Another glorious day at Millstreet today and Otis and Abel (AKA the caped crusaders) are having a great half term week in the sunshine. Scooby decided to come on an ice cream run in the mid afternoon but quickly decided that boxer and heat don’t mix so retired back to the shade of the truck whilst Tim and Jonelle represented NZL in the Nations Cup.

Sam Lissington had kicked off her No.1 in the team slot with a solid 30.3, albeit we thought she was a little harshly marked. Jonelle and McClaren (Mac) sparkled in the sunshine in the warm up and looked all power as they cantered up the slope to the main arena. Some horses are glad of the company of another class doing their dressage at the same time but Mac simply scowled at his fellow competitor as if to say “get out of my limelight” which is just the sort of chap Mac is. They did a solid test with just a couple of tiny errors for a 32.1 which again seemed a little on the tough side but they seemed to be sticking to the same hymn sheet for pretty much all of the horses and for much of the class Andy Heffernan was the only one in the late twenties.

Clarke Johnstone and Menlo Park (Jacko) were No.3 and after a shaky start for the first couple of movements Jacko recovered his confidence to score a credible 31.1. It’s Jacko’s first big start since the Worlds in Pratoni last September and he finished like a pro.

Falco and Tim were the last of our 4 as befits the current World No. 1 and his Pratoni Bronze medallist. Falco danced into the arena with his fancy rhythmic trot and gave a dazzling display of harmony, accuracy and suppleness. They well deserved their leading score of 24.6 and that, together with the solid performance from the rest of the team gives Team New Zealand the lead after dressage in the Nations Cup of some 11 points (86) over the other 6 teams which lie on scores closely grouped from 97.3 through to 101.5.

It’s a very nice way to start! Of course the Nations Cup is just part of the 4*S class so the rest continue tomorrow with Jonelle and Senor Crocodillo (Diego) and Tim with both Jarillo (Milo) and Happy Boy tomorrow afternoon. Long days here with Tim and Happy going at 7.30pm tomorrow evening.

Jonelle also jogged Chile’s Morning Star (Ollie) in the 3*L OGQ as part of the NZ team with Nick Brooks and Clarke Johnstone. Otis and Abel accompanied her down to the main arena and whilst Otis beat out a treasure map in the sand with a stick I found him Abel picked flowers and gave one to Jonelle to pin in her hair. It’s a lovely thought to think of her scavenging through wild meadows looking for flowers but in reality she picked them from the displays which were luckily at her head height and handed them out randomly to passers by.

Ollie does her team dressage test on Friday so it’s another busy day of dressage for Kerryn, Megan and Tilly. Our resident American Cosby Green has sort of chameleoned her way into the NZ row of stables and now is indistinguishable from the rest of the crew and its fair to say she is a most welcome and popular addition to the team. Spain are stabled together but Antonio Cerudo and Carin L is still a part of Team Price and his 32.2 test on his lovely chestnut mare was good enough to make him second of four in that Nations Cup Team.

Its a truly international feel here in sunny Millstreet!

NZL-Jonelle Price presents Chilli’s Midnight Star during the 1st Horse Inspection for the CCIO3*-L – Paris 2024 Qualifier. 2023 IRL-Millstreet International Horse Trial. Millstreet Town, Co. Cork, Ireland. Thursday 1 June 2023. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography