The last one day of the year and four advanced horses to ride around the OI section at Oasby for a leg stretch before Pau 5 star.  It’s been odd weather for October, unseasonably warm but Saturday dawned with a distinct chill in the air and a drop of some fifteen degrees from the day before.

Still, getting to the last one day without getting absolutely drenched is always a bonus.  All four of the horses put in spot on performances for a perfect final run.  Jonelle is still professing to be “grumpy” after Boekelo didn’t go to plan but she did say that her rides at Oasby “even put a smile on my face today” which is high praise!  Hiarado (Jools) put her best foot forward to score a truly smart 25.9 (which was just 0.9 off the lead) and that’s one mare who knows when to step up for sure. McClaren also pointed his toes for a 28.6 and he was really happy to be back out as he hasn’t had a start since Wellington at the end of August.

Tim and Happy Boy were sitting on a 27.3 and then Viscount Viktor sneaked ahead with a 26.6.  Fair to say all the advanced horses find the dressage at OI level pretty easy and with just one section for advanced horses at Oasby Tim and Jonelle were in full on domination mode!

Jonelle described the showjumping footing as “a bit soft” but added that when you have jumpers as good as hers it hardly matters. Mac  is a bit of a legend over the poles and Jools is fast becoming one too.  Happy is a good jumper and Viktor has just got better and better all year so it was 4 clear rounds on the board before they all headed out to the cross country.

They all skipped around the track with time penalties between 12 and 14 to finish up with Jools in 3rd, Happy in 4th, Viktor in 5th and Mac in 7th.  Tim says his feel like they had the perfect prep for their first 5 star at the end of the month and Jonelle agreed.  Mac may have all the experience in the world but its a step up for Jools as well.

It kind of seems fitting that when so many of the 5 star superstars retired at the end of last year that already there are three new recruits to the level.  And Tim has an unexpected week at home after Falco didn’t get on the plane to Maryland but ended up having an emergency operation to remove a tumour from his intestine that had initiated a sudden bout of colic.  I always think of Falco being like a prep school kid, the kind that has no idea where the staff quarters are, but he certainly timed his illness to perfection as if he knew ‘matron’ was one hand.  He waited until vets Christiana Ober and John Hurcomb arrived at Chedington before he started the drama and was on his way to surgery before he knew it.  Timing is everything and whilst Falco is on the mend and swiftly recuperating it could have been a very different story if it had happened mid Atlantic.

Hopefully no more surprises for the team before they head down to the South of France!