It was the turn of the less experienced guys today (although Killbunny Andy is not really in that group!). Andy posted a classy 29.8, Fernhill Kankan “did a test of two halves” as Jonelle described it with two big mistakes in the trot work…cantered out of the halt and then broke in the medium before doing some of the best canter work she has done. Chilli’s Midnight Star (Ollie) is rapidly gaining favour with Jonelle for a 27.7 in his OI section.

Tim had the classy Chio 20 out for his first intermediate run this year and he didn’t disappoint the judges with a 25.5. Volani (Arnie) and Dromgurrihy Gold (Dara) were tackling their first intermediates and Arnie’s 31 and Dara’s 34 were respectable for a first stab after a messy spring with not many runs.

Aston is a learning ground for intermediates and part of green horses stepping up is the more technical and bigger showjumping. Rails hit the ground when horses are on a learning curve and both Arnie and Dara tipped a couple along the way before running great first intermediate cross country rounds. Chio had a single rail and then cruised cross country very happy to be back in the team. Tim said he was very happy with them all and he certainly had time to get a good look at all the HS2 work going on on his leisurely rounds.

Andy had a slightly inexplicable 8 faults in the showjumping as he jumped a confident round but ended up with two poles on the floor. OI is very much well within Andy’s pay grade so it was a bit bemusing and not a little frustrating! Kankan and Ollie both jumped lovely clear rounds and Kankan was Jonelle’s first out cross country and she said that the ground was a bit more holding than yesterday so she went steadily. Then the tractor came out and rolled all the take off and landing which Jonelle said did make big difference so she was able to let Ollie move on a bit.

It’s just another example of how much extra work it is for events in the mud! Nigel and his team have worked so hard to ensure the event can go ahead and they have another three days to go yet. Chatsworth have binned the novice classes ( which is so sad for local riders but the International classes have to take precedence) and are advising that all trucks will need to be towed in and they are doing their utmost to make their First Nations Cup 4*S a success despite the weather throwing everything at them.

If it would just stop raining, the sun could come out and we could abandon our wellies life would be so much easier!

And just for fun watch Tim’s ride back to the stables after the prize giving at Badminton. No surprise that cheeky Vitali couldn’t resist splashing lake water at Pippa Funnell!