On a sunny Saturday Tom set off for Chepstow which is an easy drive down the M4 and just over the Severn Bridge. Set within the grounds of Chepstow Racecouse it has the backdrop of the near derelict Piercefield House for the cross country which is set in rolling parkland and proved to be a very testing track this year!
Braveheart B was having his debut novice start and coped admirably with the step up! A 33 dressage was followed by 8 faults in the showjumping which was not at all uncommon throughout the day. The warm up was very low key and then the arena itself was small with some really spooky fillers and surrounded by quite busy tradestands and lots of people which was quite distracting for the young horses. The cross country was a real challenge for a first timer and coming home with just 20 penalties to add was a good start to a day when there were a fairly large amount of long walks of shame home!
Tom ended up triple handed in the NRF section with Splash of the Irish ( Dennis,who narrowly missed out at Nunney) and CHF Coolizer ( Eliza) and a catch ride called Kiwi as Sammi Birch was laid up with a bug at home. Dennis added just 0.4 to his 30 dressage for 2nd place and a guaranteed run at the Novice Championships at the Festival of Eventing in August. Eliza is already qualified for the novice Champs as she finished 2nd at Chatsworth CIC 1 star back in May but she had a good Intermediate novice run here for her first run back from Tatts adding just 6 time to her 35 dressage for 9th place.
Kiwi had a bit of an uphill task as it was his first intermediate novice and he also had a new rider on board! A 37, just 4 faults round the intermediate showjumping track and an annoying 20 cross country left them a bit off the pace but with just the 5 novice runs under his belt this year maybe the Championships might have come up a bit quick for him! No one pilots a catch ride as well as Tom so I am sure Kiwi went home with lots of positives under his belt.