A beautiful day in Wales for the Chepstow team having moved the event to Howick from Chepstow Racecourse which is a few miles further over the border with England and is the old point to point course for the Curre Hunt.  It’s a lovely old fashioned sort of event with a backdrop of the Welsh hills and an open galloping track including two of the old chase fences which are always good to open horses up over!

Tim had a couple of 100’s that ran in the morning and with 11 horses from Chedington entered the start for the Maxi truck was an early one.  Just Spotless was having his second start in a week and the knowledge he gained from Launceston was already showing as he was far less wobbly!  A 29.3 test, a single pole in the showjumping and another clear in time cross country left him in 7th place and he was a happy chap sunbathing at the truck when he finished his day around lunchtime.  Indy du Loir was his 100 buddy and he stepped up for a 25.3 dressage, clearly determined to not be beaten by the young gun this time round.  That lead was fairly short lived as the showjumping track involved allot of changes of direction and since Indy hasnt yet mastered flying changes that involved a fair amount of trotting to swap leads.  A clear round but 9 time added and Spotless was ahead again.  Indy did jump a lovely clear round cross country adding 8.4 time but he now has to wait until Upton House to get a chance to beat his travel mate on the scoreboard.

The novices were out in the afternoon and a back log at the showjumping followed some smart dressage tests.  Tim won the best test prize with a 23 in the Open Novice on Sean Duffy’s Kinsale Oltaire (Phoebe), a very smart 23.5 on Gloire de Marchenval (Louis) before slipping down the order somewhat with a 33.5 on Faerie Usain (Maude).  Maude is a bit of a supermodel with her tall dapple grey body but she has all the demands of a supermodel as well and doesn’t always agree with Tim on the flat.

Jonelle was pleased with both Illico de l’Esques (Nico) and Faerie Good Golly who posted a 28 and a 28.3 whilst it appeared J’orange had got out of bed on the wrong side, or maybe just too early as Jonelle said she was in proper chestnut mare mood from the moment she hopped on for a 32.3.

All sorts of bribery including an ice cream run from Tim at the showjumping in order to move them up the start list with their respective three horses but not much was making an impression on the steward who was determined to stick to programme order.  There was also a narrow chicane entrance made up of electric fence stakes which looked particularly uninviting, especially when two horses tried to enter and exit at the same time.  Hanging out in the sunshine makes it all much more bearable though and they soon got underway. Tim and both Phoebe and Louis jumped super clear rounds whilst Maude just had a rail when the approach to the fence wasn’t in a perfectly straight line.

Daisy had clearly moved into a good mood phase and jumped a very classy clear, using all her power to her advantage.  Golly looked super and Nico looked much more assured with a class round as well.

More ice cream sent down to the cross country steward and they headed down to an Eric Winter track that bore all the hallmarks of his design with some open galloping fences interspersed with skinnies, narrow shields and turning and balancing questions making as much use of the terrain as possible.  Tim and Phoebe blitzed around to take the win in the Open novice, Louis was just one second over time to take 3rd in his section and Maude gave him a lovey ride for one second over as well and 7th  spot.

Daisy and Jonelle moved up to 12th with a clear in time and Nico was impressive to add nothing to his dressage for a win and a very happy Jonelle who said he was much more professional this time out as sometimes his laid back attitude gets the better of him.  Today he was really onside and enjoying his job.

Of all of Jonelle’s novices Golly is probably the most fun cross country as she absolutely loves to gallop and jump.  This she did beautifully up until fence 13 AB which consisted of two shields on a curving line.  Having never had a cross country fault or even considered a drive by for some inexplicable reason today it was Golly who found an open door and she ended up with three run outs, the big E and the walk of shame home.  Jonelle was baffled and said they will be heading to the cross country paddock at Chedington for a “conversation” about it!  It never ceases to amaze me how fast horses can learn a trick when it suits them.

It was a long but productive day and plenty of happy young horses travelling back down to Dorset.  Congratulations to Cosby Green who did a great job deputising for Tim on The Highlander (Ivar) with nothing to add to a 27 dressage for 5th spot.  Congratulations as well to the team at Howick for putting on such a lovely event.

Below: Credit Rachel Good.  Indy has a chat with one of Rachel’s dogs.