It’s never easy to go from the glamour of Aachen back to the bread and butter events but Nigel Taylor and his team have a most splendid new all weather showjumping arena at Aston which Tim was very impressed with.

Two quite different characters in Chio 20 and Dromgurrihy Gold (Dara). Chio is a cocky lad with strong opinions and abounding talent that sometimes puts him at the top of the leaderboard and sometimes means he drops Tim on the ground, mostly when you lest expect it. He’s been to Poland and has had a few international starts and is now into advanced points and revelling in his job.

Dara on the other hand is really green at this level having just had three intermediate starts and sits on just 6 points. He is a sweet and kind character on the ground, has the legs of a supermodel and possibly the brain of one too as he can sometimes, when the pressure is on, forget to tell his legs what to do.

A 29.8 from Chio in the 3* and a 37.1 from Dara is indicative of where they are at. Chio loved the big flashy arena and jumped yet another super clear round. Dara thought it a little intimidating and trying way too hard to be his best ended up with three poles on the ground. It’s a process and it will take Dara a while to sort those long legs out but he never stops trying!

Cross country is a different matter. From his name to his breeding Dara is Irish through and through and skipping around manicured events like Aston are the stuff of dreams for a lad brought up in the lush green pastures of Ireland where it rains allot and if you don’t mind your step in the paddock you could quite easily end up in some massive ditch. Mud is just the norm. Dara belied his youth to give Tim a great spin around his first 3 star and was well chuffed with himself as he sauntered back to the truck.

Chio is a great cross country horse as well when he has his mind on the job. He’s had a couple of blips along the way but today Tim said he gave him one of the nicest rides that he has had on him.

MERS for both boys so boxes ticked. Viscount Viktor had also travelled to Aston with the young guns as Tim was hoping to get his test moved to Friday (thank you Aston Team for moving him!) so he got to work a bit on the ground on Thursday and Friday and stable away again. Viktor missed out on Millstreet so it was nice for Tim and Viktor to spend some away time together as the one days usually mean 5 OI rides and a short warm up for each horse. Viktor was relaxed enough in the arena to produce the work he does at home and he sits on 25.7, just 0.7 off the lead half way through a star studded class. Impressive to say the least!

Jonelle drove up with Cosby for their 4* dressage tests. Hiarado (Jools) lived at Aston so is understandably a bit confused when she arrives there and it wouldn’t have been Jonelle’s first choice of 4*S but these days you have to take the MERS where you find them as events increasingly ask for extra qualifications. A 34.5 was pretty good in the circumstances especially when the walk wasn’t the most relaxed and the second change was missed. Plus one judge really loved Jools for 68% and the other wasn’t at all impressed for 62%!

Saturday at home and then a slog back up the country on Sunday for the 4* jumping phases. Most of the UK will be travelling to Silverstone for the F1 so fingers crossed the traffic Gods play nicely!