Two horseboxes and 10 horses arrived in some style at Tweseldown and under Lucy Miles’s superb organisational skills a complicated afternoon of 9 intermediate horses against the clock was executed.

Gino Gingerino was the only novice and Jonelle had a fairly easy morning with just him. Gino clearly appreciated being the center of attention as he posted a 31 and added nothing to it to finish 4th in his section. More points for Gino and a happy Jonelle.

Faerie Dianimo ( Maggie May) hasn’t been out since Luhmuhlen last June and she was beside herself to be back.  Ever the eternal optimist Jonelle hopped on her and said  “I think today she will be good” which just made me laugh as the day that Maggie May is good in a field with no audience, no bling and no big screen is the day we know its time to retire her!  Sure enough she had a few moves of her own planned and whilst the first medium trot was beyond brilliant it kind of went downhill from then on with Maggie May also trialing a new trick, a sort of exaggerated extended trot but with rigidly straight front legs! Tim had the misfortune to be riding Happy Boy a few arenas down and never one to miss a trick, Happy spotted Maggie May and decided on throwing a few of his own ideas into the floorplan. Maggie May finished her freestyle and as usual hacked out of the ring on a long rein delighted with her performance. Happy got taken back to the truck in a more of a rolkur outline and decided to aim a kick at Lorenzo when he got back for good measure which wasn’t endearing him to anyone!

Maggie scored a 42 which I thought was incredibly generous and Happy a 36 which was pretty fair. Next out for Jonelle was Grappa Nera ( Grape) and her set of enthusiastic syndicate owners were also pretty sure Grape was going to pull one out of the bag today.  I was a tad more sceptical…. Grape is the closest thing to Maggie May Jonelle has in her stable in type, mind, jump and ability and I think its going to take a while longer before Grape starts punching out the great scores! Fair play to Grape though, she had a moment but recovered well so its definitely a work in progress and 33 was a pretty accurate reflection of where she is. Meanwhile Tim was entertaining the onlookers in the warm up with some of Ascona M’s (Ava) spectacular airs above the ground before she settled and did a super test for 25.7 in her OI section.

Compared to that crew Lime Rickey on a 29 and Grovine de Reve ( Reve) on a 30 were positively boring! They did lovely tests and behaved well.  Tim was quite relieved to have his Goody Two Shoes boy next with Spartaco wowing the judges with a 24.3 while Senza Fine showed how much she has improved over the winter just behind him on a 24.6.  Falco also did a lovely test for a 30 and the dressage saddles were put away as the crew at the truck went into overdrive swapping horses around.

The showjumping was causing carnage with poles flying in all directions and anything but a seriously good jumper finding jumping off the dead sandy ground over an unusually unflowing track pretty tough.  Both Senza and Spartaco showed that the Sunshine Tour had made them proper horses with two super clears, and there were only 6 clears in their entire intermediate section! Grape was slightly unlucky to catch a rail as she jumped brilliantly and Reve was also trying his best when he just caught a back rail. The serious jumping team of Maggie May, Ava and Falco were all simply brilliant and Rickey, in just his third intermediate start, found it quite tough but brazened it out for just a rail.

The cross country was causing plenty of problems too and Tim described his rides as “really making me work cross country” as there were plenty of surprises for the horses en route. Happy certainly got a shock when he rounded a bend and saw a hole in the ground in front of him with a table beyond it. He slammed on the brakes and shoved his head on the floor to get a better look before jumping it from a standstill which was not a bad thing at his age and stage but it earned him a 20 which was a shame as he really did man up round the rest of the course! Falco put his grown up hat on and skipped around for a clear and 6th place, Senza and Spartaco both added a chunk more experience to their cv’s and despite racking up 18 and 21 time faults finished 7th and 8th in their sections which just shows how tough it was. Ava just used it as an excuse to show off which meant she was able to fling Tim round like a rag doll which she found much to her amusement.

Maggie May looked like she was going to burst with excitement at the start and she nailed her round although she was a tad disappointed not be going a whole lot quicker. Grape was the machine that she is and was brilliant, Reve discovered that Jonelle requires 100 per cent of his attention cross country as he was finding it pretty easy and thought a spot of gazing at the trade stands was in order as he went through the water before realising that shopping was not an option! Rickey really did concentrate and earned himself a gold star for the way that he tackled by far the toughest track he has had to negotiate to date.

It was a long day but the sun mostly shone, enough of Tweseldown’s sand made it into every nook and cranny of us and the tack as well as the trucks and the cars and a huge band of owners had fun. Lorenzo had more sand than the rest of us attached to him as he had been the casualty of the day when he faceplanted off a very surprised Euphorie ( Penny)  which was a shame as I think he had studded up about 300 horses feet during the day. He gave a really good account of how it had happened until Tim interpreted that in fact, it was a rather over ambitious angle that Lorenzo had been tackling when Penny ended up with her head in the dirt in landing!  Happy Days!