A simply glorious day and having jogged up two sound and happy horses in the morning sunshine Tom had the showjumping to look forward to.
Strike Smartly ( Paddy) just missed the top 20 cut and jumped in the morning. He jumped some super fences but it was fair to say that at his first Badminton he was physically and emotionally tired in the showjumping and 4 rails was the result. In fact the same could be said of the whole of the morning session where Danni Evans was the only clear in time and that elevated her from 27th up 10 places to 17th!
Toledo de Kerser jumped in the afternoon session where the atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation. In the collecting ring he was drawing admiring glances, especially from the show jump coaches who were looking on enviously as their own charges didn’t have quite the same shape or scope! There is a huge amount of pressure riding such a careful horse as Toledo is a quirky one as well and Tom has to get the rhythm in just the right balance for him.
The round was without doubt the showjump round of the day. Jonelle Price and Classic Moet may have had the crowd gasping as she tapped her way round to win but Toledo and Tom brought the house down with a superb display. Ian Stark commented on the BBC that even he would come out of retirement to ride Toledo but I don’t see Tom giving him up anytime soon!
It was a fabulous Badminton with Toledo’d 7th place being Tom’s best placing to date and also being Toledo’s 4th double clear round a 4 star. I cannot imagine that Tom will not be part of the Team GB team for WEG in Tryon this summer and with the jumping being ever more important after the removal of the coefficient for the dressage its looking spot on for Tokyo as well… and Toledo is only 11!
Tom and Toledo also won the Cotwold Life trophy for the best Brit rider who has not represented their country on a senior team. Its actually thanks to Diesel for that as Tom was due to ride him at the Europeans at Malmo but having travelled out to Sweden Diesel ( Charlie) decided he didn’t much fancy it and went lame on Tom at the trot up! So Tom got to accept the trophy from his landlady. You may recognise her in the photo below.