Bicton International 20-22nd April.

GBR-Tom McEwen rides Toledo De Kerser during the Showjumping. Final-4th. 2017 GBR-Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Sunday 3 September. Copyright: Libby Law Photography

Events are either cancelled in droves or they suddenly all run at once.  The sun came out, the temps resembled summer, the UK was warmer than Marbella ( I have proof of that!), the ground started to dry out and in an amazing week Mother Nature suddenly caught up on being three weeks behind.  Literally just a few buds on the trees 10 days ago and now in full leaf! Dandelions gone mad on the verges and the usual rather undignified spectacle of the great unwashed who strip down to the minimum when the sun comes out displaying far too much ample flesh.

Anyway, enough of Swindon and back to eventing.  Tom, like all of the event world, had thrown every horse and his dog at Belton with 10 entries.  He would have entered 15 but he generally does not BE90.  Actually I don’t think he ever has!  So Friday saw the team McEwen head south with 5 horses along with half of the UK who went ” Yay, Summer, lets go to Devon and Cornwall for the weekend” as they do.

Bicton and sunshine is a good mix and Miranda Collett, the simply amazing event entries secretary was swapping horses from class to class and taking entries off the waitlist up until the day before.  This is incredible and so appreciated, we know how hard the event secs have worked in the last few weeks and we really are very grateful.

Tom had a huge bunch of youngsters with Toledo de Kerser the lone advanced  horse in amidst them.  He obviously wanted a nice quiet run after Belton to set him up for Badminton so a smart 25 dressage  and a double clear did just that.  Bicton had more star studded sections than ever and Toledo was not the only Badminton bound pony strutting his stuff!

If the young horses were glad to be out and about then they hid it well.  Braveheart B ( Dougie) was chilling to finish on his dressage score of 33.8 for 6th in his novice, Dream Big ( Dreamy) belied her TB status to post a 33 and finish on that for 8th, while Cassiana de Riverland  ( Cassie) was a superstar to finish 2nd in her 100.  Colibri de Riverland was a bit further behind but he also posted a double clear for a great start to 2018.

Sunday saw the return of the Grockle bashers and a whole new heap of ponies!  I know Dreamaway ( Dreamer) and that was a smart 70% test , a rail and a speedy clear for 6th, but Fort McMurray ( Murray) is a new one on me… Tom has clearly bought him so he is destined for good things for sure! A 30.3 test with nothing to add was good enough for 4th in his 100.

Gladstone is a novice of Zara Tindall’s that Tom was riding for the outing and after a bit of a baptism by fire at Waregem 1 star last with year with Zara (who she obviously took along to make up the numbers with her CIC 3 star ride) Tom did a nice job of competing with a 32, a rail and a clear cross country. Nasdaq High ( Bodie) is a bit of a character  but went well for  a 33 and a rail and clear in his ON section.

And I admit total defeat on Match My Class who did a 39 and went double clear in the novice.  I apologise to connections as I don’t have the info on this ride!

Badminton beckons with just Withington to go.  Oh, and another marathon at Aston Le walls who have amazingly put on an ” emergency” 90, 100 and novice next Tuesday and Wednesday to cover the abandoned Whitfield.  You have to love our sport, here is a wealth of amazing people behind the riders and that is simply fabulous.