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Team Joyce’s Report from the Boneo Classic

Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - sarah Fly boneo small (4)
Team Joyce thoroughly enjoyed the Boneo Classic - it would have to be the ultimate equine facility. We travel to many places and the essentials are provided; being power, water and yarding areas, but Boneo Park caters for much more. As I have said in past blogs, the venue is huge and it’s still constructing new buildings from when we were there in November 2014. So to arrive only two months later and find another huge stable block incorporating an event and volunteer office, two large grassed viewing areas, one of which is to become another arena once the grass establishes, means the owners/operators are very keen to make a stance in the equine world. They have set the bar so high because not only are they expanding the features, but this time the workers and volunteers provided an outstanding level of friendliness. Everybody’s individual needs were catered for and no request was too much to bare. We arrived on Friday afternoon with Bolero and Fly, Tiffany is on holidays, so it was Sarah, Wes and I. Wes was giving Sarah the ride on Fly as he was happy to focus on Bolero for his very first World Cup Qualifier start on Sunday afternoon. 
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - Arrival at Boneo Park 
Once the horses were settled into their stables we had a quick walk around to view all of the action. A water jump was being built in Arena One and the event office ladies were handing out rider bags. There was a massive Barastoc Grand Stand perfectly situated close to the Main Ring. A food court was set out with many different types of cuisine catering for all walks of life and the NAB VIP area had fine dining written all over it. The two jumping castles set aside were sure to be a must-see for all the kiddies after having an ice-cream, face paint or pony ride. Yes pony rides as well, they had not missed a beat as everything was thought of and provided!
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - pony rides (1)
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - barastoc grand stand

Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - trade village
I would have to say the best showjump of the show had to be the Barastoc Oxer, hand-made by a very talented lady named Heidi Bast from Chick Built Jumps. It stood out above the rest with the huge red and navy blue B’s and individual planks with the names of feed manufactured by Barastoc, like ‘Cool Command’ or ‘Calm Performer’ written on each one. Just the concept and design is jaw dropping and her finish is immaculate making sure it will last a very long time. I hope this encourages many more sponsors to have their own showjump made and stand out alone, which gains the rewards from on-lookers recognising your brand! It has to be a very simple, less expensive and yet very effective way of marketing for long term.
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - wes near barastoc oxer
Saturday morning Sarah and Fly rode in the Amateur Class with about 30 other combinations. They were in the bunch of nine clean rounds and made the jump off to place a creditable 5th. Wes was to ride next on Bolero in the 1.35-1.40m Warm Up Class, which was to be a one rounder Speed Class. Wes said Bolero felt fresh and seemed to grab the right rein a bit, they had two rails and did not place. We did actually note the most refreshing observation and that was both horses were very relaxed and happy. Bolero was laying down very contently and both were eating their feeds. It’s always a good sign when young horses start to really accept the travelling every week and settle in the new places without fuss.
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - Bolero very relaxed
We had time to quickly visit the Horseland Mornington trade stand and walked out with a new Dublin helmet with a few sparkles on it and a navy Spooks riding shirt for Sarah. The first thing she said was, “Oh I like this material, Mum I will not have to iron it!”. We then saddled up with our new riding gear to have a go in the Open 1.20m Speed, her tempo, lines and corners were all very flowing with Fly jumping super resulting in one rail. We must say this duo is proving to be very compatible. 
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - 5th place for Sarah and Fly Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - Sarah with her new Horseland Dublin hat and Spooks shirt
On Saturday night we decided to go over to the Indoor Arena and watch the Dressage action of what they call Freestyle. It was fabulous, we enjoyed it immensely and were very impressed with what the riders ask of these magnificent, supple, very fit animals! Sarah made friends with a lovely young lady named Kate Farrell from Sydney who rode a stunning horse named Luxor118 and placed 3rd.
