As my dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials wasn’t until the end of the day yesterday I spent the morning watching lots of tests to ensure it was really in my mind and I wasn’t going to go wrong! I also walked the course again which gave me another chance to assess which lines I will be taking on Saturday.
In the morning Ben (Master Monarch) came out his stable for two 20-minute walks in-hand and graze! I then got on him at 2pm and loosened him up and rode through the test in the practice arenas by the stables.
I then took him back to his stable for half an hour to be smartened up and change to the double bridle. I was back on him half an hour before my test, giving me time to get up to the main arena and to let him settle and take in the atmosphere.
I was definitely nervous as it was the largest crowd I have ever performed for, but Ben rose to the occasion and loved every minute, and, knowing that he looked and felt great, I was able to enjoy the experience. I was delighted with my test, with just one blip where he went to change at the end of my half pass. The rest went smoothly.
I know there were definitely several places where I could have picked up more marks and ridden better but that’s the joy of hindsight, nonetheless I am very happy, and so is Ben!
I then tested the shower in the new lorry and changed into my Bruce Oldfield couture dress for the drinks in Burghley house, followed by the ERA dinner and back to the grooms’ party! It was a great night, my dress was fantastic and the champagne was flowing!
As I am not competing today, I will take Ben out for a hack and give him a canter. He will also be taken out for grass a couple of times. I will walk the course twice today, once with my measuring wheel to find the minute markers and again to reconfirm how I will ride each fence and be definite on what lines I will take.
I’m hoping for an early night tonight, however I’m not sure how much sleep I will be getting as I will be riding through the course in my head all night.
The butterflies are already starting, Ben on the other hand is as cool and calm and ever!
Hope you will be cheering me on tomorrow. Wish me luck.