Quite the stark contrast to Blenheim Palace today for the babies as they headed out to their last one day of 2023 in the less than immaculate grounds of Moreton Morrell Agricultural College. Clearly ‘mowing grass’ hasn’t been covered in the curriculum yet , neither ‘strimming’ but at least we are spared the horrors of the old showjumping warm up in the cramped indoor arena where life expectancy for a helper was slightly less than that of a fighter pilot in World War 1.

Tim had Priorspark Royal Riff-Raff (Raffi) for a spin around the novice before his first international in the 2S at Lignieres next week. Raffi has become very dependable this season and turned out a 29 double clear for 8th spot which is a commendable way to finish your last one day although he is still not entirely trusted tied up to the truck and spends allot of time hanging out inside it!

Faerie Usain (Maude) is just 5 and she was finishing off her first season eventing with a novice run and she smashed it out of the park with a double clear. This time last year she was scattering poles at showjumping days as she couldn’t shorten or find her balance and today she jumped a super round and as Tim says, is really starting to use her body. It wasn’t an easy show jumping or cross country and now she can head home to Trisha’s estate and hang out with her illustrious 5 star mates Faerie Dianimo ( Maggie May), Xavier Faer (Hugo) and Classic Moet (Molly). Plenty of 5 star advice there to come forth on holiday chats!

Jonelle had her trio eventing first season buddies, Illico de l’Esques (Nico), J’Orange (Daisy) and Faerie Good Golly (Maude’s full sister). Neither Golly nor Nico impressed the dressage judges in their first novice test but Daisy did and cracked a 29. They all show jumped well, Golly exceptionally well for a clear, whilst Daisy and Nico both just touched a rail for 4 faults. Its funny to watch them develop…at Tweseldown back in the summer Daisy was really opinionated whilst Nico was pretty quiet and now they have totally swapped roles!

Moreton is a bit of a mixed bag cross country. It’s half educational and half ‘take you by surprise’ like the innocent looking roll top which has quite the drop on it! Tim described it as “You put some revs in on the approach and your baby horse is like, why are you pressuring me to this innocuous looking roll top, then they go to take off and see no landing and dry up on you, then they bravely leap and struggle to sort their feet on landing and then you canter away and they are like, thanks Dad, for nothing, that wasn’t what I was expecting”. And a more in depth review you couldn’t ask for. Anyway, they all negotiated the drop of doom but it was the tricky bounce up to a skinny that caught Daisy out for a 20 to the right but once she understood the question she popped it nicely.

So that’s 4 lovely young horses all produced through to novice in their first year of eventing and that is quite the perfect point to turn them away for a holiday until mid November. They get nice (ish!) weather and good grass and some well earned downtime. Just can’t beat dreaming of the futures for these guys.