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - Sarah meets Kate
On Sunday we could sleep in a little as Sarah was to ride in the Futurity after lunch. We could sit, relax and soak up the NAB VIP area watching the jumping. The VIP ladies were so inviting and made sure everybody was well watered and fed. It is actually the first time we have experienced the VIP full on and if you get a chance, you should try it. Most shows are far too busy and we only see it from afar but this time we were in the thick of it for a few hours. To sit comfortably in the shade out of the wind and sip on water and taste the little treats was something you must experience. Boneo have mastered the art of how to treat VIP’s and I am now hooked! But will probably not do it again for quite some time.
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - NAB VIP
I had the pleasure of taking Bolero to the trot up at 4pm. I made sure we were there first to arrive as he is always much more relaxed if he is by himself especially with something new. Wes was walking the Futurity course with Sarah. Bolero stood and led like a show hack, he loved all of the attention and passed with flying colours!
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - Bolero in the trot up
The Futurity was set at 1.25m-1.30m and Fly warmed up perfectly. Wes gave her the last few pointers and off they went. Her canter pace looked spot on and proved to be so as each jump came up perfectly. With only one rail down and only 11 clean rounds out of 65 starters, Sarah and Fly were extremely happy with their result. This was the first time in over four years Sarah has attempted this height and we all felt like she had won so we celebrated back at the truck!
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - sarah Fly boneo small (1)
The biggest part of our show was about to start and Wes was dressed and ready by 4.30pm for course walk. Being Australia Day, they then play the National Anthem and introduce each rider to the public. I loved watching Wesley stand forward and raise his arms, taking off his hat and smiling at the crowd! It was his way of saying, “Hi to all and thanks for coming along to watch”. After all the proceedings riders go back to mount up while the spectators are able to also walk the course. Wes was number eight in the draw and Bolero seemed to feel fine. All riders have their back boots checked before entering the ring. Wes does not have back boots on his horses so we did not need the check. I could see from the Barastoc Grand Stand that Bolero looked very tall once in the arena, his eyes glared at all the big obstacles and at the huge crowd, the atmosphere was large and you could see the greenness in him by his response. On approach to fence one and two, Wes drew the whip gently encouraging Bolero trying to make him feel we can do this together. Wes rode each fence after that with heaps of drive and reassurance and you could see Bolero was focusing on some jumps but not all. The easiest fence for them was the open water. Wes has practised this many times at home in our paddock, he actually built his very own in the ground with a 14ft spread. They finished with 16 penalties and after dismounting gave me a huge hug. We were both so glad and so happy with our youngster Bolero de la vie Z. Now the wait to watch the others and see what goes on. Then the realisation we made the top twelve, four were eliminated and four had more faults than us so we could return and we did. 
Wes was first to go in the second round, Bolero was much more relaxed returning into the arena this time. Not once did Wes use his whip, Bolero sailed easily over every fence with confidence and flare. Just having the last oxer down, Wes blamed himself not going quick enough, just tapped it coming out. This time we not only hugged but had a little kiss as well - our excitement was massive. Our goal was achieved we have now had two wins; Sarah had one and Wes had one! The pair placed 12th and stood proud as punch in the line feeling that this is definitely the beginning of better things to come. To think back and remember Wes has only been riding this horse owned by Kim Mouser for about 12 months and it had only jumped a few small courses as a 7 year old. His age is a benefit because he can withstand the stresses of competition due to his body being fully developed and can also bring his mind and education to the forefront!
Team Joyce at Boneo Classic - wes and bolero with tier grand prize
Wes is such a clever horseman - I have proudly observed him over 25 years of being able to produce many different types no matter what the size, even ones that didn’t have much ability, giving them the will to jump. Wes has an enormous amount of passion for showjumping horses and never have I seen him not want to kick down any jump, whatever the size. The thrill of making it over clear is what burns in his belly. The chatting in the truck on the way home is the part I enjoy most, re-hashing all of the moments you reflect upon that made your show a good one. It does not have to be in the form of a silk bow, sash or ribbon to feel a huge amount of satisfaction, let it be what you achieved that’s winning!
We are so looking forward to the new showjumping season ahead. It is just a little piece of the puzzle coming together. We shall take it slow but hopefully one day we shall be writing about a higher place in a World Cup Qualifier when this new pair become one! 
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