I’m already regretting my promise at the end of the last blog to be “more exciting” next time… thank you to the kind friend who pointed this out, however I shall give it a shot!
After a quick stop at Wetherby services (classy) for Trev (Treefers) and I to be interviewed by Look North, we arrived at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and settled into stable number 30.
We collected our wristbands and various other exciting gift bags – including the famous black Burghley cross-country numbers (which set my stomach churning!) and our plaque to say we’ve arrived… even if I fall at the first they can’t take that away!
I set off for a hack in glorious evening sunshine, leaving my father squeezing the lorry into a space just big enough for a mini cooper and my mother telling him off for doing so. My sense of direction isn’t renowned for being top notch, so when I came across an enormous cross-country fence on my travels I did begin to panic – however, a horseshoe sign reassured me I was heading the right way.
I trundled past Burghley House and along to the main arena (still cannot quite believe I can say that) while Trev squeaked and I clung to my neck strap – trying not to pay too much attention to the enormity of it all.
Once we’d managed to partly calm ourselves down, Trev retired to his stable for the evening while I helped organise the lorry and caught up with fellow Burghley virgin Willa Newton. We made plans to hack in the morning holding hands so neither of us could do any wrong / have a mini breakdown.
Hack was successful – phew – Chip (Neelix) and Trev talked man things, they’ve missed each other. Willa and I managed to only go off course a handful of times, caught up on life and turned into tourists marvelling at the beautiful setting – trying to take pictures on fresh ponies is certainly not big or clever so unfortunately crazy photos will have to do until I’m on two feet.
The rider briefing was the next thing to make me feel rather out of my depth… the imminent arrival of my groom/nanny/legend of the week Lynn Cree (Lynny Babes) couldn’t come soon enough!
So now I’m sitting in Big Trev’s stable watching Lynny Babes work her magic (yes, I am very spoilt) while the rain batters down – making me regret my decision to wear suede boots and a dress to the trot-up… I knew I went to Scotland for a reason – to acclimatise myself to this delightful weather.
Hopefully next time I’m writing Trev and I will have swanned through the trot-up without embarrassing ourselves, our training from Ian Stark will have been foot perfect with minimal shouting on his part and whimpering on mine, the arena walk will produce a calm mannerly Trevor, I’ll have behaved at the BBQ and we will be ready to do the dressage test of our lives… Seeing is believing!
We were perhaps marginally more exciting this time… no doubt I will soon find out from said “friend”!
Follow every phase of Burghley as it happens using H&H Live, our interactive written commentary supported by Baileys Horse Feeds. Go to www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghley2012live to set a reminder and join in.
Make sure you buy H&H next week (6 September) for our 10-page special Burghley report, with full analysis of every phase, comments from dressage expert Sally O’Connor and former winner Ginny Elliot and more.