The final collecting ring for the main arena serves as the cool down after the finish at Aachen and instead of massive verticals and oxers it is filled with ice, water and misting fans and a fair smattering of riders who sit with their head in their hands and wonder where exactly that strike from God came from.

Of course there are others who do the same thing but don’t actually make it to the finish line. And then there are others who bear hug their mates, their horses and their team members as for once Aachen has stuck to the playbook and they have had a fantastic ride, a great result and Cloud 9 beckons.

It was a miserable start to the day with windy drizzle that made you surprisingly wet in a very short time. Sam Lissington, our individual, jumped a clear with some 22 time and our first team member, Clarke Johnstone headed out into the misty rain with Menlo Park (Jacko) who did a sterling job to jump through all the flags and come home with 8.4 time which was a great team boost. Third member to go was Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier (Cavvy) who defied her Badminton debut which, although she finished, didn’t go to plan and she took on the challenge with gusto to jump around with 7.6 time and eventual 7th spot.

Jonelle was second out with the diminutive McClaren (Mac) who thinks Aachen is not only the home country but pretty much everything he was born to do. Crowds, Razzmatazz, Glitz and Glamour. He headed out like a little bull and it was all Jonelle could do to hold him off the front rails and stick with him. His bravado took him way too close to the front of the box brush in the water at fence 10 and he left a leg and twisted to stay upright and all of a sudden Jonelle was off to the right with an expression of disbelief on her face. She said she actually had time to think “well, this is odd, I am actually going to hit the drink!” and then she was sitting in the water whilst Mac looked bit surprised as well. The slo-mo replay showed that Jonelle had no right stirrup so when she went to rebalance as Mac twisted there was nothing to help her. It’s a bit of a guess but the probability is that the brush dragged it off her foot as Jonelle would never simply slip off to the right…and particularly not in water on a cool rainy day!

Good team member that Jonelle is she trudged back to the start to support Tim who was last out for us on Falco. As she dripped softly onto the wooden floor of the closed circuit TV tent and her boots made little squeaks as she shivered it was impossible not to feel sorry for her.