Team McEwen hit the ground running with three consecutive days of competition lined up for the first weekend of sport since mid March. Friday saw Tom at Tweseldown with three OI rides, all experienced horses which was the perfect way to dust off the cobwebs.
Braveheart B (Dougie) scored a competitive 26 on the flat and followed that up with a classy double clear adding 14 time to his score. Prolific winner Dreamaway (Dreamer) posted a 25 in his section and also went double clear with 8.8 time which is a slow round for him! Brookfield Benjamin Bounce (Bounce) won the dressage in his section with a very cool 23 and he too left all the coloured poles in place before a steady clear cross country. Tom commented that he thought the track was one of the nicest and most flowing that he had encountered at Tweseldown which is good news for Rachel Faulkner and Jump 1 as they had all worked tirelessly to get the event up and running with limited notice.
Barbury Castle was also up against the odds time wise and the job that the Muskateer team in conjunction with the on site estate staff had done was phenomenal and we were greeted with the usual rolling downland which was groomed to perfection. The basic set up with just the National classes was received with enthusiasm by the riders and the dressage being run in the old BYEH area was much praised. Everyone hates riding novices down to Rabbit Valley for the dressage as the chances are if you don’t get bucked off on the way down you may well on the way back!
It was also cool having two warm up rings for the showjumping as there was none of the usual fighting for a vertical or an oxer. All the helpers and volunteers were nice and friendly and the whole event had a relaxed but efficient vibe to it.
And the sun was shining as Tom gave a live early morning interview to BBC Breakfast who were on site. I don’t think I have ever heard Tom be quite so eloquent at such an early hour! Then it was down to business with 5 rides for the day across the novice classes where Tom yet again showed how his horses have been well trained during the last few months.
Star of the day was Spring Morning (Charlie) who excelled himself with a 20 dressage (that’s a cracking 80%) and added nothing more to it for a win on his first competitive outing with Tom. MHS Brown Jack (jack) was also on good form with a 22 and a double clear with just 3.6 time to add for 4th spot in his section. Going one better was Something Extra (Sonny) who finished 3rd with a 24 and just 1.6 time and relished the run across the old turf and rolling hills.
Charlie’s half brother brother, Royal Spring (Ralph) has been with Tom from the start of his career and he too was a credit to owner Philip Walker with a 26 and a double clear just one second over the time allowed for another 4th spot. All in all it was a really great day for the novices and a great way for them to start off the remainder of their season. Sunday sees the return of yard superstar Toldeo de Kerser along with 4 of his advanced and intermediate mates…. and the promise of more good weather.