Cirencester #1 only managed one day out of three and the plug was nearly pulled on Cirencester #2 yesterday after we had a cold week and a tonne of rain on Wednesday night. But the sun finally came out on Thursday afternoon, the temp rose by 10 degrees and in true Muskateer eventing fashion a couple of drastic measures were taken (like taking out the entire water complex) and the show went on.

Tim and Jonelle were two of very many grateful competitors and if the ground was tacky and holding then so be it! Cosby Green has come over from the USA with three horses to base with Tim and Jonelle and she describes herself as “the original American Princess who likes to ride on a surface” so having suffered a baptism of fire at Calmsden on Tuesday she was getting the hang of it by today and looked as home in the mud as the rest of the team.

A day of two halves really as Jonelle had 4 intermediates in the morning and Tim 2 novices in the afternoon. The new Maxi only arrived back at Chedington at 8pm last night from getting its Type 2 certification from Ireland (Thank you Kerryn for a mammoth driving effort!) and was hurriedly packed for today with a 4am departure slot and Jonelle drove it up from Dorset with Megan driving the Didi with another 4 horses on board. The sun came out and for seemingly the first time this year there was no bitter wind and everyone finally dumped their winter coats on the back seat and donned sunglasses.

Fernhill Kankan was the star of the dressage with a 25.5 in her intermediate. L E B Lias Jewel (LJ) and Killbunny Andy both scored 33 in star studded OI sections and new ride Chilli’s Midnight Star (Ollie) started off on a great note with Jonelle for a 29.8.

Clear rounds in the show jumping were few and far between but Kankan made the most of her Irish roots and popped a lovely clear. Andy remembered his Irish roots after he knocked down the first and the rest of the round was classy, LJ just tipped a back rail of an oxer and Ollie continued up the ladder of success with a very nice clear round.

Jonelle had fun rides across country with the horses adjusting to the deeper landings than they are used to as they ran the track. It’s all educational and with the aforementioned water bypassed it was Kankan who sped around with just 1.2 time to take the win in her section. L J is super happy and confident at intermediate level and she came home just 1 second over time for a top 10 placing and showed that that their near miss and dropping a pin at Thorseby hasn’t dented their partnership. Andy is super experienced at this level and also cantered around enjoying himself immensely and Ollie, who has come with a reputation of being a little opinionated and very bold cross country did the right thing and listened to Jonelle to go sweetly for just 4 time and 4th place.

Tim finally got on a horse in the mid afternoon and Dromgurrihy Gold (Dara) was slightly baffled to be back out so soon after Calmsden on Tuesday. Needs must in a tough spring like this one as his debut at intermediate is fast approaching! It’s quite the compliment to Dara that Tim compared him to Xavier Faer (Hugo) this afternoon as we all know Hugo has an outstanding 5 star record but the similarities are there for sure….tall with long legs and a blaze, plenty of scope, a genuinely generous person who wants to do the right thing, a proper workhorse and…..he kind of needs Tim to show him the way as Hugo did all the way up to 5 star. He scored a 32 on the flat which, when put in context of 29.8 being the lead in that section, was credible, just tapped out a rail in the showjumping and belted around the cross county for 1.6 time and a top 10 placing.

Volani (Arnie) has found his forté with his flatwork and with his new found fancy paces won the dressage with a 20.8. His fancy trot and canter didn’t really help him in the showjumping and after a couple of rails he got the hang of the fact that floaty wasn’t really ideal at the end of a long day in the ground of the jump arena and he went back to basics and finished well and was totally inside his comfort zone for a nice clear cross country.

Cosby ran two horses successfully, Sean Duffy groomed in the morning and finally got his first event completion of 2023 under his belt in the afternoon. Megan ran the show today with assistance from Tilly and all nine horses enjoyed a great day out. Megan is a fan of the new extra long hose which sports hot water when required, Tim is very proud of his new bathroom which, by truck standards, is massive and Jonelle acknowledges (often) that she has lost a third of her kitchen to Tim’s bathroom. The food cupboards are bare at present but of course Jonelle had come with a platter of ham rolls and a bacon and egg pie and Tim had chucked some beer and rosé in at 4 am. Team Price at its absolute best and a pleasure to be around as always.

The New Zealand Team Stables. 2023 IRL-Millstreet International Horse Trial. Millstreet Town, Co. Cork, Ireland. Wednesday 31 May 2023. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography