A Thursday hike up North from Dorset to the familiar venue of Aston Le Walls and Nigel Taylor’s friendly team to facilitate the day.

If we had a crystal ball we would have entered a heap more horses but who knew when we entered this that Gatcombe would cancel, Wellington would waitlist and Cornbury would be inundated. So, as we stood in blissful ignorance a month ago Tim and Jonelle just had the two rides each today and they were smart horses all round.

Jonelle had Full Monty de Lacense (FM) in the intermediate and he has had such a stop/start season it feels like it’s spring for him! He had some time off with some health issues that were totally unrelated to soundness and is finally back and on flying form. He backed that up today with a 31.4 and a double clear in his intermediate section for 9th spot and a real crack at the autumn season now on the horizon.

Clever Louis is a new ride for Jonelle and he debuted today in the OI. Away from the competition scene for nearly all of this year due to ownership changes he had every right to be as bright as a button today for a 32 and a single rail and a lovely cross country confirmed he will soon be a big part of Jonelle’s team. Jonelle was delighted with him and is looking forward to the next outing when they can bin the ‘first event for a while nerves’ and crack on with the results. In true understated Jonelle style she described Louis as being “quite bright” all day. Which is a really kind way to describe a horse uber happy to be back on the competition scene!

Tim had Happy Boy and Falco in the OI sections and with Happy sitting on a 30.9 and Falco siting on a leading score of 23.9 in his section you could be forgiven if the ones siting below were nervous. To be fair Tim thought their tests on a par so was not overly impressed with Happy’s mark but hey ho, thats often the case with one day judging. Tim views the one days as training days so after show jumping clear on both he racked up decent time faults on Falco to drop down the order and ended up in 9th spot on Happy after adding some 11 time. As always, job done…Falco is having the brakes realigned after Aachen and Tim described his cross country as “very nice and easy around the cross county and properly on song of the next challenge which is Fairhill 5 star. Happy is being prepped for his 5*Long at Pau and his plan is also ticking along nicely so no one day wins on the calendar as always.

And as far as our endlessly rainy summer goes.. today was mostly dry, pretty humid but nice not to be drowned wet! Progress indeed!