Coral Keen’s Burghley first-timer blog: it just wasn’t our day!

  • Burghley debutante Coral Keen has been blogging for H&H during this year's Burghley Horse Trials (4-7 September). Review her journey with Wellshead Fare Opposition aka Derby here.

    I was very disappointed that we had to retire at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials yesterday (7 September), but there are many positives that Derby and I can draw from the experience.

    I’d had a run out early on at the Discovery Valley where, having jumped the first element, I couldn’t quite get the canter back enough so we approached the second part quicker than I would have liked and ran past it. I then opted for the long route.

    Approaching the first element of the Trout Hatchery, which was fence 13, I had very little adjustability in his stride and I couldn’t get the pace I wanted to enable him to focus on the fence. We ran past and when I approached it a second time, the flag had fallen in the water, which would have meant we’d have lost our rhythm while we waited for it to be put back up.

    With the earlier run out, I decided it just wasn’t our day. In the back of my mind was the thought that I can reroute him to Ballindenisk where I hope I can pick up some points for FEI qualification so that we can compete in another four-star in the spring.

    Derby has never run out before, it’s just one of those things. With horses, one minute you are up, and the next you are down, but you just have to take it in your stride.

    The pleasing thing is that Derby jumped the fences incredibly well and he didn’t make them feel big at all. There were bits that were brilliant. He was a lot stronger than I thought he would be, as I hoped the size of the fences would have backed him off a bit, but he really enjoyed jumping them.

    It’s all there to work on, and with training we should get it right. I will have a think about his bit, but at the moment I think that a different noseband might give me that adjustability that I need.

    The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing and the crowd was 10 deep at the fences and that, together with the fact that it was Derby’s first four-star, really set him alight. I am relieved that there was a really quiet hunt horse to walk us back to the stables as I think he might have been quite excited otherwise.

    The biggest positive I can draw from our experience is that Derby is definitely a four-star horse and I was right in my belief that he would jump the fences.

    Eventing is such an incredible sport and people were so kind and positive. I spoke to Lucinda Green after and she said the bits she saw looked very good and that it should be straight forward sorting out the issues we had.

    When we got back to the lorry I felt very flat and deflated. There had been a lot of holds before it was our turn to go, so the adrenalin had been dragged out quite a bit. But we had a barbeque for all our friends and family in the evening and then we went to the bar for a bit.

    Today, I’ll have a walk around the tradestands and maybe watch a few in the showjumping and then we’ll set off home. I don’t want to get Derby home in the dark as it’s not really fair on him, and it will give me a chance to ride a few when we get back.

    Thanks for following my Burghley journey.


    Read Coral’s other blogs

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