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  • Jacky Green

Swalcliffe... the start of the season.

It would be fair to say that Sammi was not sleepless with excitement before her first start of the year.. for someone who has spent half the winter in Australia and Phuket the current weather conditions seemed particularly unappealing. For those of us like Hels, who have spent the entire winter flogging round in the mud, it was a chance to leg her up on a green youngster and giggle at the sight of Calcourt Valley ( Kevin) looking like he had just been backed in the dressage warm up!

Wild wind and drenching rain plus young horses is not a great mix but the day had actually started with some gremlin like omens. Before she even got to the event Sammi realised she had forgotten her handbag which meant no tasty snacks for her after the course walk and then the road was shut so she promptly ended up going the wrong way. Sammi continued this trend in her dressage test on Kevin but still, being Sammi, scored a 23 and after adding a clear showjumping to that score found herself miles in the lead heading down to the cross country.

Kevin proceeded to fly around the track and with a vision of returning home triumphantly holding a red rosette in her sticky mitt Sammi suddenly found herself crashing into the second last fence. Like most young horses Kevin has a short attention span and perhaps it was the person walking the course near the fence that distracted him, or perhaps it was that he was having a particularly blank moment in his memory bank but he took off and then inexplicably put down resulting in the inevitable 20 and a not amused Sammi.

Calcourt Verona ( Ringo) is also pretty green but she scored well on the flat with a 26, picked up a rail ( Sammi blames herself, she was probably 5mm off the spot she would have liked to have been on) but she was coping manfully with the quite grown up 100 course until the water where there was a horses head stuck on the side of a brush fence. Quite sensibly Ringo took aversion to the "Godfather" type of severed head and whilst Sammi was going for the direct 4 she went left and right and eventually succeeded in avoiding it. Personally I think that just makes her a smart mare but Sammi isn't on the same page as me!

Sheepdrove Cariad ( Carrie) is a new addition to the team and definitely less experienced than the other two so Sammi said she had slightly lost her confidence by this stage. ( I know, she actually said that. Seriously.) Thankfully Carrie has a great brain and a super attitude so a nice double clear ensured they got their partnership off to a great start.

So what does this fine, sunny ( of course!) Sunday morning hold for Sammi? A pub lunch perhaps... no, not a bar of it. She is using some good old fashioned child labour to build some complicated lines for her naughty ponies to teach them to focus! Her words, not mine..... attention to detail is what Sam does best and Kevin and Ringo will be well up to the CCIO at Aachen by midweek.

A clever use of flags.... Sammi has actually staked Charlie into the wheelbarrow. Nice touch.

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