The time to head off to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (29 August-2 September) is very nearly here… We have spent the day tidying up and trying to fit copious amounts of stuff into our tiny lorry! The fridge is full to bursting with cheese and wine — the essentials! The back is full of camping stuff and hay, hopefully Clover (Simply Clover) can squeeze in somewhere between the freezer and gazebo.

Packing the lorry

My fantastic equine therapist, Tim Jarman dropped by yesterday (on a Bank Holiday Monday) to give Clover her final McTimoney treatment and ensure she is feeling in tip top shape before we set off. Earlier in the week, she enjoyed a water treadmill session after the gallops, where she really was feeling incredible. We just did a final touch of light schooling today in our arena (which currently resembles a swimming pool) to polish up some of the more difficult movements. We have tried to avoid running through the test too much as she’s a clever lady, and after more than a couple of runs through she knows what’s coming and anticipates the transitions. I have also been showjumping and she felt the best she ever has, so fingers crossed we can jump as well under pressure in the main arena… and I don’t let her down with the nerves!

Stumpy, who we unfortunately had to withdraw as she wasn’t quite right, is still enjoying her holiday, but I know she’s going to be heart broken when she sees the lorry drive off with Clover and not her. I keep telling her next year is her year and for now she can channel her inner riding school pony pigging her face and avoiding any hard work! She will be very depressed though, which makes me sad.

Clover on the water treadmill

Continues below…



What is far and away the most difficult part of planning for a major four-star competition is organising backstage — the stuff that no one talks about in the interviews. It’s the food preparation, who’s arriving when and with who? Who’s on the rota for looking after the B team while I’m away? Have we got enough plates and coffee cups? How are we distributing car passes for my support network? It really is like herding cats. I wonder how everyone else organises things in the run up. I think they key is having reliable and trustworthy staff and supporters. It’s not like I can just nip home if I forget something, so it’s really important we all are on the same page and working together as a team. I feel very lucky to have so many amazing friends who help keep Team Towers ticking.

Clover having her McTimoney treatment

Luckily for me, with all this planning taking place by my awesome support crew, I can concentrate on if camembert, brie and white stilton is too much cheese? Nah, I think it will all get consumed!

Hazel

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