Photo Credit: www.uptowneventing.co.uk
Tom and Judith Luff’s Watkins
After some doubt early in the week Tweseldown put on a Herculean effort to get the show on the road and give eventers their first start of the season. Last Saturday the whole venue was under a foot of snow with drifts blocking the road access completely. The team hastily re routed the cross country track and moved the showjumping to the dressage field and they were rewarded with a star studded field of international horses and riders for the opening day which was mostly for OI and intermediate horses with a few 100’s in the morning.
Tom has about 300 horses running over the course of Tweseldown. His current string of 17 has been swelled with the addition of some of Zara Tindall’s horses as she is pregnant with her second child and with Tom being based at Gatcombe it was the obvious answer to the question. BGS Class Affair is one of Zara’s up and coming advanced horses and with a 35 dressage, a rolled pole at fence 2 in the showjumping and a steady clear cross country it was all boxes ticked for the day. Royal Roxey is a princess in every sense of the word and her initial view of a cold and distinctly winter bare Tweseldown was not what she was expecting after the glitz and glamour of her last outing at the Sweden International Horse Show in Stockholm. She flicked her toes for a 33 dressage but simply drew the line at getting them out of the mud in the showjumping and put that in the too hard box. Or maybe the “couldn’t be arsed box” to be fair. She came out of the showjuming looking sufficiently smug which meant she knew that had scuppered any chances of having to run cross country while Tom looked faintly shocked at the level of her duplicity as he swapped horses and numbers! Ah well, it was International Women Day, I guess Roxey was just exersizing her girl power! Her blushes are also spared on her record as it was recorded that she was withdrawn from the showjumping so its a win win for Roxey!
Next up for Tom was Zara’s NZ TB Watkins who was having his first outing in a year due to some time out. Watkins has never been the biggest fan of dressage and a score of 36 was perfectly acceptable in the grass arenas. After some lovely jumps in the warm up Zara mentioned to Tom that “he may light up in the arena as he hasn’t been out for so long” and Tom cantered quietly in, approached the first fence in a soft rhythm and Watkins promptly booted it out! After that they jumped a super round which made us all laugh… Video below.
CHF Cooliser ( Eliza) is a stunning young horse and after a 33 dressage she found herself in the showjumping with the ground becoming pretty dead after all the other classes had had a trip round on it. Melting snow saturates the ground in a way that leaves it with no spring or bounce and it was no fault of her own that for the first time in her career she picked up 12 faults. As always, the ground on the cross country held up much better and Eliza skipped around for a fun clear over the track which was well built but also being straightforward enough, perfect for the time of year when many horses have not even been able to get out to school cross country.
A busy day with the novices tomorrow for Tom….lets hope that the ran stays away!