Sonia Chapman reports..
Receiving a number with four digits is not usual in eventing, unless you are competing at Aston Le Walls where events 4 days long crammed with people is the norm.
Wednesday at Aston dawned and with it came the rain, for evidence Jonelle Price put up a video on her Instagram showing one of her show jumping rounds well you can just about see her. While many people use Aston, particularly in the early season as a pleasant stepping up event to intermediate, the weather combined with a more beefed up course than usual proved tricky for many. After the hard-dry ground, competing in torrential rain and mud, while less concussing on horses’ legs caused tricky conditions. Leading to only 14 people making the intermediate cross-country time over 7sections, while the open intermediate sections with more experienced horses finding the time easier to make.
Open Intermediate section L was won by Kitty King and Vendredi Biats, who were on a confidence building mission after a disappointing Badminton. A sparkling dressage to put them way ahead of the field, followed by a double clear to finish on their dressage score mission accomplished, and they had fun into the bargain.
Section F won by Ludwig Svennerstal and Bally Quantos was a much tighter affair with the top six all within 2 marks. Section D saw a win for Samantha Hobbs on the Preci-Spark Tretawn, edging out the new Badminton Champion on Calling Card a new ride for this season previously campaigned by Aoife Clark. In fact, Piggy French, show just why she is Badminton champion by piloting numerous horses into the placing across the intermediate and open intermediate sections, hard work eventually pays off.
Georgisauraus produced what was described by William Fox-pitt “beautiful test” to score 19.8 and was never troubled to win intermediate section E. In fact, the nearest dressage score was 25.2 achieved by intermediate debutant Magnifique Van De Doornhaag (pity the poor commentators) and Flora Harris, who eventually finished 11th after a couple of poles and a few cross-country time. William also came 6th in this section on Grafennacht, who is for sale on Fox Pitt eventing. Both of Williams horses now head for Tattersalls with Georgisauraus in the 3*L and Grafennacht in the Young Horse 2*L.
While many were caught out by the combinations on the cross-country course across the intermediate sections, spare a thought for Emily King and Langford Take the Biscuit who tripped, and nosedived into the water. While they probably did not get any wetter, they are both apparently fine a bit battered and bruised but did take time to thank Aston “for the beautiful tasting water & the free mud facial!’
Holly Woodhead continues to rebuild her string and won intermediate section K on the aptly named Future, whose future Holly is excited about. The stunning Chilli Morning son Party Trick took second in this section with Nick Gauntlett on there first attempt at the level.
Just for good measure Aston rounded out 4 days of affiliated competition with one day of unaffiliated on Sunday, definitively what you call a well-oiled machine.