Sparkling horses at the final jog this morning and yet again Tim surprised Vitali by trotting straight up from the stable yard, through the the arch and straight down past the ground jury!  Vitali actually looked the most relaxed he has ever done at a jog and he even managed not to barge into Tim or try and take them off the strip so happy days.  The more times it is not stressful for him the better he will deal with it so the day started off a positive note!

Grappa Nera (Grape) was complimented by Jonelle looking very glamorous in a ME+EM lilac trouser suit and they looked fabulous in front of the backdrop of Badminton House.  Another fine day with the prospect of rain coming in tomorrow has brought the crowds in early and the morning session of jumping was attended by allot of keen people in the grandstands.

The stats on the jumping were not so great however with not a single clear round and some cricket scores on a technical track.  Just a couple made time and when the session closed at 12.15 it seemed a long wait until it restarted again at 3pm.  A great BBQ lunch at the Kiwi tent was the perfect way to pass the time whilst Rosie and Kerryn started to organise the packing of the horse box which is no mean feat.

The afternoon session came on with thankfully no sign of the promised thunderstorms and the leaderboard continued to shudder under some serious tremors.  Jonelle and Grape jumped in 11th spot and just tipped a single rail for one of the smoothest rounds of her career and she started a rise up the rankings that saw her finish in eventual 6th spot, quite the comeback queen under a great ride from Jonelle.

Caroline Powell was one of only 4 clear rounds all day and she started the afternoon in 6th spot and just kept on moving up the leaderboard.  When Tim and Vitali cantered into the arena he had 2 rails in hand over Caroline but when he copped fence 3 behind it seemed along way to go.  It was a short 5 into a double of verticals and Vitali had the first and then things settled down a bit until a proper difference of opinion into the third last saw Vitali obliterate it, Tim lose both stirrups and do well to stay on board.  They jumped the last two with Tim with no stirrups and Vitali having both down for a total of 20 faults and the Badminton dream falling straight out of our pockets and into the collecting ring.  Caroline stepped up to win, Tim dropped to 8th and that was the end of 5 days of the most dramatic competition you could wish for.

And that is the beauty of Badminton….despite Equiratings best efforts it really is so unpredictable!  Everyone is thrilled for fellow Kiwi Caroline to have won, if it couldn’t be Tim then we will take another Kiwi win for sure.

NZL-Jonelle Price rides Grappa Nera during the CCI5* Showjumping. Final-6th. 2024 GBR-MARS Badminton Horse Trials CCI5*. Gloucestershire. Great Britain. Sunday 12 May. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Jonelle’s final comment on being congratulated for 6th: ” Well, 5th would have been nicer!”.  And Tim, on being told just after his round that the media were waiting said ” Oh great, just what I need, let’s go discuss Vitali and my showjumping round” which was kind of heartbreaking!

The crew moved down to the Kiwi tent and as tradition required Caroline was dunked in the lake by Tim.  To be fair she was more dragged than dunked but under she went and it was much enjoyed by the crowd in the tent.  Huge thanks to Ginny Loisel and her team and Beaney Davidson and her team for another stunning week at Kiwi headquarters.

5 star never gets any easier.  But the team travel home with sound and safe horses, congrats to Badminton debutante Cosby Green and Copper Beach ( Sean) who also have their first completion under their belt with a rocking clear yesterday, and they came with three sound horses and they return to Chedington with three sound horses.  Let the season crack on.