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  • Writer's pictureJacky Green

Gatcombe International 8th September.

Sammi was on fire at her local event on Friday and had a spectacularly good day with three runner up spots in three different classes. Or you could say she was pretty unlucky not to win three out of three depending upon your point of view!

The Court Jester was in the OI which was a hotly contested affair full of advanced horses and he posted a flashy 28 in the dressage which is what he normally does. The showjumping is always up to height and technical at Gatcombe and as Jester jumped the first half simply brilliantly Sammi could almost picture herself in the spa at Whatley Manor which is part of the first prize. Jester spoilt that nice day dream by then knocking two poles to add 8 to his score which was a bit of a shame to say the least. All was not lost however and Sammi and Jester sped round the twisty cross country track to pick up just 5 time and come 0.5. I think only Beanie Sturgess and Sammi and Jester made time all day! Irritating. No spa day for Sammi but more points on Jester's card and proves he is a truly competitive horse at this level.

I had not actually realised until yesterday that Kiwi not only looks the least likely NZ horse you will ever see so the origin of the name is a bit of a mystery it is also yellow. Quite a bright yellow too. Bright enough to stand out in the murky rain and grey day which was the morning weather at Gatcombe. But even though I am not a fan of palominos in general it has to be said that this gutsy little horse jumped an amazing round over a really solid track. Admittedly he has one of the best pilots on him but he still was quite spectacularly keen and careful. He and Sammi looked like they had so much fun cross country and I see why she rides him so fast.. he simply loves every minute of it and has a brilliantly sharp front end. I think that is Sammi's last ride on him this season but what a cracker of a horse... and now qualified for the Intermediate Championships at Gatcombe Festival next year! That would be fun!

The Kincooley Ceili is pure eventing class. Whereas Kiwi embodies the fun, zippy smart pony William is all power and grace. He did a lovely test, jumped a superb clear round and looked quite stunningly confident cross country around a course that caught allot of more experienced horses out. He was second to The Precious One and Zara Phillips... a horse that has a few years on him, has competed CIC 3 star and jumped 1m 50 pure jumping classes in Spain this spring with Tim Price. William is a genuine superstar in the making and when he gets to 4 star he is going to be a megastar.

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