Pratoni del Vivaro Test event ( Nations Cup 4*S)

Pratoni del Vivaro Test event ( Nations Cup 4*S)

The life of an international eventer is varied for sure….Monday morning saw a big turnaround on washing, time with Otis and Abel, riding horses at the yard, some frantic paperwork and billing for Jonelle and then a very early start to catch the 06.20am flight from Bristol to Rome on Tuesday morning.  Whilst Tin and Jonelle stole some time to explore the Vatican the horses had arrived in Italy and were having a rest day prior to the riders arrival.

A truly different perspective for Tim and Jonelle…Tim rides his Pau 5 star winner Falco who is not short on experience and also has a 4L win under his belt at Millstreet last year.  Jonelle rides Faerie Magnifico, also known as ‘grumpy George” who contested his first 4*S at Lignieres last year where he was 4th on his debut at the level.

Megan Hodder is in charge of the ponies this week and she has stepped up to sole charge like a pro.  NZ drew an early draw of No. 2 in the teams which is no bad thing when its hot and dry in Italy ( yes, written though gritted teeth as its been raining all day in the UK) and at the jog today they all flew through.  The team order has been announced as Jesse Campbell and Diachello ( Danny) as pathfinders, Amanda ( Muzzy) Pottinger No. 2 on Good Timing ( Johnny), Jonelle on George 3rd and Tim on Falco no. 4.

They all do dressage tomorrow and Jonelle’s course comments are that they have done allot of work already which is good, its hot ( yes, we know that and am already bored with hearing that) and that the course looks quite tough.  Some tricky combinations,  a coffin that historically rides strong, and a very impressive 3m wide open ditch.  Our horses are not used to open ditches any more!

We, (well, not Tim, who was there in 2021 with Spartaco), were last there en masse in 1995 when Pratoni del Vivaro hosted an “Open Europeans” to allow antipodean nations to qualify for Atlanta Olympics.  It was an epic event with some notable moments such as Toddy’s very careful amazing Broadcast News who nearly stopped on the chase and ended up runner up at WEG in 1998 behind eventual winner Blyth Tait and the indomitable Ready Teddy.  It was an era of truly great NZ horses and Vaughn Jeffries and Bounce and Andrew Nicholson and the irrepressible Jagermeister headed the international superstars  at that time… the short format was light years away and quite why we fought so hard for it to stay is now a mystery!

But hey, George and Falco have no notion of roads and tracks and steeplechase and they have all to play  for tomorrow when they strut their stuff on the flat.