We arrived at Luhmuhlen at 7.40 am dressed for Boekelo and with several layers of clothing firmly in place.  It seemed that the judges in the 4 star were equally as annoyed with the lack of summer weather as us as the marking continued along the lines of “brutal” which seemed to be the word of choice amongst the troops as the morning progressed.  The temperature did rise a little as the morning wore on but the marking stayed on the tough side and at one point we wondered if it would take Carl Hester and En Vogue to make them hit the 9’s button.

However, they remained consistently gloomy to be fair and when Jonelle and Hiarado (Jools) went in around 10.30 the scoring screen had failed so as we watched Jools do a super test, easily the best she has done at this level, we were unaware that the trot work was not impressing.  The scores started showing in the canter but there was no denying that Jools gave her best  and looked very much on song for continued improvement in the next few weeks.  Jonelle was rightly disappointed with a score of 32.4 but Jools was happy with her lot and went back to the stables with a bounce in her step.

Tim and Falco warmed up looking very cool and ready for a big test.  Tim let him be himself and trusted that he was now grown up enough to do what was necessary and then, as he entered the arena and got down to the bottom end,  the commentator announced Tim’s name and credentials and the crowd clapped and cheered and Falco got a fright and shot off.  The bell rang and Tim had just 45 seconds to get him back on side and he probably needed 60 seconds.  He went in with just 1 second to go ( late entry means an automatic minus 2 marks from all three judges) and the first halt was not direct but through a couple of trot steps as Falco was clearly still a bit rattled.  Some really super work, some more harsh marking and Falco finished on a 32.5 which certainly was not a reflection from the work he did.

Tim and Jonelle were both pleased with their horses and both reflective on the scores.  They are not the only combinations to be a bit mystified but it does feel like the mini Olympics here and tomorrow it will be good to see the jumps and time do the talking tomorrow.

Best grooms/supporters walk ever!