There are some young horse events that we return to year in and year and out educating a new batch of horses each time round and some that we seem to end up at every couple of years before reminding ourselves that it is really not a level playing field at that level!
Treborough was struck off the list a couple of years ago as the team struggled to get a completion and Sapey seems to be well on the way to adding to that list! It holds a particularly appealing date in the calendar when there are no intermediates on offer, no three day events (unless you are at the European Champs of course!) and it offers a good chance to get the young horses out before Burghley and Blenheim.
So it was a pretty green team of ponies apart from Le Lion d’Angers bound Faerie Magnifico (George) that travelled to the hills of Hereford for an outing. George and Jonelle covered themselves in glory with their 23 dressage which was good enough to lead the class before tipping a rail showjumping and then picking up a 20 cross country at what Jonelle described as “the Leaf Pit Drop”! Reportedly there was a “cliff” that required an athletic and very brave launch off and George mimicked his mother with a perfectly executed spin at the top as he gave it his best “You have to be kidding look” before realising that Jonelle was not kidding and he did have to negotiate it. Many years ago his mother did the same thing at the real Leaf Pit Drop at Burghley although instead of spinning Daisy went to jump off, changed her mind once her front feet had left the top and banked the side of the drop in a battle with gravity that was destined to fail. Daisy ended up falling off the top but George managed to complete the manoeuvre far more successfully to just pick up a 20.
By chance Tim’s new novice ride, Chevalian Torpedo (rather charmingly named Pistol Pete at home) is by the same sire as George, Grafenstoltz. Pistol Pete is new to the yard and also new to novice having just had a few prep runs at 100 under his belt and Tim said he “was good on the flat” which is interesting as the judge had him plumb second last in his section! Luckily scores for the day were still not up last night so Tim can continue with the illusion that he can guess what a novice judge will give him ( always something of a mystery). Pete then jumped a double clear which really was a big deal for a Sapey day and earn himself a “welcome to the team” pat from Tim as he described himself as “Very very impressed with him”.
C’est Le Belle did a smart 23 on the flat in her 100, jumped a good round for just 4 faults and zipped along cross country for a clear and the best placing of the day for 5th spot. Belle is swiftly getting the hang of this eventing thing and her stable mate, Totally Cooley ( TC) has also come on massively this summer and his 31, the ubiquitous rail (its hard for 5 year olds to jump verticals downhill!) and a clear cross county is streets ahead of his Dauntsey performance back in July!
Tim’s 100 ride is the smart Delarado (Darcy) and a nice test for a 28 and 4 faults to add in the showjumping was looking good. Tim set out cross country determined to redeem his day and then Darcy had a 20 at the Quarry of Doom! Darcy popped it neatly once she had checked that there was actually some ground to land on which was fair enough at her age and stage.
It is not much of a surprise to say that Sapey will not go down as one of the most fun or successful days to for Team Price but I have no doubt it will also make the forthcoming week so much more appealing! The years and years it takes to get a horse to 5 star combined with the thrill of heading to the biggest and toughest track in the world will be magnified next week when Tim and Jonelle head off with a team of five horses from Mere Farm…four of theirs and Lauren Kieffer who has just flown in Vermiculous (Bug) from America. Classic Moet is halfway through her rehab and is out grazing in the courtyard and walking round the indoor and whilst it is heartbreaking that she will have to watch the trucks head out without her it is heart warming to know she will be heading to Badminton next spring.