Well I couldn’t be happier. Ginger has been amazing — a total star and words just can’t describe how much I owe him and how fantastic he has been. As you might guess, I did get round and I did go clear!! We did 2 long routes, but I don’t mind at our first ever 4-star.
We did a pretty slow round and I’m sure Mark Todd (my partner in the international pairs competition) will be a bit disappointed when he looks at my score. But I do have a slight excuse for being a bit cautious. As I came to the 3rd fence I was stopped; I thought there must have been a fall. The steward came over and said “the ground jury have said to stop you as your horse has a nose bleed”. I was mortified and said: “Well wasn’t it like that at the start? Nobody said anything there. So what’s happening?” I was told the vets were already on their way, but I had to wait until they came.
Then the steward informed me that I was OK to start again. I was confused and asked: “Well is my horse OK?” The steward replied: “You can go whenever you’re ready, it’s fine.” So I set off feeling quite worried that at any stage I could be pulled up as Ginger had had a nosebleed. I was so worried about him getting tired as I thought they would be waiting for the tiniest reason to stop me. I can tell you it was really off-putting having that hanging over me as I went around my first Burghley.
It wasn’t until my return that I found out they had got the wrong horse. They stopped me as well as Jock Paget, whose horse was having a bit of a nosebleed. Ginger didn’t have one but they didn’t tell me they had stopped the wrong horse and Ginge was fine! Anyway it’s all done with now and we are none the worse for wear, but it would have been nice to know he was OK.
My round was brilliant to ride and I had such fun, I can’t wait for my next go. I wasn’t totally decided what I would do at the Rolex fence, but decided to go long as Ginger was trying so hard for me that I didn’t want to give him any more efforts than necessary.
I had already decided to go long at the Land Rover Dairy Farm, but as Ginger was jumping so well and carefully, I decided to do the Graylag Goose even though beforehand I had been going to do the nest. I was really looking forward to doing the Cottesmore Leap (pictured top) and desperate to get a picture there, but Ginger just stepped over and made it feel pretty boring actually!
Again I must thank Hit Air for their jacket as I had no idea I was wearing it — it was so light and didn’t make me over heat. I would also like to thank everyone who came to support me — it was so lovely to hear the cheers as I came through the finish, and to see some of you at the sidelines.
It was the most emotional moment ever riding back into the main arena, I started crying as soon as I got off, and didn’t stop for quite a while! I was just so proud of Ginger — I adore him and admire him even more now than before. He is my hero and has helped me achieve a lifetime dream, and he has given his owners some incredible memories as well.
He is now standing with his ice boots on, munching his haylage, none the wiser as to what he has just achieved and how ecstatic he has made so many people. What a special horse he is.
Find out how Alex gets on in tomorrow’s trot-up in our online report tomorrow morning. Join H&H Live to follow every showjumping round as it happens from around 10.30am on Sunday 8 September.