So begins five jam-packed days of competition at Aston Le Walls in Northamptonshire, the purpose-built eventing base of Nigel and Ann Taylor, and it almost seemed like pretty much everyone who competed at Badminton over the weekend was there as well as everyone else in the eventing world, and except for a number of people congratulating William Fox-Pitt as he went about his business you could almost be forgiven for thinking Badminton never happened — it’s definitely back to business as usual. All scores/times are here.
One major difference though was the weather; the sun shone for most of the day and the footing was fairly firm in places despite some spiking and I saw extra dirt laid down on some landings. Not to worry too much as the forecast tomorrow is for “ground-soaking” rain all day. Oh Joy! The water complex, a skinny log with brush behind in, up a bank with a long on top, and then down to another skinny log out probably caused the most trouble whilst I was there but on the whole the course seemed fairly straight-forward.
Today was the Intermediate and Open Intermediate Divisions and Harry Meade was back in the saddle and an absolute pleasure to watch after being equally so to listen to all weekend in Gloucestershire. Ditto Blyth Tait looking very good and making it all look rather easy, especially on Darius.
I couldn’t stay all day but was there long enough to see Andrew Nicholson back on form and top two sections, and to be impressed by Tom McEwen on a couple of very nice horses. Lots of very nice younger horses in the straight Intermediate divisions, and some more experienced combinations in the OI getting runs in before the big three days still to come.
Aston Le Walls is a great event to spectate at when the weather is good — it’s well-organised, the viewing is great and the divisions are stuffed with the who’s who of international eventing.
I was most happy to catch up with Canadian rider Rebecca Howard who cruised around on her experienced campaigner Riddle Master as part of his prep for the CIC3* at Tattersalls and then the CCI4* in Luhmühlen.
Rebecca now has her own separate stable block within Tim and Jonelle Price’s yard where she is still based near Marlborough. She has seven horses of her own, and rides 20 a week for Tim and Jonelle, and gets a lot of her help from Jonelle too.
Many, many thanks to Rebecca for chatting and wishing her and Rupert the very, very best of luck this Spring. Go Canada and Go Eventing!