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  • Jacky Green

Gatcombe Park 25-26th March.

Photo: Credit to Helen Tagg who likes her headshots of Jester and D!

Gatcombe would be one of Sammi's closest events so she pretty much took her entire string there. 5 horses over 2 days with no horsebox.. Ed is diligently searching for one but his obsession over having a pop out ( he maintains it's pretty much vital with a toddler but I am not entirely sure that is his motivation for one) left me to suggest he simply sat in someone else's truck at events and watched Sammi out of the window.

Saturday kicked off with a great result for Susan Lamb's The Kincooley Ceili (William). A 29 dressage backed up with a speedy double clear left them in 4th spot and elevated their BE points tally to 18. Sunday was a bit more complicated with 2 little trucks and 4 horses but with the sun shining it made for a great day out. Sammi abandoned her husband and small child in the early hours of the morning and then rode her socks off all day.

D was the absolute star of the intermediates with a 32 test and a stunning showjump round where he looked as though he had wings. He then zipped round the technical and decent enough cross country boldly to finish in 7th spot with just 12 time. Nimrod (Rod) also strutted his stuff for a 29 dressage, a very classy clear showjumping an an unfortunate run out at the second of the double of corners cross country when he never even locked onto it. After that Sammi described him as " really cool and classy " which was good to hear.

The Court Jester was obligingly good on the flat for a 28 in his OI section which left him in 2nd or 3rd place in a very competitive section and one which he would have won had he not rolled a pole show jumping. Of course Hels still congratulated him with polos whilst amusing herself by poking Hunter Valley ( Gizmo) through the bars of the truck with a sharp stick when he kicked and generally behaved like the brat he is. Jester then visibly thrilled his entourage of owners with a very bold and confident run cross country for just 6 time and 3rd place. We had a fair amount of time to watch the cross country while we waited for Sammi and Jester as it seemed she had popped home for a cup of tea between the showjumping and the next phase and in between watching horses and riders of varying ability it was also quite amusing to watch the parents of young children attempting to control them. Ed was doing a commendable job with a decidedly grumpy Charlie but I think I would have tasered a few of the others as "Come Back Here" seemed to be mostly ignored. Ed then blotted his copybook by nearly strangling the dog on the way back to the main arena as it seems dog, lead, pram, child and wheels are quite the lethal combination. Sammi then rocked up for approx 30 seconds on the way to jump Gizmo, fired some accusations at Ed, queeried his parenthood skills, claimed she was simply worried, pulled a very odd sort of gurning face at Charlie which I can only think must have been quite disconcerting for him as she loomed into the pram and then went back to her day job.

Gizmo then completed a seriously good day with a 27 dressage in the advanced intermediate, a clear round over the poles and a brilliantly easy peasy cross country round for 6th place in the AI. It really was a truly great couple of days and all the horses looked happy and sparkled in the sunshine. We will send Nimrod off to Specsavers this week and then we should be all set for Belton next weekend.

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