Heading down South for a long weekend is what Team Birch loves to do at the weekend....however, this was not a jaunt to Cornwall but three days near Frome with 7 horses. The horses also filled the full gamut of eventers with a couple of real babies on the Friday through to the advanced horses on the Sunday.
Direct Golden Girl ( GG) kicked off the weekend with a top 10 placing by finishing on her dressage score of 39.8 which shows she has the jumping ability for the future which is by far the most important bit! Stable mate Divine Idylle Dudevin ( Lady D) was strutting her stuff for the dressage with a 30 before starting out confidently over Nunney's quite grown up track only to show her greenness by hanging in the air over a double of oxers heading into the crowds to pick up 8 faults. The showjumping at Nunney is really quite grown up with a colourful track surrounded by busy tradestands with lots of moving people quite close to the ring. It is great for experience and Lady D is amassing that in spades right now! A clear cross country was good enough to still leave them in the top 15 st the end of Friday.
Saturday was novice day and Calcourt Valley ( Kevin) decided that enough was enough and he was pretty fed up with Calcourt Verona ( Ringo) getting all the praise and the polos so he did a lovely test for a 27 and made sure he stayed on that to take the lead and win his section. Ringo was so shocked that after her 29 dressage she actually had 2 rails down as she was still coming to terms with the fact Kevin has now picked up 7 BE points whilst she just has the 1. She cantered nicely around the cross country for 8 time in a bit of a daze whilst Kevin stood smugly at the truck eating all the treats.
Ringo actually has no need to worry as thanks to Kyrle Arscott she gets to stay whilst Kevin is not as smart as he thinks he is as he is on the market and may have to move unless someone steps in and buys him for Sammii to keep! He is a lovely horse in all three phases but he is exceptional cross country being a total natural and despite the undulations and twists and turns on the course he made the time seem so easy and was 1 of only 6 horses to do so in his section. Obviously Sammi would prefer to keep Kevin but there is a small matter of a new roof for the house to pay for....
Sheepdrove Cariad ( Carrie) did a nice test for 35, just tapped out a rail showjumping and then Sammi, now being the Queen of Speed, set out at a cracking pace cross country. Coming home with just 4 time was impressive but she did look a little pale and whilst Carrie thought it was great fun I think Sammi was thinking that although Kevin may be destined for 5 star Carrie is going to be allot more fun with slightly less lofty ambitions!
Back again on Sunday with the whole crew including Mr Birch who somewhat bizarrely had chosen to wear off white chinos with his wellington boots. Since he was a designated assistant to Hels ( see photo above) it was an odd choice but hopefully he will learn as I assume he is in charge of laundry as well as cooking, shopping and all other things normal females do in the house whilst Sammi is in the yard. Ed decided to also use the outing to train up his black lab but since Grace is already the best behaved dog in eventing there wasn't actually much he could do except periodically shout at her to park her arse in the wet grass which is hardly very Barbara Woodhouse. As you can see by the end of the day he only had Woofie by his side as Grace had clearly decided she would be better off with a weekend with the Gestapo than an outing with Ed.
Two advanced horses, one a chestnut gelding and one a chestnut mare. Both have pretty strong opinions and both are clearly loving the Sammi Birch Eventing vibe as they improve with every outing.
Findus PFB ( Louis or Loopy Louis depending on his level of craziness) did a very nice test for a 33 which was more than credible in an OI section that included some very good horses. He then was a bit unlucky to have a rail as he would be one of Sammi's best jumpers before scampering around the cross country having a ball. Sammi went out for a cruise but he still only picked up 6 time as he finds it so easy.
Direct Tullyoran Cruise ( Tully) loves nothing more than to throw a curve ball at Sammi with a sudden dance on her hindlegs whenever she feels like she needs to establish her "nerves". Unfortunately for Tully Sammi has worked out that she actually isn't nervous at all, she is just a madam so now that Sammi totally ignores it and just carries on as normal it is a method of distraction that is losing its significance for Tully. There was a little black mare ( Black Odyssey) many moons ago who really could stand up ( and fall over) so Tully is never going to win that one! The dressage was impressive with a 30.9 as Tully showed off her lovely paces before a really smart showjumping clear. The warm up entailed just one tactical rear to check if Sammi was going to do anything but jump another fence ( which she didn't!) and then a speedy cross country round with just 2 time saw them sail into 3rd spot.
It was nice to have Jude and Lyndon in attendance although I am sure they are looking forward to heading home to the warmth of the Australian winter compared to the British summer at the end of this week. It may be good for the footing but we are getting bored of rainy June now and it would be nice to be able to drop a couple of layers!