South of England 9th April

Not so local which the 3 am departure signalled! South of England is basically Gatwick which, being the wrong side of the M25, is crap. And miles and miles… Anyway, Tim had nice early times on Kincooley Cruising (Minnie) and Pats Jester (PJ)who were both Open Novice at the event as it was their first start of the season. Minnie went double clear on a 26 dressage ( ground was not amazing so no point in anything but cruising speed) and her 5 time cost her the win but it is always about the bigger picture at this end of the season and not an open novice win! PJ posted a 32 and a double clear with similar time penalties and then it was on to the intermediates.

Tim has a massive ” realtionship” with his horses… whether he has nurtured them from youngsters ( Bango, Ringwood Sky Boy etc) or he has ended up with them because its the end of the road otherwise (you have to go back to the days of Sete Grego and Tis a Beauty to see that) so its not as easy as it looks to hop onto Jonelle’s horses and pick up the prizes! Ascona M ( Ava) plays the sweetheart in the week and then shafted Tim with some moves in the dressage for a 35 that really disappointed him… a rail and a lovely cross country put the smile back on his face! Cekatinka ( Tinka ) looks like an angel and mostly behaves like one but has a few moves of her own and Tim was a tad disappointed with her score although her double clear moved them up to 6th which was very respectable.

Then we had Cooley Showtime (Eddie) who is quite the drama queen. Tim made the rookie error of having him taken him down to the cross country warm up as his times were pretty tight. Eddie thought this was wildly exciting and by the time Tim got on him he looked like he had run the Cheltenham Gold Cup, white foam sweat, heart rate through the roof… he set out like a man possessed cross country and a proper swim in the water after a trip up was the end of the day for both.

Its not easy riding someone else’s advanced / intermediate horses even if they are your wife’s! The horses dont know Tim, Tim doesnt know the horses at competition. Jonelle says she is so used to the smart mares who pull a new trick out of the book every week.. Tim wants to forge his own relationship with the horses….

To wind up it was an amazing weekend of glorious sunshine in the UK. It was close to 21 degrees yesterday which is pretty unheard of in April! Jonelle and John Bell were in attendance at a 40th kiwi birthday party while Tim was in the flight path at Gatwick having cycled some 17 kms to the venue but it was quite funny to see Beth Mountjoy summoned in the two horse to take them and their bikes home some 4 hours later! John Bell had a quiz night to get to in Marlborough and Jonelle had plenty to do at home…

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