and polos going on in the stables and no one could fail to be moved by the genuine air of happiness and calm amongst all of the inhabitants.
I should post a video of one of the super stars jumping but this is actually too cute to resist! Scooby and I took a moment out…. and no, he didn’t eat it!