And Family von Birch have sauntered off to the land of bicycles and Grolsch for the week with one tall orange pony ( that would be Finduss PFB or Louis as he is known at home), 1 supergroom ( that would be Hels), one small child (Charlie) and Sammi and Ed. They also trucked over Burto's horse, Clever Louis, who has totally humiliated our Louis by smashing his dressage test for a highly competitive 26 which is currently in third whilst our own Louis languishes somewhere down in 66th. And there are still another 30 odd horses to go as I write!
So, the dressage de-brief. To sum up we have a very talented tall ginger horse with what can only be described as a few "issues". Villanelle, basically, is more sane. Throw in a huge screen, allot of atmosphere and a test that doesn't really suit him and you get a score of 39. To be fair to Louis 'Prelim 12' wouldn't really suit him when he is like a kid at his first party with too much pop inside him. He did actually execute some good trot work and it was when he slowed to walk he suddenly realised the enormity of the Big Screen and how terrifyingly close it was to him and that did freak him out a bit. The canter didn't unravel like it could have done although he didn't really need to kick out at Sammi's leg in quite such a dramatic fashion during the second change and he did halt. So plenty to take forwards and learn from and in reality, the more exposure Louis gets to such situations the better. He is pretty low mileage when it comes to big atmosphere as it is much easier to trek off to venues like Houghton with such horses but now Louis is in the big time whether he likes it or not so he is just going to have to learn to take a deep breath and man up....
Talking of manning up I was highly disappointed to see no footage of Ed Birch baring his chest in his traditional man dance at the Tuesday night Boekelo welcome party which is legendary. (The Party that is, not Ed's dance). Having had his 15 minutes of fame whilst starring in some videos on Facebook from Dan and Emma Jocelyn's wedding I was expecting big things this week but it turns out that a) Ed peaked at that party and b) Sammi is married to an old man! Sammi is apparently dying of man flu and Ed was missing some of his party mates. Sigh. The Tuesday night party is one of the main reasons to go to Boekelo.
The high point of this week so far has been Hels who has surpassed herself in the Boekelo mud and won the grooms prize at the jog which is quite a feat and obviously well deserved. Its not just the kudos of beating her peers but the €150 which seals the deal and needless to say we salute her endless capacity for hard work as always. They don't make them like Hels anymore!