It seemed like every top horse and rider ( those that were not at Kentucky!) made an appearance at Withington and the sections were dominated by well known combinations throughout the day. It’s always pretty windy on the top of the hill there but add in Storm Hannah and it takes it to a whole new dimension! There were plenty of semi wild dressage tests and a fair amount of neckstraps on show but the going was perfect as we have had some heavy rain this week and Jonelle described the revamped cross country track as “fantastic” which is high praise indeed.
Grovine de Reve ( Reve) kicked off the day with a very smart 25 dressage in his star studded OI section and as Jonelle says, they form more of a partnership “by the day”. They showjumped a very confident clear before skipping round the cross country to finish up in 5th place.
Cloud Dancer ( Marley) was “a little bit naughty” in the dressage but still scored a 27 in his advanced section. Marley and wind are never a great combination so it could have been much worse! The showjumping was a tough enough and Jonelle was very happy with his clear round.
Marley and Withington water have a bit of history as he has walked home from in it in the past. This year it was a new structure and at fence 16 Marley was well warmed up and had jumped very well. The angle of skinnies on the way out was not to his liking and he pulled off and once Marley has run off its nigh on impossible to get him back on line. There wasn’t really an alternative but Jonelle sort of made one up and at the third attempt got through it as she was pretty determined to bring him home through the rest of the flags. Carrying 60 jump penalties round an advanced is not something that you see on Jonelle’s card very often but Marley is pretty stubborn and he waited until the double of roll tops on an angle at the second last to duck out again and get eliminated.
To say that Jonelle was unimpressed is a bit of an understatement. Marley is a brat for sure but the most disappointing thing for Jonelle was that he has had a great build up, the going was perfect, it was a super track and she just cant find an excuse for him this time.
I really don’t think he likes Withington!