After Tokyo Olympics and the advanced horses at Le Pin au Haras there is always a proper down to earth moment and WWEC comes along at that crucial time in the calendar when the babies either come back out or have their first start and it never fails to disappoint!
It is awesome to be a part of the 4 and 5 star international journey but nothing makes me laugh more than watching the pros on the young horses. Tim had a pretty easy time of it with just 2 rides on Tuesday, the first of which was homebred Tenz who is half owned by Suzanne Houchin ( who also owned his mother, Molypia Z who evented with Jonelle) and half owned by Nigella Hall who also owns the stallion, Tenareze, who is ridden by Harry Meade. Tayla Mason has had a few starts on Tenz whilst Tim has been away and after a 28 dressage Tenz added just 5.2 time cross country to his score which was very credible.
Gurtera Jimmy Clover (Jimmy) came over from Ireland as Jonelle’s ride from owner Michael McGrath but he is much more of a boys ride due to his considerable size and he and Tim have gelled very happily. British Eventing rather harshly awarded him 45 eventing points which puts him over half way through intermediate so he has had to do a few novices HC ( you could do Open Novices but if that class is on a different day then its not worth running 1 horse in it so HC it is!) and is actually very close to advanced on points now. Jimmy scored a 25 on the flat and added just 5 time to it proving that he is more than ready to take the step up to the next level next time with Tim.
This was not an easy couple of days for Jonelle! Yesterday started off ok with Full Monty de Lacense (FM) scoring a slightly harsh 35 on the flat but then jumping double clear with just 2.8 time for 8th spot. Fernhill Kankan then scored a 31 and showjumped clear before Jonelle set out cross country and as she turned right to fence 2 her rein slipped undone on the right hand side which left her no option but to circle slowly left until she could pull up. Kankan is a bit funny on the right rein anyway so when Jonelle managed to swing forward and grab the right rein Kankan took offence so at that point Jonelle dropped the left rein! At this point Jonelle called for help and a steward kindly came over and sorted the tack malfunction and Jonelle continued on her way. And that is how she accrued a clear in a record breaking 56.8 time penalties! What is truly laughable though is that the stewards were waiting for her at the finish and informed her that she was 1 min 57 over the time and if she had been 2 mins over she would have been eliminated. All of which is pretty pointless as lets face it, the 56 time faults dropped her to the bottom of the class anyway! They then, in classic form, informed her that she had employed ” outside assistance” by calling for help. In this day of Health and Safety its unbelievable that asking for help whilst sitting on a 5 year old in the middle of the XC with one rein is an offence! Sometimes you just couldn’t make it up.
Whilst Jonelle (finally) returned to the truck muttering under her breath about which staff member had failed to secure the rein when they attached it Tim was busily packing his bag up and looking forward to a day at home on Wednesday. Jonelle had another 3 today and with 2 first timers it wasn’t going to be plain sailing!
Lets start with the good bit…the little ( well big actually) star that is Cooley Seeing Magic ( Guthrie). He is a big lad but he is quite the performer and a 28.5 dressage with just 1.6 to add was good enough for 8th spot, some prize money and a well earned pat from Jonelle. Guthrie is a proper rosette machine and he looked like an old timer at the truck next to his 2 off siders who alternatively had their eyes out on stalks or were fighting sleep they were so exhausted. Meet Dromgurrihy Gold (Dara) who also hails from Ireland and Michael McGrath and Faerie Deodoro (Milo Jnr) whois famously out of Faerie Dianimo (Maggie May) and was born by ET when Maggie May was at Rio Olympics. The venue for the eventing was at Deodoro hence his name. Milo Jnr has a huge rep being out of a dynasty of 5 star superstars and big things were expected.
Dara, meanwhile, also on his first start is a completely different kettle of fish. He looks a bit like the equine equivalent of Jeremy Clarkson’s Irish girlfriend Lisa, all legs and bling with a white blaze and white socks and a very sweet nature. Dara scored a 35 on the flat, just caught a rail and went clear cross country with what Jonelle described as “just a couple of moments” which is Jonelle speak for a near death experience that actually panned out OK. When I saw Dara at the truck after Dressage and Showjumping he was struggling to stay awake and when Jess tacked him up for XC he was astounded that for some unknown reason this day appeared never ending. He is a really cool addition to the team and when he grows into his giraffe body he is going to be quite the sight.
Meanwhile, supposed superstar in the making Milo Jnr was heading down the road previously trodden by Tom Hank’s son. For those not in the know, Chet Hanks is the son of Hollywood legend and universally known nice guy Tom Hanks and who has turned out to be a right twat. He is currently trying to be a rapper and despite his very white and very wealthy LA upbringing has developed a form of speech based on Jamaican patois which is rather bizarre. Our own Milo Jnr looks sensational, dapple grey with a very cute head and definitely baby supermodel looks. A 40.8 dressage mark belies his talents in that phase and he actually had 4 down showjumping although the judges gave him 3 down which was nice of them. He looked at everything except the fences and generally acted as though he had never seen white man before let alone been off the property. The route to fence 1 cross country was an interesting one as he basically put the brakes on as he left the start box but Jonelle manfully persisted and after the 20 survived a sticky jump at fence 2. After that she disappeared into the distance and I saw a glimpse of what looked like her landing in halt but apparently was landing splat on a fence. They regrouped when they got lapped by a grey cob but the water en route home signalled stop no.4 and Milo got to trot home bypassing the few remaining fences which he thought was far more sensible. He then looked quite simply beautiful at the truck afterwards like the original supermodel…. pretty but pretty useless!
Poor Milo Jnr… we know from past experience that the Brockenhurst boys take a while. Xavier Faer ( Hugo) was brought into the stables in a wheelbarrow as a foal as he forgot how to walk. His BE 100 career was appalling until Beanie Sturgess took him hunting and he now has a third at Badminton, a third and second at Kentucky under his belt and heads out to Maryland for Fairhill 5 star this autumn. As in life the boys just take a bit longer to click on to it than the girls!
But on the plus side..it’s so much more fun to write about than the wins!