Three days at Cirencester Park for Sammi so it was nice that it was just a few miles down the road. Friday was cold but bright at the start of the day and having scored a 25 on the flat and left all the poles intact on Kincooley Cruising (Minnie) in her OI section Sammi decided that the perfect footing on the old turf was good enough to let Minnie gallop and just 2 time added was good enough for 3rd spot. They say you shouldn't have favourites but Susan Lamb most definitely prefers Minnie to any of her other horses and that was a great start to the day.
Then the heavens opened which was uber boring and for around an hour we were pelted with rain and hale. Sammi rode through much of it and Hunter Valley (Gizmo) was not impressed to be out in such conditions. He still produced a lovely test for a 24 and show jumped beautifully in what was now a rather sticky and soggy arena. Calcourt Verona
(Ringo) is a big moving horse and she didn't mind the tacky footing to post a 26 and then jump a very grown up clear round in her intermediate section which was littered with jumping faults. Sammi decided to let the handbrake off on her as well and adding just 4 time to her score left her in 2nd spot and a delighted couple of owners! There were plenty of questions for her to answer and the steering is not always 100% on cross country but she certainly pulled out al the stops at the tricky rail to slope down to the old haha wall before 2 strides to a skinny and was one of the best through there with some nifty footwork.
Giz was of course allowed to run in happy hacker style so he amassed some 16 time which both he and Sammi were very smug about.
Saturday morning was still damn cold but the rain mostly held off for Sammi's two advanced rides. They were polar opposites all day which typifies eventing! Finduss PFB (Louis) seems to have grown again over the winter and Hels now needs a stool to put his bridle on although he doesn't exactly help when he is in 'head up high and gaze into the middle distance to make myself look noble" mood when in fact he is being a dork. He was impressive in the dressage though as it really wasn't his cup of tea with a very busy small warm up (quite why they rammed the advanced dressage in so tight when there was an entire park at their disposal is a mystery) but thankfully he was too busy worrying about the test to notice some polo ponies stick and balling on the pitch behind the dressage! If he had spotted them he would have been convinced they were the lucky ones who are allowed to gallop around looking at the clouds. He did three super halts, some lovely half passes and some smart work in between. The judge at C had him just shy of 65% which is very impressive although E must have had an aversion to the ginger ones as she was a bit meaner. So with a credible score of 36 he went over to the showjumping, warmed up beautifully and then looked like Milton at every fence except the one he hit which put him back onto a score of 40 which was just....Louis! They then both had an absolute blast cross country adding just 5.6 time to finish 12th which was pretty damn cool in quite iconic company with some of the best advanced horses in the country out to play.
The Kincooley Ceili (William) did a super test in his advanced for a 28 and followed that up with a beautiful clear in the showjumping adding just a single time penalty. He is a quirky horse and there was a 'moment' when Sammi had just one rein as Hels was feeding the other through the martingale attachment when it looked like he was about to bolt or crash into the side of the truck. Luckily Hels was as speedy as and the moment passed!
Cross country ended early when Sammi pressed the go button in the middle of a combination, William spooked at the sand on the ground instead and they got there on a half distance which resulted in an unsightly scramble for William and Sammi was unseated.
As I said, a day of two parts!
Sunday morning saw just the two novice mares out to play and despite Sammi being possibly a tad grumpy about the way that Saturday had ended they put a smile back on her face. Kincooley Read My Mind (Indie) did a lovely test for a 28 but had the misfortune to be in a section where several potential Valegro's were trying eventing. Indie jumped a smart double clear, adding just 1.2 time to her score. Jutopia (Lola) is of the Valegro type on the flat and with a 21.3 and nothing to add she won her section with a couple of points to spare which was a very nice way to end the event.
Cirencester Park is a beautiful venue and it was great to be back somewhere like that instead of in yet another Equestrian Centre. It was slickly run by Alec Lahore and his team and safe to say it is a keeper on the calendar as, despite it feeling like winter still, we all felt lucky to be in such surroundings.