Tom took two horses to the Cotswold team chase on a mild but misty Sunday. His first ride ( which unfortunately we missed seeing!) failed to get the landing gear out and went down but apparently Tom hung on grimly round his neck for some 50 yards before admitting defeat to gravity and remounting. This presented another problem as Tom had not walked the course and his fellow team mates had disappeared into the fog! Tom finally crossed the finish line some minutes after the rest of his team and returned to wash off the mud and tack up his second ride which was The Magician (Mars).
Mars then bronced off down the car park when Tom mounted which was fairly amusing to say the least. Mars is a beautiful looking bay horse with plenty of star quality but he is certainly not an amateur plod! His fellow team mates were equally well mounted with Rodney Powell riding the magnificent New Zealand TB, Zinzan, who at 20 years old had by far the best manners of any of them. Zin has a Boeklo win as well as a couple of Badminton’s under his belt and he looked delighted to be team chasing even if his first love these days is hunting. Harry Meade had Tenareze who won back to back Le Lion D’Angers world 6 and 7 year old championships a couple of years ago and Jonty Evans was mounted on a lovley looking horse whose only fault seemed to be that it was exceedingly nappy and Jonty was not averse to giving it away at one point to any takers in the car park!
The team name was The Olympians which was slightly misleading as Rodney went to Sydney Olympics in 2000 but broke his leg before the start of the competition, Harry Meade and Tom have’nt actually made it to one yet and only Jonty ticked the box in Rio! However, something about if they wore saddle cloths with Team Flags they would be given a free entry was enough to make them enter a team!
It has to be said that they were less frightening to watch than some of the other teams although Harry may have missed his vocation in the army as he shouted instructions and directions in a very military manner during the round. The horses all went brilliantly and they picked up the second fastest time of the day out of some 35 teams which was a fabulous result. Except that they had entered the Bogey Time intermediate so were some 30 seconds too fast to even pick up a lower placing!
Highlights of the day were a great picnic prepared by Ali McEwen and Alex Franklin, champagne and chocolates provided by Rosie Meade and a reminder that once staff always staff…. despite some 25 years having passed since I worked for Richard and Tiddles Meade Tiddles did not hesitate to hand me her dog and her empty glass when she had no need for either!