Well its back to business with a bang with some 25 odd horses out from Mere Farm over the weekend. We are delighted to welcome Kerryn Edmunds back to the team and between working on the water treadmill and doing a bit of freelancing ahead of her official comeback she managed to plait 8 horses yesterday. Yard manager Jess Wilson has been rising at 3.30am for a few days this week which proves that her seamless efficiency in running the whole shebang is not down to chance and the rest of the team at home are a cracking bunch who all work their socks off.
And then we have Harriet who makes looking after Abel and Otis look so easy and who happened to get dumped with my puppy too as well today at times and never misses a beat. Yup… it really is a phenomenal team. Tayla Mason and Lorenzo Monachesi compete as well as work and they also show up smiling and happy despite the hours.
Lets not forget that the hardest workers are Tim and Jonelle who juggle some 35 horses, 2 children, a yard, 3 trucks, home, numerous staff and sponsors, owners and their own lives. But then you add in a day like today at Barbary when the sun is shining, there are the three Price trucks there, the horses are happy, the owners are happy and everyone is simply delighted to be back. It really did feel truly magical to escape lockdown and go eventing again and what a fab couple of days it has been with another to come tomorrow.
Tim went to Tweseldown on Friday with two horses, Susan Lamb’s Kincooley Cruising and Susan Lamb’s and Therese Millers’s Happy Boy. Kincooley Cruising ( Minnie) was running Open Novice as she has had a bit of a break and won the dressage by a margin with a 17. A double clear in time would have been an easy win but Tim is far too professional to worry about winning an ON so the 17 time he added left him in 10th and a great comeback for Minnie. Happy Boy ploughed through the mud to win the 7 year olds World Championship at Le Lion d’Angers in October last year and was pretty pleased to be back out again with a 70% dressage and a cool double clear in his OI section.
Barbury dawned sunny, bright and breezy as opposed to the gale force winds of last week end which was nice. 11 horses were scheduled to run and it was a distinctly orange look at the big truck with several chestnuts out on parade. Jonelle was forced to bring the whiteboard from home to fit in all the times and Jess had made a chronological time order out as well which was pretty vital as in the new normal times have to be stuck too which is not really a Team Price thing!
Tim kicked of proceedings with Falco in the Open Novice and after a 28 dressage wowed the 2 volunteers ringside with his spectacular clear showjumping. A cruisey clear xc backed up his Blenheim form and he returned to his hay net a happy kid. Kroon Freddie is a new orange addition, owned by Joanne Pullan, and he is a dude of a horse who knocked out a 21 dressage followed by a double clear with 6.4 time for 8th in his novice section. We love Freddie! Moviestar ( Joey) is another new ride for Tim having been previously campaigned by Bella Lloyd Webber and he made his debut with Tim a cool one with a 33 and a double clear. There was a slightly disconcerting moment for Tim at the Stonehenge combination when Joey left a leg but, no matter how hard Tim tried to make us believe, we were so far away videoing on our mobile phones we failed to see the degree of drama that he re-enacted. It’s tough being an event rider sometimes!
Jonelle had a another new ride, Royal Roxey in the ON for a prep run and after a very smart 26 dressage and a single rolled pole Roxey made it very clear she was delighted to be back out on the cross country and took charge at several fences. Jonelle realigned the brakes a few times on the downward stretches but there was no denying the enthusiasm that Roxey felt by being back out.
Faerie Maginifo ( George) had his last outing at Le Lion d’Angers with Sammi Birch when Jonelle was pregnant with Abel. He is very smart on the flat and a 23 dressage backed this up before a nice showjumping round that just saw him tip a single rail and with no spooks down the treble showed how much he has grown up. He set off cross country full of beans but the bullfinch type fence 2 slightly caught him out and after an enormous leap which nearly jumped Jonelle off he landed a bit flat footed and then tripped at which point he decided to bolt which is a new trick and one that caught out both Jonelle and the woman he was bolting towards! Said woman having stepped smartly sideways he and Jonelle regained their composure and they both continued with a super round.
Jonelle and Curly Girl are a fiery combination but the 22 dressage was impressive and showed how hard they have worked. Just a rail before a super forward and galloping cross country was good enough for 10th and a tick in the box for progress made. Curly is a big hope for the future and she continues to pack in experience and mileage and come out better and better.
Killbunny Andy is another new acquisition and he and Jonelle made their debut in the Open Novice today. Produced by Olivia Craddock to intermediate he is also Orange which is not a go to of Jonelle’s but he is a dude of a horse with a smart brain and a certain knowledge of where his feet are. He was impressive today in all three phases with a 27 and a double clear and is certainly one for the future.
Gino Gingerino was having fun with Tayla Mason as the two have really built a relationship over the lockdown. Gino was competed by Tim initially, then taken over by Jonelle before Tayla and he really bonded over the last few months. Today was a good day to the start of their competitive partnership with a 31, a rail and a 10th spot in their section. Tayla’s own horse, Westlink ( Jive) was so excited to be out that a 44.8 in their 100 section is quite the score to pin on the wall and fair to say that Jive can do better! Lorenzo Monachesi has his 2 horses to compete as well and it was a sign of how busy things are at Mere Farm at present that he posted on the Marlborough Facebook page yesterday asking for any restaurants that would deliver some lunch to Mere Farm! Our wonderful Pinots Italian restaurant in Marlborough obliged….
So days 1 and 2 successfully done and dusted ( and it so much nicer than competing in March to be fair!) and another to go tomorrow. Its amazing to be back and incredible that the new norm looks pretty much like the old.And hats off to Tweseldown and Barbury for the taking up of the gauntlet for the opening events.
Tim and Jonelle were featured on BBC Breakfast this morning which is awesome for the sport… footage below.