Coral Keen’s Burghley first-timer blog: We’ve arrived!

  • Burghley debutante Coral Keen will be blogging for H&H in the run up to and during this year's Burghley Horse Trials (4-7 September). Follow her journey with Wellshead Fare Opposition aka Derby here.

    We arrived at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 2 September) and my first thoughts were that you could tell you are somewhere really special. Even the lorry park has been mown to perfection.

    We unloaded Derby and the vet inspected him before we gave him a pick of grass and then settled him into his stable. So far he’s taking it all in his stride.

    Burghley goodies

    Burghley goodies

    We signed in and both my groom Emily Kelly and I were presented with a huge bag of goodies (see left). That is a lovely touch. Emily is made up.

    There’s a £250 prize and an outfit sponsored by Mountain Horse for the winner of the best turned out horse so she’ll be pulling out all the stops to win that.

    Last night we made camp. I’ve got a gazebo, table and chairs and a barbeque for outside the lorry so my friends and family can have a lovely time while they are here. I cooked supper and then we both had an early night ready before our 7am start this morning.

    Our Burghley camp

    Our Burghley camp

    Everything went smoothly prior to leaving the yard on Tuesday afternoon. I started riding at 7am, schooled five and rode through some of the four-star movements on my other horses. I really wanted to cement the test in my head without riding it on Derby too many times.

    I hacked Derby up on the hills and gave him one last blow. With the recent rain it’s been great to get back up onto Salisbury plain for his fittening work. The terrain is more similar to a cross-country course than an all-weather gallop and he felt great. Then he had a good scrub and a trim, we put his massage rug on for while, then we were ready to go at which point I allowed myself to start getting excited!

    Emily, me and Phoebe (Labrador/beagle), came up together. My Dad and the rest of my family and friends will be here from Thursday.

    Phoebe loves coming in the lorry so she had a bath too to make sure she looked respectable for Burghley.

    Now I am off to ride Derby, who was very happy and settled first thing this morning, and I will report back soon with further impressions of the Burghley parkland. I’ve only seen the stables and lorry park so far, but we will be going for a hack around the park later today and no doubt we’ll get a first glimpse of those daunting fences.

    Until then,


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