It’s a fair old hike up to Oasby from deepest Dorset and it was a very early alarm call for the team at Chedington to kick the eventing season off, but that’s nothing new for the start of the season. With Oasby and Tweseldown being back to back Tim and Jonelle were in the car and it was a misty murky grey course walk at Oasby at first light. Still cold here in the UK at night with temps around 1 to 3 degrees and whilst we know we only visit Oasby in March and October it always seems cold and grey!

Blowing the cobwebs away very much describes a day much alike to the curates egg. The good bits were Chio 20 doing a very nice dressage for a 29.3, the return to competition of L E B Lias Jewel with Jonelle and very good going on the cross country.

More interestingly though were the typical ‘it’s been a while’ moments. Having spent three weeks on the Sunshine Tour in February both Chio and Dromgurrihy Gold (Dara) were well prepped for the showjumping although the footing in Vejer de la Frontera was a world away from the sticky mud at Oasby. Chio warmed up like a champion and Tim was feeling pretty happy and about to go in when Chio did one of the things he does best and dropped Tim into the mud. He has a wicked spin technique that he can deploy when one least expects it! Tim then jumped a lovely clear round in his muddy breeches and had a great run cross country. Dara tipped a single pole which was impressive given the going and then ran beautifully cross country before somewhat inexplicably finishing with the big E on the board. Turns out that despite having ridden around the track on Chio Tim had managed to miss out a fence! Dara doesn’t know that he had skipped one of the questions but its best to get these moments out of the way early in an Olympic year.

Meanwhile Jonelle was not without a blonde moment as it turned out. Full Monty de Lasence (FM) won the warm up but tapped out three rails in the arena and Jewel picked up 4 faults as well. Neither of those horses enjoyed a trip to Spain so a bit of stage fright was not entirely unexpected, especially from FM. Jonelle was having a super ride on Jewel and was pleasantly surprised at how good the going was and as she turned to the second last she simply couldn’t see the white flag for trying. Fearing something was amiss she pulled up and checked with the fence judge who (one assumes) was slightly incredulous and pointed to a white flag masquerading as a branch behind a bush. Jonelle then popped the fence and completed the track but the judge had decided to award her a 20 for a stop which was not entirely within the bounds of good sportsmanship! FM, unlike Dara, benefitted from Jonelle’s second go and jumped a very nice clear.

A bit of a slow trip on the M25 took the pair to Tweseldown where they have 9 horses running on Saturday. Jonelle described their decision to walk the course today as putting them dangerously close to the “eventing nerds” group and but needs must with 9 horses and a reputation to redeem!