It is rare that a Team Price truck returns to the home base 2 horses lighter but today that happened. Jutopia ( Lola) had her last run with Jonelle before returning home to Sammi Birch who is now back in the saddle with a very small baby girl in tow and Grovine de Reve (Rev) made his last visit to a one day before he gets to retire in 5 star luxury at the Sunny Side Up home for Retired Superstars….but before we all shed a tear for what might have been lets recap on the day.

It was a pre sunrise departure for the crew and Sean Duffy got a shout out from Kerryn who had asked for ‘volunteers’ to help load the trucks and he shuffled out of bed and duly helped load. Thats a bird in the hand Sean for sure! Both Tim and Jonelle had 8am dressage tests and they were cracking on with a heap to do before they started showjumping at 11 am. It was hot but with a breeze, the going was pretty ok and there is lots to love about British Eventing in the summer.

Tim blew the dressage judges mind away with Falco for a 15.7. Falco is really smart but I am assuming that the judge may be a cousin of Sue Benson’s as Valegro he isn’t. He was nearly 10 marks clear of fancy pants Vitali on a 24.1 so either this was a cousin thing or a scoring mistake! Always one to have the bigger picture in mind Tim contained his inner Collett to add nothing in the show jumping and a whopping 43 time to re align the brakes after Millstreet/Before Aachen and a slide down to the bottom of the rankings. Owner Sue Benson has plenty of Dandy brushes so she is quite happy with that!

Vitali himself jumped a beautiful show jumping before tipping the last.. a downhill vertical… for just 4 faults. He then went XC schooling for some 30 time on his first run back since his Badminton for a lovely refresher course.

Jarillo (Milo) was on flying form and a 31 on the flat made him competitive in a tough scoring section. He jumped an immaculate clear round and then went cross country in the late afternoon and arrived back at the truck puffing like a stream train. It was a tad mystifying until it emerged that Tim had decided today was the day that Milo, not really a natural galloper, should go a bit quicker and learn to drop down and gallop. Milo duly obliged, Tim fanged it and it turned out that they were penalised for going too fast by 2 seconds so they dropped to 3rd from 2nd but Tim was so so proud of the fact he can still go too fast it was forgivable!

Viscount Viktor has had a mini break and he has returned on awesome form. A 33 on the flat, an absolutely superb showjumping round and a really competitive cross country for a clear with just 1.2 time signals he is very much back on track. Tim had three in the top 10 and Falco on an “Aachen’ prep and it was a really good day.

Meanwhile Jonelle had 4 advanced horses to run in the OI and was scoring well in all the dressage. Jutopia, (Lola) was on her last run before heading back to Sammi Birch and a 31 was a good score in a tough scoring section. Yet another clear round brought Jonelle’s tally of rails to zero with Lola which Jonelle was very proud of and Sammi was heard to remark could have been at least an unlucky 4 faults before she picked up the reins again! Lola was a demon cross country for a lovely clear, 7th spot and job done for Jonelle. Sammi rode George when Jonelle was pregnant with Abel so swap complete and Lola went home to Little Park Farm. I would like to say Jonelle was emotional at the farewell but her parting cry was “don’t forget to send the bandages and boots back” so I guess thats a sort of flat liner.

Hiarado (Jools) went to Millstreet but didn’t get to run as she had an incident en route. Today she was pure feisty as she knows she missed out on a big one and after keeping the lid on for a 26 dressage arrived at the showjumping like Puff the Magic Dragon. She bounced, she ran, she stuck her head up, she bolted…..and then jumped a beautiful round. She skipped around the cross country under restraints for some 8 time and was so pleased with herself back the truck it was palpable.

Killbunny Andy was a really good guy today. He scored a 33 in a high scoring section, jumped a really good clear in a showjumping arena that was sloping, undulating and tricky with downhill lines and then went cross country around an intermediate track with scope to burn for an easy clear and just 1 second over time for 5th spot.

Senor Crocodillo (Diego) is just beating the drum after his successful trip to Millstreet. He scored a credible 26 on the flat, jumped a lovey clear and then went cross-country for a steady 16 time to get back into the one day game.

All in all it was a good day for the Team Price crew. Cosby Green ran Jos Ufo de Quidam ( Ufo) and Highly Suspicious (Puff) for two good runs with smart tests, a rail apiece and good runs cross country. Tim did find her off the tack under a tree at the cross country start at one point with some 18 to go so he used his charm (and the bribes of ice cream) with the starters to get her bumped up the line. Jonelle didn’t seem to have the same sort of sway and found herself at he back of the queue for the last of the intermediate runs and wasn’t impressed to be told her husband had pushed in on 4!

And as we gathered back at the truck at the end of a sunny, dry, warm day with up and coming horses, established stars, Olympic potentials and Aachen bound stars a familiar face appeared. As Lola left for Sammi Birch’s truck the unmistakable naughty face of Grovine de Reve appeared and to say that Rev was happy to be at an event was literally in his very eyes. He is a superstar in his own right. He competed alongside 5 star winner Ascona M in Tattersall’s as a 6 year old with Rodney Powell, he ran for NZ at the Worlds in Tryon with Dan Jocelyn, he was a star in Pau with Jonelle and then her Tokyo Olympic ride where he finished the best of the Kiwi eventers. He picked up an injury the spring following the Olympics in 2022 and has just, despite all best efforts, never recovered enough to come back into full work.

With amazing thanks to owner Terry Miller he now heads off to an incredible retirement home. Rev is paddock sound..100%…so he will enjoy the 5 star luxury that Terry’s other 5 star horse Enzo enjoys. They live in small herds, have shade in summer, shelter in winter, rugged daily and de rugged when required. Its an incredible set up.

But it’s not possible to say goodbye without such an emotional response. We talked about the horses who will never leave Mere Farm…Rev and Xavier Faer (Hugo) are the first to leave Chedington as 5 star superstars who will never make the Hall of Fame. It is almost more poignant to say goodbye to these two but they have both payed a massive part in the Team Price history.

Hugo and Rev. I salute you. Badminton’s, Worlds, Kentuckys, Pau’s, Fairhill’s, Burghley’s …… not all super stars make the record books but you boys earned a special space in our hearts along your journey to the top. Both horses are beloved of their riders as 5 star superstars and both Tim and Jonelle are so happy that they have futures with respective retirement homes apiece.

And just to keep it real… they are 5 star boys. Hugo was brought into the yard as a foal in a wheelbarrow cos he couldn’t be arsed to follow his mother (5 star mare Faerie Dazzler).

Rev was such a brat on the ground that even superstar yard manger Kerryn had words with him.

As the sun goes down just after the summer solstice we reflect on a couple of 5 star guys who wont be fronting up at the jogs anymore. But they will be both living their best life, with amazing memories of their 5 star lives and they will be boring the crap out of their intermediate retirees for years to come.

Happy Days.