Wow, what a Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials! There’s nothing like watching a serious four-star with amazing riding and a worthy winner to renew motivation for the last bit of the season. I was only able to watch it on TV, but thanks to the new live streaming on Facebook, it was fantastic to catch lots of the action.
It really does spur me on to get there one day. The cross-country looked enormous but I hope one day I will have a horse there to take it on! Well done to Oliver Townend — he works incredibly hard and his horse was class all weekend. The horse I would have liked to take home though would have to have been Tom McEwen’s Toledo De Kerser — what a machine.
My horses are all on good form, if a little way off Burghley material just yet, but I definitely have high hopes for a few of them.
Archie (Arise Cavalier) has finished his season and did so in great style. We made our first trip over to the beautiful Millstreet in Ireland with just him for the CCI2* (pictured top at the trot-up).
He has been so consistent in his dressage all season so I was pretty disappointed when we produced a very lacklustre and off-form test with just too many mistakes. I can’t really put my finger on why because he had felt great in the lead up and had two days to recover from the journey. Horses aren’t machines at the end of the day and I just think it was an off day for both of us. He scored a 51.7 which is by far his worst FEI mark to date but it still left him in fifth after this phase due to some tough marking.
The cross-country was big, bold and beautiful; a really decent track in an amazing setting with perfect going. It was a long old wait, as we didn’t go until 5.20pm!
I was one of the first few out so had no idea how the time was riding. Archie is not a thoroughbred and often needs encouraging to keep galloping as he gets easily distracted, so I set out to get in a decent rhythm and just kept it all the way round. He was absolutely incredible and made nothing of the course and came home way inside the time. I was very surprised by how easily he made the time and he still felt full of running. I was therefore quite shocked that the time actually ended up quite difficult to make, with only four of us getting inside — maybe I shouldn’t be so rude about his galloping ability in future! He just felt so comfortable and within himself which is incredibly exciting for the future when he steps up to three-star.
He came out and showjumped on the Sunday beautifully to finish on his dressage score, the only horse in the class to do so — what a legend! I was so proud of him and we finished second which was fantastic considering how disappointed I was with my dressage, but it just goes to show all is not always lost after the first phase. It was a great event and I will definitely be going back.
Effie (Augusta Firefly) made her debut at two-star in the CIC2* at Bicton. She got a bit lit up in her dressage so had a rather average score but I know she will improve as she gets more experienced. She jumped a foot perfect showjumping round and made nothing of the cross-country but sadly we were caught out by a very influential corner fence. Unfortunately she just didn’t seem to read it and having never seen a question like this before, in hindsight, I think it was too much of an ask for a horse as inexperienced as her. You live and learn. She finished off the rest of the course beautifully and now heads to Gatcombe CIC2* and then hopefully the seven-year-old championships at Osberton.
We had a very exciting arrival earlier in the summer, a little filly foal out of Totten Lady and by Ramiro B. She is a lovely stamp and hopefully a future superstar. Totty’s first foal, Oscar, by Up With The Lark, will be broken in next summer which will be very exciting.
Unfortunately Ruby (Rubabell Cruise) picked up a leg injury having just completed her first advanced in fabulous style at Aston-le-Walls. She will need some time off which is gutting but she has given me some great experience and may go and have a baby to add yet more to my ever-expanding home-breds!
I’m looking forward to cracking on with the rest of the season and hopefully the horses will continue their good form.