Aston Le Walls, Wednesday


The crowds and the parading and the prize givings….. along with the frustration and the what-may-have-beens…. seem a long time ago when the team are back on the road and heading off to Aston Le Walls for two days of competition in the pouring rain!

It would have made Badminton an entirely different competition had this rain come on Saturday but the ground at Aston needed it even if the riders didn’t. It’s really not much fun riding in the rain but its even more annoying when you are working out of a truck where everything throughout the day gets progressively muddier! Hats off to the support team as always.

Aston is many things ; it is an educational run, a step up for many horses into the next division, an easy early season run for the more mature horses and we expect big classes and not too taxing tracks.  The showjumping is always up to height and technical which it can be on the surface but this spring the cross country was a bit beefed up form normal and there were more scatterings of 20’s across the board in the intermediate sections than normal!

Dream Big ( Dreamy) is a proper working girl and a 34 dressage is about average for her on the flat as she isn’t a big flashy mover.  Her thoroughbred blood comes to the fore in the cross country though and after just adding 4 faults in the showjumping she flew around the cross country for just 2 time and 6th spot.

Lordships Graffalo ( Walter) is much more of a poser on the flat and he posted a 26 in his section before also just adding 4 in the jumping. Walter is just 7 and this is his 2nd intermediate start so he most absolutely can be forgiven for his 20 on the cross country as he is, quite sensibly, not a fan of roofs on fences. I mean it makes perfect sense to me, smart horses don’t risk smashing their heads when they jump a big spread.  Walter decided to give it a miss, Tim suggested that that wasn’t really an option and it’s all part of his learning curve and he certainly would have had plenty to think about after this run!

Rehy Royal Diamond ( Bling) is a year older at 8 and he already is just a few points off advanced. He is a different type of horse and has a solid partnership with Ros Canter and is just beginning to build one with Tom. Their 20 cross country was a simple miscommunication between horse and rider after posting a 70% dressage and the obligatory 4 faults in the jumping. Walter may overthink things slightly whereas Bling is more of a head first think afterwards sort of chap and he doesn’t always make the best decisions!

You have good days and bad days and wet soggy cold days…here’s hoping that its a drier day at Aston on Thursday before the team head north for Chatsworth at the weekend with some sunshine forecast… now that would be nice!