Belton International 1st & 2nd April
As always with Belton it was a mixed weekend! Its the first international of the year and the first event where the atmosphere is jacked up as befits an event where the top eventers and horses all vie for the big classes.
At least Sammi had a shiny new horsebox to travel in as they had found one in Essex literally 24 hours before they had to depart for Belton. Ed was despatched to the far East of England to collect it and I presume that Hunter Valley ( Gizmo) in particular was delighted to see that normal service had been resumed as far as travel arrangements go and that must have put a smile on his wicked face.
Nimrod did a very respectable 31 in his intermediate section before picking up 8 faults in the showjumping. Rod is an exceptionally careful horse and has never picked up 8 faults in his career before so of course you can imagine the mood that this put Sammi in! Rumours of quitting the sport, getting too old, the usual over reaction of a top professional sportswoman! Anyway, Sammi spent a considerable amount of time and hard earned cash on the phone to Australia and then emerged from the truck and rode a fabulous round on Nimrod over a track that caused heaps of problems, especially at the somewhat notorious fence 17 which Nimrod simply skipped through. Boxes all ticked and Sammi moved onto Jester back on form.
Jester did a flashy test for a 44 in the CIC 2 star which put him right up amidst the leaders. He then rolled a pole and picked up a couple of time faults in the showjumping which was a shame but not the end of the world and Sammi set out cross country in a pretty confident mood. Jester had skipped round Gatcombe the weekend before and they had a great run until they came to .... fence 17. There is no other way to describe Jester's run out as simply naughty and he annoyed Sammi as for once she did not blame herself but felt that Jester had let the side down. Picking up just 4 time despite the drive by showed how well they were travelling and I am not sure even Hels could defend Jester this time! Jester heads off to Burnham Market CIC 3 star next weeknd so hopefully he will put his brave pants on and redeem himself!
Now the mood on the long drive home all depended upon Gizmo. Gizmo showed his appreciation of his nice new conveyance by posting a 44 in the CIC 3 star which left him right up there in a hugely competitive Grantham Cup, skipped round the showjumping for a beautiful clear and then cruised around the cross country for just 4 time which was just what Sammi needed! Justifiably proud of her speedy CIC rounds Sammi said she wasn't even trying to go fast which just shows how classy her cross country riding is. They finished in 13th place out of 99 CIC 3 star starters and even more excitingly their score of 49 was only 6 marks off the winning score 12 places ahead of her!
Gizmo has bought himself a little mini break after that performance and so will not make the trip to deepest Norfolk for Burnham Market in 2 weeks. Undoubtedly he will show his appreciation by bucking Sammi off after his week off but that is why he is so special. Or special needs, I can never quite decide!
annoyed Sammi as annoyed Sahas enough experience on his card to have made that a very simple fence for him.