Showjumping to start the day and with another compact site the jumping was one side of the string and the cross country warm up the other.  The cross country actually started half way through the showjumping which was exactly when Jonelle was warming up and as soon as Grappa Nera (Grape) heard the first whistle blow she turned into the fire breathing dragon that is her default persona.

Jonelle just jumped one warm up fence and went into the arena hoping that Grape wouldn’t run through the distances as she is prone to do when she gets hot.  But Grape is growing up and she jumped what Jonelle described as a “particularly good” round giving the fences plenty of air and being polite to ride.

Not long later Grape and Jonelle headed out cross country and if the plan was to sneak away to Europe and jump around a slightly under the radar track then it had fallen apart spectacularly.  Eric Winter was the designer so the waters in particular were tough and the stats tell the story: of the 21 starters just 11 came home.

Grape and Jonelle jumped a cracking round and Jonelle was really happy with her.  For sure Grape has a win at Pau and rounds at Badminton and Kentucky under her belt but it was still always going to be a challenge to see how rideable she was after such a short time since she was in the heady atmosphere of the prize giving at Badminton.  Grape could not have ticked the boxes more emphatically to say “if you need me I am most certainly here for Paris”.  And she picked up second place adding just 13.2 time to her dressage score and a few Euros to boot.

No time to hang around though….it’s a 14 hour trip back home and Jonelle did mention that 14 hours in a two horse cab is much tougher on the body than in a 26 tonne truck with living!  Saturday morning sees Tim and Jonelle have a training morning with legendary show jumper ( and eventer at Barcelona Olympics) Luis Alvarez Cevera as they prep the Luhmuhlen horses for their test next week.  Then it is West Wilts on Sunday with 8 young horses before another trek across the English Channel to hang with  our sausage eating friends in Germany.

It’s back to #sleepinNovember with less than 50 days to go before the Games!