Well it was all action at Strzegom today with all 5 horses due to run cross country this afternoon and with two different classes it meant a pretty complicated lot of walking for Tim! They have numerous tracks here, everything from shorts to longs, pony classes etc and Jonelle did highlight on Thursday that it was a very busy load of tracks to navigate.
Falco show jumped yesterday and jumped his usual superb clear but adding just a couple of seconds time to drop down the order slightly. His dressage had reflected his status as an “up and coming” and being “boxes ticked” was very much the order of the day. He went into cross country well inside the top 10 alongside such legends as Ingrid Klimke and Hale Bob and deserved his place.
I think it fair to say that Jonelle had a great day and Tim had a crap day! Swings and roundabouts and as it happened Tim copped a whole load of unexpected moments in one single day to be sure.
But to Jonelle first… Grappa Nera ( Grape) is just like a fine wine.. she is maturing. She and Jonelle have absolute trust in each other cross country and they skipped around the technical track with plenty of questions with consummate ease to come home three seconds under time to take the lead. Grape is only 9 but she and Jonelle have this amazing partnership and they really did make it look so easy. It was a small field of 10 but with an elimination, a retirement and a few issues for Tim it proved a tough enough track which called for absolute commitment to the lines. Grape and Jonelle nailed it, simples.
Jonelle and McClaren ( Mac) had the stigma of the recent 20 at Haras du Pin on their card but Jonelle had readily acknowledged that she had under estimated his stride cross country and today they looked to be singing from the same hymn sheet as the readily ate up the challenge of Strzegom. As she commented, today she felt that she needed to not entirely trust him and take a few extra strides but it it’s a partnership in the making of a great one and the 6 time they picked up will soon be discarded as they bond on their relationship. Mac is amazing, Jonelle is amazing but it is not so common for a horse to have gone to a World Championships with so little experience to change riders, cope with Covid 19 and regroup with a new rider all in the space of such challenges we all now face. The future looks good Mac.
Tim basically had the day from hell with some good bits thrown in just to keep him from self imploding.
Falco and he had a ‘moment’ at the first water when he said go and Falco put down which launched TP up Falco’s neck but he stayed put and they jumped in only to have a drive by at the second arrowhead in the water. Falco never locked onto it.. to be fair to Falco there were so many fences at every possible site it was very easy to miss your chance if you don’t read numbers. Tim was delighted with him, the reason he pulled him from the 4L was as he had missed his warm up runs and he felt that Falco had massively benefitted from the experience of his first international for 2020.
Sparty misread the brush arrowhead at 8B for a 20 so he took his foot off the gas. Then he found himself running down a wrong lane for the 4*L and had to double back which meant that despite Sparty stepping up and answering every question they finished just 1 second inside the MER requirement for time which makes Tim quite the hero. And Sparty too as he is just a young gun trying his luck at this level and he is not really doing anything but gaining experience and mileage along the way.
Wesko ( Dash) set out last and after the drama of the horrendous dousing three from home in Pau we were on high alert for a smooth passage. A heart dropping moment at the big trakhenner at fence 9 when Dash decided he was Murphy Himself and took off a stride early was not planned and induced some heart failure from those watching. Dash stifled it, Tim managed to stay on…then we see them navigating the rest of the track cool as a cucumber before all of a sudden TP is the wrong side of the string for the big parallel over the ditch.
So cool as cucumber TP pops the string on Dash, rejoins the track and jumps the fence. He is incredible, Dash is so trusting, they are total legends. Yup, they copped a “warning” as not all horses and riders would have done it so well but hey ho..what a duo.
So places are reversed and Jonelle lies in the lead with Grape. Ex Sammi Birch ride Tullyoran Cruise lies in second and Mac is in 3rd and Dash in 4th
What a difference a day makes.