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More wins at Bicton

We thought we'd had a good week already with two winners on Tuesday but it was topped off by an excellent day at Bicton today.  It began with a seriously early start for us all, leaving the yard at 3.30am, but it was a thoroughly worthwhile trip with two more winners, a 2nd and 4th!


We had five horses competing today so it a very busy day for the team.  All five horses were fantastic and it was only Zebedee who had the bad luck when he slipped and fell on the flat half way round the cross country. It was only his second intermediate and was well placed after a good dressage, scoring 31, and a clear round in the show jumping. The cross country course was demanding with several tough combinations that were top end of intermediate technicality. He was giving me a great ride but slipped on the flat and fell. I had already raised concerns to the officials about some of the turns which were on reverse cambers, and one in particular which was where he later slipped over. Luckily he was fine and under the old rules I would have carried on (falls on the flat incurred no penalties and riders were allowed to remount and continue). It was extrememly frustrating for us all, especially for his owners, Philippa and Toby Bates.  Even more frurstratingly he could have won his section and would certainly have been very well placed.  


Shannondale Santiago was a star, winning his Open Intermediate section convincingly with a lovely dressage test scoring 28 and a confident double clear. I didn't take him particularly quickly across country as he is running again next weekend, in his first advanced at Wellington, so just let him have a nice run round, so it was very pleasing to win by a convincing margin of 5 marks.


Our two horses in the Intermediate Novice were fighting out the competion between them, lying first and second after the dressage on 25 and 27.  Vrolijk, who led the dressage, let himself down in the show jumping as he was distictly casual rolling two poles. He operates best when he jumps in the collecting ring and then goes straight in, but at Bicton the collecting ring as some way away and after a short hack there was a holding area where horses waited for the next two to jump before going in, and while I think this actually helps most horses be a little fresher and sharper in the the ring, he switched off. Away Cruising jumped a lovely clear round to put him in the lead ahead of the cross country.  It had started to rain heavily and Away Crusing went in the worst of the weather and had a couple of time faults, while the more experienced Vrolijk went inside the time to beat his stable mate by 0.2 of a penalty and give him his second win of the week!


It was a quick change (after being caped in mud from Zebedee's slip up and then heavy rain for the other horses' corss country) for Tall Story who, despite being given his breakfast at 2.30am, only started his day in the late afternoon. He has been unbelievably consistent this season and didn't let the side down today.  He worked really well in the dressage and felt lovely and relaxed and went on to jump yet another double clear, his ninth consecutive double clear this season, to finish fourth the in Open Novice.  


Huge thanks, as always, to our very supportive owners who all got totally drenched in the torrential rain and never stopped smiling, and to Jess and Hannah who did a slick job keeping the horses coming on a very tight timing schedule!  


Photograph:  Shannondale Santiago making light work of the show jumping on his way to a win in the OI

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