“He was really good. He’s beautiful – we all know he’s beautiful – and he was fantastic,” said Izzy after her test. “He just felt with me from the word go when I got on him this morning. He’s a very cool horse and he’s beginning to be really established – I can go in the ring, breathe, enjoy it and ride every single step. When you can put the horse’s foot wherever you want, that’s when you can do the test you want.”
Izzy and the 11-year-old that she co-owns with Mark Sartori, were awarded high marks throughout, including a 10 from the judge at M, France’s Xavier Le Sauce, for her final halt. Their trot work was expressive and Monkeying Around was loose and athletic for the entire test.
“He had a jump yesterday and had a canter this morning,” said Izzy when asked about her preparation. “He loves having fun and he doesn’t always know the difference between fun and not behaving! So we’ve slightly changed things up a bit and try to make sure it’s fun. He loves galloping about and he loves jumping so that’s what we did. We’re all different and I’ve just been trying to figure out how to get the best out of him and I think we’re on the right track.”
Izzy said she has promised Monkeying Around he can go hunting “when he wins a big one”.
“I hunted him a lot as a four- and five-year-old, because he’s so foreign and I wasn’t convinced he was a real-life eventer,” she explained. “He adores hunting and he adores the hounds, which is funny because he’s a sharp horse but the hounds really just make him smile.”
Matthew Heath, who was second into the dressage this morning, scored an impressive 29.8 to go into joint third with Ros Canter at this stage of the competition. He was riding Plum Rowland’s 13-year-old gelding Askari.
“I’m really pleased with him. He did a super test at Burnham Market and then I left him a little fresh at Houghton and he got the better of me there, but we seemed to get it about right today,” explained Matt after his Bramham Horse Trials dressage. “He’s a lovely type, he’s just got quite an exuberant brain and it’s just a case of trying to get contain all that energy and to use his big movement with me, not against me.”
Matt was given the ride on Askari three years ago when his previous jockey, Richard ‘Dickie’ Waygood became busy with his job as performance manager for the British eventing team.
“When Dickie got too busy to carry on competing at the level he was [three-star], he very kindly handed him over and we’ve had a mixed road on the way here, but we’ve had some good results as well and I’m looking forward to having a jump round tomorrow.”
Another rider to score well enough to get into the top 10 earlier this morning was Oliver Townend. The judges awarded him a 30.6 riding Sir John Peace’s As Is, who was produced to four-star level by Andrew Nicholson – Oliver only took on the ride a month ago.
“He is obviously very new, but I think he’s a lovely horse and I’m very grateful to Caunton Manor Stud for investing in him and Sir John Peace and his daughter Victoria,” said Oliver. “We’re just here really as a qualification for the bigger stuff. It’s a case of getting this year out of the way, letting the dust settle and then hopefully come out next year with a bunch of horses qualified for top level stuff.”
Oliver said that his job is made “a lot easier” when he takes on horses that have been professionally produced.
“It’s nice when they have been produced by professionals because you know that, in general, the buttons are going to be there or thereabouts,” he explained after his Bramham Horse Trials dressage. “And obviously I’ve ridden lots of horses after Andrew Nicholson – I must have ridden about 20 of his by now, so at the end of the day the horses, when they get to this level, if they’ve been produced by professionals, they are professionals themselves so that makes my job a lot easier.”
Keep up-to-date with all the action from Bramham via horseandhound.co.uk and read the full magazine report in the 16 June issue of Horse & Hound
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