A day of two halves as Jonelle had novice rides which she rode this morning and Tim had 100 rides which he rode this afternoon. As Jonelle said, she definitely had the better weather deal, that is if you can say that walking the course at minus 2 degrees is good..but yes, Tim and Nuances de Jarsay ( Frenchie) went cross country with snow in their eyes which Tim mentioned in a really Hollywood style mournful way. I may have mentioned this before but back-in-the-day at Aldon in the early noughties Tim was lauded by the commentary team for his cross country round on Desamoray in a T shirt in the snow. I don’t think Tim had a hoodie or a long sleeved top for xc at that point but I am pretty sure he had everything warm that Eurostar had to hand in his kit today!
We love Portman and have always supported it. It is one of the few ‘baby’ events to run mid week which means that it has all the international riders attend as it is a chance ( usually pre Badminton) to get the 100 and novice horses out in between the (normally) Burnham/ Weston Park and Beltons. The team at Portman make a huge effort with a lovely flowing cross country, great arenas for the dressage some way away from the jumping and a friendly showjumping track. This year it was slightly scuppered by Aston le Walls being granted permission to run a whole weekend of unaffiliated before hand which took quite a chunk of their entries. They managed to scrape by with reduced entries for this year but it would be such a shame for this event to be lost to the calendar if the event allocation is not addressed a bit more fairly in future.
Jonelle had what can only be described as a slightly boring day with two double clears, 1 rail and uneventful dressage tests despite having 2 mares and a first timer. She proudly declared herself ” not a hot arse after all, just the rider of some wild advanced horses” as Curly Girl ( Curly), Tomochichi ( Chichi) and Diamante ( Monte) all did solid tests and didn’t try and drop her once in the jumping phases. Chichi is a new ride for Jonelle having been produced from Alan King’s Barbury racing yard through Holly Woodhead, James Avery and Sam Lissington and is one of those slow burner horses which, as Jonelle says, will probably fly under the radar until he suddenly becomes a star at 5 star. He is a true old fashioned National Hunt type but has something indefinable about him…not unlike Classic Moet ( Molly) at the same age. Which bodes well for sure!
Tim rocked up just as the weather turned into snow showers and as Jonelle hastily exited the venue in the nicely warmed up Volvo he started his day at Portman. His new pet Jarillo ( Milo) did a lovely test then misjudged a back rail of an oxer in a very much smaller track than Vejer de la Frontera had presented him with for 4 faults. I am not sure who was more embarrassed, Tim or Milo. Efeba ( Kanga) was yet again the owner of 2 down but this time it was because she was fresh, ( probably cold!) and also used to jumping bigger tracks in Spain. Tim and Frenchie had a speed date today so we can easily put their 4 faults down to ” I am just getting to know you” as Jonelle has piloted him through out 2020/21 and they all jumped well cross country.
Jonelle also commented that the going was “absolutely perfect” . 2020/21 has thrown allot of curve balls at us but snow in April is seriously unwelcome. I guess its not raining cats and dogs so we have something to be grateful for!