Burghley first-timer’s blog: Coral Keen’s ready to go

  • I was so saddened to hear about the death of Harry Meade’s horse Wild Lone at WEG. It goes to show you never know what is around the corner.

    Losing a horse like that, that Harry had developed such an incredible partnership with, is like losing a best friend and my heart goes out to him and all of his connections.

    Partnerships like theirs take years to develop and having ridden Derby since he was a four-year-old it really brought home to me what they must be going through.

    Derby had an easy day on Friday after working on the gallops on Thursday and I worked on his suppleness and transitions in the school.

    On Saturday I got up really early to ride Cascadelle and Ashbury Willow at Treborough which is in the middle of nowhere on Exmoor and close to where Derby was born.

    They both went very well, making the cross-country course feel like a breeze. Cascadelle was sixth in a BE100 and Ashbury Willow ninth in an open BE100.

    Emily rode Derby at home, trotting up the hills but nothing too strenuous.

    On Sunday we were up early again to take Derby to Parwood Equestrian where I had a jumping lesson with Corinne Bracken. I was so pleased with him as he felt super.

    He was very relaxed and soft so we concentrated on getting more power as well as the pace I would jump from on Sunday. We also had a little play in the water jump which he enjoyed.

    I took some time off in the afternoon to watch WEG and ended up falling asleep for about four hours.

    With hindsight it has probably done me the world of good as I’ve been trying to shake off a bad cold.

    We had another early start on Monday morning for a dressage lesson with Nick Burton who didn’t feel the need to change too much and seemed to really like Derby saying he moves very well and is incredibly trainable.

    He gave me a few pointers on how to get more marks out of him and we went through some of the test movements.

    It was really useful for me to get an opinion from a judge’s point of view. He’ll be at Burghley where he will be commentating on the dressage and he said he would give me some help after the trot up and during his lunch break which was very kind of him.

    Tomorrow (Tuesday) we leave for Burghley at about 12.30pm. Before that Derby will have a few hours in the field, half an hour on the horse walker and I will hack him out up the hills. He’ll have his legs iced as usual and I’ve also been using an Activo-Med pulse magnetic and massage rug which has been fantastic and will be coming with me to Burghley.

    I also have five horses to work so it will be another early start and then that’s it, we’re on the road to Burghley.

    The lorry’s packed, I’ve done a big supermarket shop, my outfits have arrived from Katherine Partis and I am now allowing myself to feel slightly excited.

    That said if I see a stone, I still think Derby might tread on it!

    I feel like we’ve done everything in our preparation that I wanted to, although horses are horses and things can still go wrong. If they do they do, but we are nearly there now, and I can’t wait!

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