One minute standing on the podium at Millstreet, winning the 4*S event and the Nations Cup teams and the next sitting on Faerie Usain (Maude) ‘s arse on the buckle end behind the saddle and seeing it all go horribly wrong! That’s eventing!

But I digress. Well before we get to the debut of Classic Moet (Molly)’s children we have the upgrade of a couple of babies to novice. Tim had Priorspark Royal Riff-Raff (Raffi) and The Highlander (Ivar) both on first time novice starts and yet again we found ourselves at West Wilts which is not an ideal up grade or first time track for any horse. It is massively educational for the horses with questions you don’t always see but having to hunt down to a hedge in the field line is one thing, following that up with a 90 degree turn to a skinny requires a whole more year of education!

Raffi impressed his judge in the dressage for a 27.8 whilst Ivar managed to somehow fall out of his arena when he got slightly unbalanced on a turn for an uncharacteristic 31.5. More used to scoring in the flashy twenties I am sure Ivar was mortified but they both show jumped clear round a technical track on the all weather and both excelled themselves cross country with clear rounds to finish 8th and 11th and gain their very first BE points. It is some journey to the top but it all begins with just a couple of points and the boys were good today.

Jonelle was piloting new ride EG Tiger Chilli (Lily) for the Chedington estate and having had a mixed record so far was hoping to downgrade to 100 for her first run. The 100 option meant starting dressage when everything else was finished at 4.36 so Jonelle declared herself happy to crack on at novice and her decision paid off when Lilly posted a 31.5 and a double clear for 11th and a nice start to their partnership.

First timers and West Wilts. We have history here….my heart was broken a couple of years ago when Faerie Deodoro (Milo), son of 5 star winner Faerie Dianimo, made his debut here and having baulked at half the showjumping tried to stop at most of the fences cross country. Milo now leads a life of luxury as a low level eventer/hack/mate/dude and is possibly the luckiest chap on earth. Each to their own and all that but we had high hopes for Faerie Good Golly (Golly) and Faerie Usain (Maude) who are twins in all but DNA ( yep, work that one out, I am still struggling… although it may be DNA but some other reason why they are sisters not twins…!). They are both Molly’s babies by the late great Upsilon and whilst Maude is a strapping 16.3 dapple grey (Upsilon) Golly is a petite dark brown 15.3 (Molly).

All the best plans and all that….WWEC wasn’t supposed to be their debut but with the mad calendar we have had it turns out it was. Golly was a bit scared of the white boards in the dressage as not allot of white boards adorn the indoor at Chedington but scored a credible 28.8. Maude takes just three strides to cross the short side so found the arena a little tight for her frame so a score of 34 was probably pretty fair.

Showjumping warm up was interrupted as the crew were trying to load the Didi to go home but Raffi, who I assume had travelled to the event on the Maxi, was not impressed to be going home on the economy bus. The team did a good job of dealing with his reluctance and did get him on the Didi some 10 mins after asking but then Raffi burst back down the ramp loose and on a mission to cause trouble. He did some impressive pure dressage trot moves around the truck park, swung his lead rope in bandit style Mid West antics at passing 100 horses and generally acted like a divvy. Tim hopped off Maude, came back for some ground work and successfully loaded Raffi onto the Didi. There was a minor scuffle in the truck which was either Raffi trying to perfect Colditz escape 2 or Tim having a word in his ear but when Tim emerged unscathed Happy Boy’s owner Terry Miller breathed a sigh of relief as hers and Susan Lamb’s Happy has already embarked on his journey to Luhmuhlen 5 star and Tim in star fish mode wasn’t on their game plan.

Back on Maude Tim completed his warm up and jumped a super, if unconventional, round. Jonelle was the same on Golly….the technicalities of the showjumping were bit beyond the capabilities of 5 year olds so they arrived at fences in weird angles but let the horses bodies jump straight and they left all the poles in place. Golly has always been pretty careful but Maude has come on heaps and bounds since her showjumping stint last autumn when she simply didnt have the tools to shorten down a related distance and would take out the fence in front where as today the showed her athleticism and scope.

Tim set off cross country first and made a great fist of the first 4 fences. He ran into trouble at 5A which was a skinny with no real ground line and no pot plants to guide the babies so a bit beyond a 5 year old. Maude ran off left and Tim represented with all the confidence of a doomed man. About a stride and half away Maude dropped her right shoulder so Tim adopted defence mode, sat back and prepared to try and hold her in.

In a lightbulb moment Maude suddenly decided this was a fence! She boldly launched at it and Tim was suddenly and irretrievably behind the movement. Maude cleared the fence but Tim now found himself sitting on Maude’s arse, on the buckle and behind the saddle. He did three strides, saw disaster impending, Maude started to pick up the pace and it was a miracle she hadn’t bucked him off into next week so Tim scissored his right leg over to the the side and bailed. How I wish we had this on video but sadly we don’t.

Yep, Tim bailed. I have never written that before and he has the grass stains on his breeches to prove it! As he commented, he has never gone out of the back door before, quite the moment. And we all know Tim hates grass stains on his breeches.

Meanwhile, held at fence 4 is Jonelle on equally green Golly. Tim hacked back to her, this time actually in the saddle, to update her on fence 5A. The PA system had rather unfortunately informed us that Maude had had a horse fall which thankfully was incorrect and Jonelle asked her fence steward if she could go back and jump the previous fence. Rather oddly the fence judge said no, but Jonellc could go jump any unflagged fence in the vicinity. Since WWEC has a great XC schooling field Jonelle then commenced a good XC session and having jumped some 10 practice fences re started and somehow made it though fence 5A and came home clear.

So at first dibs its Golly 1, Maude 0. But it was fun, funny and so very typical of the day out that the young horses give you. All the drama of the big days with absolutely none of the pressure. Happy days indeed.