Two trucks and 8 horses for Team Price at Upton and another early start. Upton also had an odd way of doing the sectioning which meant that one of the OI sections ran at the end of the day so Tim did three horses in full and then had to start all over again with dressage for Xavier Faer ( Hugo). Slightly unmotivating to say the least! Although to be fair it seemed to work to his advantage as Hugo had all day to snooze to make up from his 4am start and by the time Tim had done all the other horses (and the SJ ring running just a little bit late) he was really short of time for Hugo’s dressage warm up! It was a fair hike over to the white boards and Tim commented that “Hugo warms up best in straight lines… it’s the turning that’s the tricky bit!”. Since Hugo resembles a cruise ship at the moment as he is carrying so much weight from his summer holiday I totally get it!
Anyway, the judge was far kinder than me and awarded Hugo a 23 which is a very nice way to come back from your foray over the pond to Kentucky. He then added a double clear to his sheet picking up 20 time across country and finishing the day off nicely for Tim.
Much, much earlier Ringwood Sky Boy ( Ozzie) had made his return from Badminton and of course, being the pro he is, he snuck out a 22.7 in his section before jumping double clear with some 27 time cross country. Ozzie is like a fine wine that just gets better with age….I am sure Varenna Allen would agree with me! It was also good to see that unlike Hugo Ozzie has not let himself go and looked as lean and fit as ever!
Two very different intermediate rides for Tim followed with two really outstanding young horses. Senza Fine is fresh back from her break after Tattersalls and she has boundless energy at the best of times! She is a super kind character and it was good to see her so thrilled to be back out…she contained herself for a 28 dressage and was so enthusiastic in the showjumping she paid the price with a rare rail before loving the cross country as always adding 23 time and zero jumping.
Spartaco is a different type of horse. He is a beautiful dapple grey and whilst he too was having his first start since Tatts he shows his freshness in a different way. Outwardly he looks very smooth and dapper but focus is what he lacks when he is on his toes! He was bright enough in his dressage to score a 33 which is way off the pace for his normal mid twenties and then jumped an immaculate clear despite veering away from the commentators box between 3 and 4 when they made him spook as they started to talk as they passed him! As always he found the cross country a breeze and added 24 time with a clear round.
The time penalties were racking up at Upton due to a few factors. It is a hilly track which is great for fitness but it was also warm enough that the horses were puffing a bit as they came home! Horses just back from a break don’t need to run quick and the main factor was that after last years Herculean effort when Upton managed to lay on some of the best going we had all year in a summer of drought they had done disappointingly little this time. Its a shame as its a nice event with a good course and very few riders were prepared to go fast on firm ground with talented horses.
Jonelle’s day consisted of two intermediates coming back from Tatts and one lovely old friend in Kindred Spirit ( Joey). Lime Rickey found Tatts quite the step up and Jonelle had to ride her butt off cross country to keep going and all credit to him that he did despite dropping a pin which no one was complaining about! So it was really great to see that he has come back from the experience and his holiday on such good form with a 30.7, a single rail on the rather sparsley decorated showjumping and a solid clear cross country. He is one that likes his own company and was happy to hang out with his haynet for the rest of the day as he has a habit of kicking his mates which is not really uber friendly!
Grappa Nera ( Grape) is as feisty as they come and she did well to contain herself for a 35 dressage which is a pretty good effort after a holiday! She then pinged around the showjumping and was anchored by Jonelle cross country to pick up 18 time which was really not her plan ( Grape’s that is!) but needs must when you are planning for a big future!
Last ride of the day was Joey for Jonelle and he beat our prediction of a 31 test by 0.5 of a mark, just tipped a rail and even going slowly cross country added just 12 time as he finds it simply so easy. He is loving running round OI’s while he awaits his forever home person to come along and looks as happy as I have ever seen him, not to mention physically really strong.
Footnote goes to Lorenzo Monachesi who works so hard at Mere Farm and he did a super job with his mare Euphorie ( Penny) in her intermediate section. 70% in the dressage for a 30, just a single rail in the showjumping and he was sent out cross country with strict instructions to move Penny along as she is currently for sale and a nice placing always helps with that! Valentino Rossi clearly has nothing to worry about from his fellow countryman as Lorenzo managed to pick up more time than even Tim did on Ozzie! And when Tim goes xc on Ozzie at a one day it is usually on the picnic route….