Aston Le Walls 21-23rd July
While the uber lucky of the event world got to hang out in Aachen ( hence the very late post!) the proletariat got to go to Aston for event number three of the season. Aston number three already! How time flies! ( When you are in Aachen that is!).
To be fair the Aussies had asked, no, almost begged Sammi to take Hunter Valley (Gizmo) to Aachen but since Sammi is a nice person who loves her horse she decided that he deserved a proper holiday after his heroics at Bramham so politely declined. I am not sure I have ever loved a horse enough to turn down an Aachen invite but there you are and so it was that Sammi, having done very little on the competition circuit for a couple of weeks, found her self at Aston with 4 rides.
D was happy to be out again and posted a 33 in his intermediate followed by 4 faults showjumping which, in Aston terms this weekend, was pretty awesome! There were the usual cricket scores with many horses not liking the surface and the distances ending up on the long side for the intermediates as the fences were not moved from the advanced. Whether the surface which is designed to withstand literally hundreds of horses over a weekend is somehow markedly different in feel to the horses is not clear but the score sheets for all the classes saw a higher than usual percentage of rails for sure. The cross country, however, was the usual amazing Aston track and with footing on the good, good to soft basis, a welcome thing in the middle of July. Aston never fail to impress! Anyway, D zipped round the cross country for just 7 time and he finished top 15. The Kincooley Ceili is proving himself to be the real deal and Sammi and owner Susan Lamb can be justifiably proud of such a cool dude... he effortlessly left all the fences up after a 70% dressage and picked up just 3 time for the runner up spot and a qualification for Gatcombe Intermediate Championships next year.
Sammi is adding catch riding to her list of things to do this season and although she only teems up with Kiwi at an event they have been fairly successful together at novice. Finding herself on him for his first intermediate run was not something that Sam had particularly thought out and after a 38 dressage where Kiwi thought it phenomenally exciting to have the cross country at the end of his arena she was quite sure this was not the best idea. But after just a rail and a cross country where Kiwi bust a gut to get around as well as he possibly could Sammi was very impressed with him. I am sure Kiwi has no idea just how lucky he is to have a jockey like Sammi to hold his hand round his first grown up track!
I like to leave the best til last but there is no fairy tale at the end of this blog. The Court Jester strutted his stuff as usual in the advanced dressage arena to come out with a stunning 26 and a big smile on his face. His showjumping round was not nearly as dramatic as the score sheet reads as for some unknown reason he got momentarily distracted and instead of taking off at a showjump he put down and then found himself in the middle of a heap of poles and upon realising that it was a bad decision got a bit spooked!
The 20 cross country has not so much of an excuse... it has become increasingly clear to those that love Jester that his heart is not really at the upper end of the eventing one day circuit, or destined for 4 star greatness and he can sniff out an advanced track pretty early on! Jester is an adorable horse who has the ability to pull out an amazing test every time, has scope and huge experience, is a genuinely good person but he just does not have the tenacity for the very top level! That makes him far nicer to look after than Gizmo but it also means that he may be better suited to a junior or young rider where he can pass on his veritable mileage to someone learning the ropes. Mind you, in order for his owners and supporters to even consider this it would have to be some sort of exceptional home... and we would also have to sneak him out from Rendcomb under cover of darkness to avoid Hels turning all suffragette on us!