Well, I think we have finally blown off the cobwebs at the beginning of this season. After a rocky first few outings, the horses have really settled into the season. Burnham Market turned out to be a great run for all of them.

I had Quality Purdey, Riffala Du Buisson (Holly) and Silver Birches Arthur in the novice and considering they are all new to that level they behaved beautifully. They all did lovely dressage tests, followed by great clear rounds showjumping. I was slightly apprehensive about the cross-country — I thought a couple of the questions were stiff enough for that level. I needn’t have worried, they all flew around clear, with Purdey finishing 11th, Holly 8th and Arthur 5th in their sections.

Kilcannon Watlings Crunch (Crunchie), owned by myself and Watling JCB, had a big weekend of competition — she was competing in her first CIC**. It was a big occasion for her, considering she is only just 7 years old. Crunchie didn’t disappoint, although the weather tried as hard as it could to make life difficult!

The sun came out each day at Burnham Market, but every time I got on Crunchie it seemed to start snowing — and snowing sideways. Her dressage was therefore a little distracted, as she didn’t like the snow going down her ears very much, and I can’t say I blamed her! She still scored a very credible 58. She went on to jump double clear (pictured above) and finish 19th. I was over the moon with her, because it was a tough enough two-star, especially for a horse her age.

Louie (my Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials ride Zero Flight, left) was very happy to be out two weekends on the trot and he was very excited in his advanced dressage. He kept his cool for most of the test, but didn’t really soften (or score) what I would like him to. Still, a 36 wasn’t terrible!

He showjumped clear and stormed round the cross-country until the double of corners toward the end of the course. He was strong the whole way round and I was a bit slow to bring him back for them, so he ran past the first element. I came round again and he jumped straight through, but it was probably good to have a silly mistake and a wake-up call now, rather than at Badminton.

Unfortunately for Louie, the weather is getting warmer, which means that besides galloping his swimming work can continue. It is still cold out there so we aren’t doing too much with him, but it’s so good for his fitness that he needs to keep cracking on with it. After all, Badminton is only 5 weeks away now!

So we are off to Weston Park this weekend, with all the same horses from Burnham Market, here’s hoping they can improve on what was a great run.

Lauren

Full report of Burnham Market, plus Tina Cook’s column, in H&H out this Thursday, 4 April.

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