The full compliment of 5 horses for Tom to ride at Upton House on Wednesday and with another sunny day it was slightly inevitable that the ground was on the firm side which meant steady runs for the whole crew. It’s quite understandable at this time of year but what was disappointing was that last year the Upton team went all out in the middle of a drought to produce stunning going whereas this year was more of a “let nature take its course” kind of approach. On the plus side it was equally as firm from start to finish so the horses didn’t hit a boggy patch anywhere!
The whole range of experience was on view with Coilibri de Riverland (Coilibri) and Brookfield Benjamin Bounce (Bounce) contesting just their second intermediate, Lordships Graffalo ( Walter) his third through to No Excuse ( Jimmy) who has been 4 star and Bob Chaplin ( Bob) who is also advanced.
Bob was the smartest on the flat for the day with a 22.7 in his OI section and he added 4 faults showjumping before a nice steady run up and down the hills of Upton. Jimmy also found the dressage pretty cruisey for a 29 and he also picked up 4 faults in the showjumping before enjoying an easy cross country run. Its a good track at Upton with plenty for the young horses to learn about but also enough to make it worth running the more experienced horses round.
Coilibri really did pull out all the stops for his second go at this level and a 31 test was followed by a double clear and even adding 14 time left them in 5th slot which is fairly impressive! It was good to leave the “showjumping of doom” at Farley well and truly behind! Bounce was most definitely not going to be left trailing in his wake and he also pulled out all the stops for a 33, a rail and another clear cross country which was a really good effort! He was dazzling white in the sunshine which is all credit to Lucy as she mentioned he had had about 4 baths in order to get to that stage as he is a grubby little thing left to his own devices. Its probably a survival thing as to be fair to Bounce when he is scrubbed that clean he would be the predators pick on a dark night!
Walter was another to relish the challenge and after a 33 dressage he jumped a very grown up double clear adding 16 time to finish in the top 10. Tom has had fun riding Ros Canter’s beautifully produced horses this season and will be sorry to hand them all back when she takes up the reins again.
So more boxes ticked as we hit the halfway point of the season and begin to gear up for the second part where hopefully all the plans come together. Having Figaro van het Broekxshof listed for the European Championships was a goal that no one forecast back in the midwinter when plans were being made so hopefully there are a few more surprises like that to come!