The word “legend” may be over used, but in the case of Bug (Elite Syncopation) it is entirely fitting. He is a remarkable horse in his own right and now he has just gone and jumped clear around the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials! Best of all, he did it with a smile on his face and finished really happy and deservedly proud of himself.

He was utterly brilliant from start to finish — I’ve always known he’s got the scope to jump those big fences and has the heart of a lion, but what I was particularly impressed with was his agility and focus around this challenging course.

Yes, I accumulated a heap of time-faults but we’ve also notched up our first four-star clear round — and I have a fresh sound horse ready to showjump on tomorrow, plus we can look forward to many years ahead at this level to build on our performance.

Nana Dalton and Elite Syncopation at Burghley 2015. Picture by Peter Nixon

Nana Dalton and Elite Syncopation at Burghley 2015. Picture by Peter Nixon

A glass of champagne is awaiting me — I don’t normally drink, but if we can’t toast to being here at Burghley and jumping clear then when can we?

Here’s to Bug and all the wonderful people that have made this journey possible.

Nana

More about Elite Syncopation

Owned by Sheila Jones, Nana’s ride Elite Syncopation is a 17.1hh 12-year-old grey gelding by Golden Bash. Burghley is his first four-star, but he finished 18th at Saumur CCI3*, in France, in May this year.

“Bug” is something of a medical marvel. He has had no less than five operations and been on the operating table three times for injuries such as ripping the tendon sheath out of his leg and breaking a few vertebrae, resulting in his withers being removed.

Full report from Burghley in next week’s H&H, out Thursday, 10 September — 17 pages of photos and analysis, including columns from Ruth Edge, Lucy Wiegersma and Mark Phillips.