Tweseldown 9th March
With near perfect timing Charlie Birch decided to put the brakes on Sammi's first outing of the year by developing some dodgy looking spots overnight. Sammi, ever the optimist, instantly assumed that it was chicken pox and decreed that since she could not "possibly" miss Tweseldown Ed would have to take the day off work and babysit said son. Ed had absolutely no intention of a day spent with Antique Hunters on the TV and a spotty child for company so promptly took him to nursery where one presumes he fired him out of the van at record braking speed and beat a hasty retreat.
Rocking up at Tweseldown in a little two horse truck instead of the luxury Lehel 6 horse with pop out (note to friends and owners, its no longer Sammi's so if you see it don't go charging in as you may not be welcome!) may feel like a downgrade to some but to Helen Tagg, supergoom et al, it was a delight as she duly noted that two horses is now the max each day! The Court Jester (Jester) is not a snob and he was quite happy to be out eventing again no matter how he got there but Hunter Valley (Gizmo) is a proper Aussie bloke and he was clearly not impressed. Big Utes, Monster 4 wheel drives and V8's are quite big on the average Australian outback top priority list and Giz found himself arriving at his first event in the equivalent of a Smart car. He clearly decided that if he was going to look like a prat he would behave like a prat. He did a nice enough dressage test having being tricky enough in the warm up with really annoying things like refusing to stand still to have his boots taken off and generally acting the brat and he did refrain from bucking Sammi off but to pull two rails in the showjumping was just plain rude! He was then even more unimpressed when Sammi cross county schooled him round the course for 34 time faults and spent the rest of the day sulking on the (little) truck.
Meanwhile Jester, who is the apple of Hel's eyes, is quite the goody two shoes which just makes Gizmo madder. Jester posed for selfies, strutted his stuff in front of the dressage judges for a 29, barely tapped a rail for 4 faults and then scorched round the cross country for 8 time faults and second place. Not that 8 time faults is really scorching but its pretty close to world land speed record for Sammi on the first run of the season!
What a great way to start the season for Sammi and for Jester and his loyal owners as he really had a horrible time for most of 2016 and its brilliant to see him make such a sterling comeback.
Oh, and it turns out that Charlie Birch does not have chicken pox. So a truly great end to the first days eventing of 2017!