Pau CCI 4 star showjumping 29th October
The autumn sunshine shone down on Hunter Valley ( Gizmo) at the jog and, as always, Hels had him sparkling in the rays. He bounced down the jog strip and as Sammi commented, its a very nice feeling when you get the nod from the ground jury before you have even got to the end of the strip!
Time for breakfast and Sammi's camp joined in the traditional Kiwi gargantuan spread that has become a Sunday morning feature at Pau over the last few years. With scrambled egg, hash browns, sausages, spicy baked beans, bagettes and bacon on offer even Charlie Birch was stunned into silence at first glance! Ed Birch then surpassed even his own expectations by the amount of breakfast he consumed and I think it is safe to say he enjoyed it!
Sammi went and dug Shane Rose out of his lunchtime snooze to help her with the showjumping. Since Shane had tipped his pony up into a ditch the day before he was footloose and fancy free and was sleeping off the after effects of a couple of bevvies and some mountaineering in the party tent on Saturday night. He still proved to be a useful source of help though and when Sammi rode into the ring on Gizmo there was little doubt that she was going to jump one of the best showjump rounds they have done as a combination.
A perfect clear round moved them up another spot into 4th place and no one could have been happier than the Birch team. Double clear at a four star debut is amazing and Sammi's support team were beyond thrilled for her. It was such a well deserved effort and there was not an eventer on the site that was not happy for her.
Huge congrats to Lyndon and Jude McCleod as well..both of their homebreds were pretty spectacular!
The usual rather odd and raucous Pau prize giving followed with much cheering and crowd
participation. I am not entirely sure it was a great idea to combine the carriage driving prize giving with the eventing but as the horses finally filed out and the last of the packing was done it was time to begin the long drive home. The sun was setting on the 2017 event season and along with the usual ups and downs it is safe to say that Sammi is rightfully back at the very top of the sport which is exactly where she belongs.