Hot hot hot in Pau on Saturday and when the eventing started at 2pm it was a beautiful day, even a little bit on the warm side for horses who have most certainly felt that summer is over in the UK!
No feedback really for Tim when he set out early on Ascona M ( Ava) and it was a feisty and opinionated grey mare that tackled the classical Pierre Michelét track head on. The forward distances suit Ava but the twists and turns not so much so as she puts so much power into her jumping it makes the turning just that bit harder. She also thinks she knows far more than Tim so she doesn’t exactly politely say “you guide, I will follow”, it’s more of a rally driving track where the driver has not so much control over the car as he would like.
But brilliant Ava is and in the first group of riders she was the only one to come home clear jumping and it was a spectacular display as always. Tim rode her with his usual masterclass of cross country riding and she answered every single question with 100% bravery and guts as well as being clever enough to know exactly where her feet are at every given moment. It was a Queen Ava moment for sure when she crossed the finish line and even adding 16 time still maintained her 7th spot overnight going into showjumping.
Much later on when there had been several hi profile casualties, only one combination had made time and a few had mysteriously gone down in the last water Tim and Wesko ( Dash) headed out. This time Tim had lots more information but it was like watching a Disney version of eventing as Tim and his beloved Dash negotiated every single question with a foot perfect answer and they zipped around the track sorting every single tricky question with a neat and careful tactic and a smile on both their faces. As Tom McEwen finished 2 seconds over time whilst Tim was on mid course he handed the lead back to Tim and Dash and we watched as they headed down to the last water a good 10 seconds up on Tom’s time so destined to make the fairly tale and take the lead again at a 5 star.
And then the unthinkable happened. Dash took a stride or two into the water, tripped up and propped, spat Tim into the drink and smacked his head on the very arrowhead he was destined to jump. The Disney reel abruptly ended and switched into Hammer House of Horror as the Pau dream came crashing to and end and everything that Tim and Dash have worked for all year flew out of the window.
Things happen eventing and we get it. What we hate is when a horse has given his absolute utmost and done not a single thing wrong and gets punished for it with a dunking and a crash that is simply a freak accident. Dash and Tim will no doubt be back to fight another day but it is not the result that anyone foresaw.
On the plus side Queen Ava continues to fly the flag for the home team and she is proving herself a formidable force at 5 star having already had a win at Luhmuhlen in the bag. Tomorrow is another day and if Dash just wakes up sound and happy then that will be enough for us right now.