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  • Jacky Green


A busy weekend for Team Birch at Gatcombe but with the sun shining and some lovely horses the three days flew by. Although by Sunday Ed, as you can see from the above photo, was feeling the effects of giving it large on his Saturday night excursion to the pub!

Friday went well with Calcourt Verona ( Ringo) adding yet another stellar dressage score to her tally with a 27 in her novice section. An unlucky rail in a showjumping arena with lots of atmosphere and some very bright fillers added to her experience and a classy clear cross country adding just 1.6 time was a smart performance.

Direct Infinity Z ( Izzy) wasn't on the form of her life so after pulling a couple of rails in the showjumping didn't get to run cross country. Direct Tullyorna Cruise was withdrawn prior to the weekend as she and Sammi head off to Blenheim CI4*L next week which is pretty exciting for all concerned. Unbeknown to Finduss PFB (Louis) he gets to go as well as hanging out in that atmosphere for the week will be good for him! After a fairly excitable test for a 37 in his OI he then executed a joyful double clear, as always making the jumping phases look so easy.

The Kincooley Ceili ( William ) is also really enjoying being back in the thick of things and he posted a very good mark of 27.7 in the dressage. A lovely showjumping round followed and then what Sammi described as " a lovely cross country round" mostly as she very nearly equalled her dressage score with 27.6 time faults! Sammi loves nothing more than going cross country via the scenic route and with no pressure on William to do anything but get fitter and stronger this year it provided the perfect opportunity!

Catch riding is not something that Sammi is a massive fan of but as with everything that goes with Sammi and horses, of course she is brilliant at it! Faerie Magnifico (George) turned up a couple of days prior to Gatcombe and didn't make a great start when he promptly bit Sammi! He is a bit grumpy on the ground but he is a little delight to ride and rapidly learnt himself the "baby Gizmo" tag which also meant that Hels swore at him allot in the washbay!

Sammi managed to pack in some flatwork and a trip to Chedworth to showjump and jump a ditch and check out the water jump technique. George passed all of those tests with flying colours and rocked up at Gatcombe for his last-to-go CI2*S dressage test in glorious sunshine. He has been produced by Jonelle Price so is unsurprisingly well trained and he is a half brother to Faerie Dianimo and Xavier Faer so is well connected but Sammi's brief was to qualify him for Le Lion d'Angers 6 year old championships in October as Jonelle can no longer go. Add to that the fact that this was literally the last chance to qualify ( it has to be a a combination) and that is quite a bit of pressure!

Cool as a cucumber Sammi scored a 23.6 on the flat to lie second by a whisker, jumped a super round showjumping for just 4 faults ( all she was allowed before Le Lion disappeared off the horizon) and then a gutsy clear around what was a seriously tough-in-places CI2* track which caught out several experienced horses for 7 time and eventual 11th place. Mission accomplished and hats off to Sammi yet again for another awesome performance.

Ed woke up in time to watch the cross country out on the bank and a really good weekend was had by all.

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