Belton International 13-15th April

Well the unthinkable happened… a big event ran from start to finish and all the horses got their designated runs!  Friday wasn’t anything to write home about weather wise ( except to say it was not raining which is fairly notable in itself ) but on Saturday the sun came out and spring all of a sudden had arrived.  This dried up the few remaining puddles and made the footing as good as it has been all season.  No one had to put wellies on to walk the track and coats were finally shed from bodies for the first time since September!

Tom had a classy bunch of horses on his truck and as Royal Roxey came down the ramp she surveyed the stunning ( aka massive) Belton House and the surrounding parkland, saw herself with minions and staff in her dreams and decided to put her Princess dancing shoes on.  A 31 in the CIC 2 star followed by a single rail ( she couldn’t take her eyes off the house and was resolving to mention to the other Gatcombe residents that the Princess Royal’s house is quite surburban in comparison) and lost concentration for a second. Then she sped round the tricky enough cross country like a pro to add nothing else to her score and finished in the top 15 of a big class.

CHF Coolizer is not nearly such a snob and is a proper worker.  She posted a 33 dressage in her CIC 2 star at her second attempt at the level, picked up 4 faults in the showjumping and then made light work of her toughest start this spring for yet another clear round cross country to add to her 100% strike rate.  She really is a dude!

Figaro van het Broekxhof ( Fig) may have an unpronounceable competition name but he is all over the competition attitude and looks to be building a great partnership with Tom.  They posted a 32 dressage in a hot OI section and added nothing to that to finish runners up to a very posh French stallion ( Tenareze) who won Le Lion D’Angers as both a 6 and 7 year old with Thomas Carlisle.

And then it was the turn of the Badminton bound boys as Strike Smartly ( Paddy) and Toledo de Kerser ran in the CIC 3 star and the advanced respectively. Paddy gets more professional by the day and he posted a credible 32 in the three star test, pinged around the showjumping clear and just added 12 time to finish inside the top 20 in the Grantham Cup.  That sets him up beautifully for Badminton.

Toledo is a total pro and he thought the advanced class was magic!  He scored a flashy 29.8 on the flat, ate up the showjumping with his usual dazzling display and then set off cross country looking every inch the four star horse that he is.  The out of the coffin was very short and more than one horse had tried to bounce from the ditch to the angled brush and that was very much on Tom’s mind as Toledo is a very bold horse!  But he popped in a short one like the really experienced horse that he is and you can hear Tom praising him on the video clip below.

A very good Belton which always makes the long drive home on the Sunday night far more enjoyable.  The big boys head to Badminton next and the competitions should begin to recover now that the winter is finally over.