Tim described the cross country at Tweseldown for the 100 as “a mini Badminton” (hence photo above of Kentucky 4 star!) and said there were “many furrowed brows amongst the pros” who had blithely entered their babies for an event running end of May with potentially lots of sunshine and drying ground. Tweseldown bore the brunt of three previous days of competition to be sure but to be fair I don’t think there is another event in the country that could have possibly run the last 4 days with not only the storms of this weekend to contend with but 10 days solid rain in the build up. Tweseldown, we salute you.
Eric Winter designs at Tweseldown and Jump 1 build. Eric is committed to building educational tracks that test the horse and rider at every level to check whether they are ready for the next step and Jump 1 build to a degree to rival if not outdo the Willis Bros. Fence decorations, ample brush, flowers on the fences… all of this is par for the course on a Jump 1 track.
All of the above is absolutely brilliant and takes Tweseldown to a rightly deserved next level. Just possibly one not for first time 100 horses which is what Tim and Tenz and Jonelle and Cooley Seeing Magic & Fernhill Kankan ended up being thanks to the changes in the calendar.
Tim was delighted with homebred Tenz, now owned by Suzanne and John Houchin and Nigella Hall. Susanne and John owned the dam, Molypia Z ,who Jonelle evented before she became a brood mare so it must have been a red letter day for them to see Tim out on him in public. Nigella Hall owns Tenareze who is the sire and who now, as a gelding, Harry Meade competes at advanced level. So it was a big day out for all and Tenz responded with a truly good attitude. He was gawping at everything during his first test amidst the boards and Tim said that whilst he trotted when he should have and cantered when he should have and jogged a bit in the walk most of the movements were hampered by his understandable desire to take in his surroundings ! Mere Farm is a quiet and rural place to grow up, a million miles to an event run either side of a main road and with horses and loudspeakers everywhere. He show jumped an impressive clear and dug deep to follow Tim’s instructions cross country being both bold and brave. A couple from home was a skinny brush arrowhead with no wings and Tenz did a drive by as he assumed it was a decoration. Tim was prepared for another couple of drive byes ( we have so been here before on course) but Tenz regrouped and popped it obediently the second time and then strode though the next combination of hanging log, ditch and house with his ears pricked. Needless to say Tim was delighted and I am sure his owners are too.
Jonelle had Cooley Seeing Magic ( Guthrie) for his first start at 100. Guthrie did some young horse classes in Ireland last year as a 4 year old which include cross country and he went on the Sunshine Tour this spring with Jonelle so he is actually way ahead of the other two on experience for a 5 year old. Jonelle described the the three days of Tweseldown as ” a battle of mental strength” as she had some mixed results and some appalling weather to deal with but she did acknowledge that it was educational for the horses to say the least. Guthrie went double clear with a 32 dressage which is fairly impressive….he found the show jumping a little small after Spain and Jonelle describes him as a “simple chap cross country, he is brave and honest” so she hacked him around for a good first experience and was really happy with him. Jo Pidduck must have been happy too!
Fernhill Kankan looks uncannily like Classic Moet ( Molly) and has the same busy busy brain. Molly was not easy as a young horse and Kankan echoes her personality! She is sharp, can spin like a top, has a sweet personality on the ground and strong opinions. Sounds familiar! But Kankan is 5 and Molly is now 18…. its a long route to the top but Molly made it thanks to Jonelle and I have no doubt that Kankan will be there too. For today a 34 test was the result of being terrified of the white boards so the first few movements were done mainly within 10 feet of them, a spooky showjumping which resulted in a rail and 1 time and a tactical withdrawal from the strong cross country! As Jonelle said, Kancan needed to come home with the ‘well that was easy” attitude as opposed to being traumatised by a good event she isn’t yet ready for!
So there ends 3 out of 4 days of Tweseldown. Its been a bit of a marathon for the crew but we now head into 3 day territory as well as one day which makes life even more complicated! And as the Tokyo Olympics looms ever closer the planning and strategy is all around that as well.