Fernhill Adventure and Wasting Light pulled out all the stops at Blenheim last week!
Wasting Light at just 8yrs old and having done his first advanced in July, finished 6th out of 65 starters in a very hot CIC*** for 8/9yr olds. He did a good test for a 47 - he was a little greener than Millstreet and wasn't quite as balanced but I think this was due to being back on grass rather than surface. He then jumped brilliantly over what was a very strong show-jump track, and was so unlucky to have the dreaded planks down! He must have only breathed on it. His cross-country is what excited me the most though, as he flew around easily inside the time making it feel like a novice. This horse has gears, and when I asked him to gallop he lowered himself and switched gears easily - with more to spare. I think he is a four star horse, and will now head to Boekelo for the CCI***. I was in two minds whether to go as he is only 8, but he has finished his last two CIC*** runs thinking "is that it?" so I think he will relish the longer distance.
Fernhill Adventure was a total star all week. To think he had only done 4 advanced, hadn't done a 3-day since Lion two years before, and chipped his stifle 4 months previously - it was a wonder we were even there! It was a tough first CCI*** with the cross-country at almost 11minutes over punishing hills, but he just finds it all so easy and is amazing at all three phases.
He finished 19th out of 101 starters in a very strong field, and he was still only 2 points off a top ten finish such was the tightness in the marks. I must admit though I was disappointed with his score of 46 in the dressage. He was drawn 6th to go and did a stunning test. It was easily better than Millstreet where he did a 41 and it is frustrating when the marking doesn't make sense. I wasn't the only one disappointed but I do think the draw didn't help me. I went to Blenheim on a horse I thought I could be top three on, but the mark put us on the back foot from the start.
He was absolutely brilliant cross-country and I was thrilled with how he galloped and made the trip. Again the draw probably didn't help us as he found it quite slippy on the turns being such a big mover, and we could hardly see a thing in the misty conditions at 9am! I think if we had gone later in the day and hadn't wasted a second or two setting up for the turns on the morning dew, we could have made the optimum time and been in a different position. While I was disappointed not to finish higher up, the most important thing was that he trotted up amazingly on Sunday and jumped a superb clear in the show-jumping. He was pure class and it could have been a foot bigger and he would have made it feel easy.
He has had the most incredible Autumn season with 5/5 double clears, including 3 wins and a 3rd in a CIC***. I am so excited about next year with him, and a huge thank you to his owner Richard Last as I feel so lucky to ride him!
It is getting to that time of year when the season is drawing to a close, but we still have Osberton with Kings Advocate and Rienroe Lucky Ranger in the CCI**, and Jensen in the 5yr old finals. Then it is off to Boekelo for the season finale with Wasting Light. We were planning on Pau CCI**** with Vaguely North, but his owner Henrietta would rather he didn't go as she will have returned to New Zealand for the winter and doesn't want him to run without her. While it is a shame not to be able to compete him again this year, his is 15 and owes us nothing and will be aimed at Badminton in the Spring.