Photo Credit: www.uptowneventing.co.uk
I should mention Great Witchingham first as Tom managed to get a late entry in for Strike Smartly (Paddy) and Toledo de Kerser after the cancellation of all Sunday’s classes at Aldon last week. Flogging all the way to Norfolk for two horses is not usually in any ones plan but it gave them the invaluable first start of the season around a good track. Paddy made it a great start with a 27 and a double clear for 3rd place in the AI and Toledo posted a 28 and a double clear in the OI as well. Tom did mention that Toledo is simply in a class of his own when it comes to going cross country and no doubt that helped him with the 5 hour drive home after a 3am start!
Saturday’s competition at Gatcombe was abandoned around 7 am so all the owners that had come re routed 200 yards down the track to Tom’s yard where they had a great time watching their horses work. Sunday, much to everyones relief, did run although the rapidly drying ground did get tackier as the day wore on. Tom had 5 rides so I am sure he didn’t notice the sharp wind like we did but although it was a busy day for him it was also a good one!
Competing at home is always tough and it can go either way… really well or not very well! Royal Roxey showed her true Princess style and was absolutely beside herself to be hosting a party at home. She danced around the dressage arena for a 27, pinged out of the mud which she had so loathed at Tweseldown in the showjumping for just 4 faults and then sped around the cross country on top form to win her Open Intermediate section. So Roxey!
CHF Coolizer was also dead impressed to be a hostess for the day. Apparently last time she was left out of the party and was so mad that whilst she was being lunged at home she escaped and galloped up the drive to join in on her own. This time Eliza was determined to make the most of it and she did this by looking at as much as she possibly could whilst also trying to negotiate the tricky showjumping. Not unsurprisingly this lack of concentration resulted in 12 faults being added to her 28 dressage score so instead of enjoying the limelight like Roxy she was relegated to a very steady cross country for 30 time and 20th place!
Figaro Van Het Broekxhof thankfully has the nice and simple stable name Figgy. He and Tom were making their debut together and they learnt lots about each others style which was good enough for a top 10 placing in the OI. A smart 30 dressage, a couple of rolled poles and a happy round cross country looked to see them well on track for bigger and better things in the future.
Tom then had Zara Tindall’s two advanced horses in the AI. BGS Class Affair and Tom look like they have already struck up a great partnership and a 32 followed by a double clear was good enough for 9th. Watkins is a more complicated fellow and he did not find the tacky going in the showjumping much to his liking ( and the end of the day AI really did have the worst of it!) so added 12 faults but then had a fun run cross country.
So a good day with 5 rides all in the top 20 and a smiling Roxey who picked up the win. Never, ever underestimate a woman on a mission…when Roxey decides that her public awaits she is quite the diva!