Lucy Wiegersma (pictured) managed a super test in this afternoon’s poor conditions to take second place after dressage in the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. And William Fox-Pitt kept up the British effort when Tamarillo achieved his best four-star score to date for third.
With heavy rain having dominated the day, the ground in the arena was deteriorating rapidly by the time Lucy and Shaabrak took the stage. But they still put in a smart test, marred only by Shaabrak losing his balance slightly in the second shoulder-in and coming above the vertical.
“I couldn’t have asked for more from him given the conditions — the centre line resembles a ploughed furrow,” said Lucy, who had warmed up swathed in waterproofs and only put on her top hat and tails at the last minute.
Five horses later William and Tamarillo came in. The part-Arab seemed unaffected by the wet, and, keeping his trademark bounce under control, scored in the 30s for the first time ever at a four-star.
“I’m delighted with him,” said William. “It’s quite muddy in there, so far from a level playing field with the bogs and ruts. But he tried hard and I could even ‘go for it’ a bit. He was still cheeky from time to time, but that’s Tamarillo.”
Ruth Edge retains the lead after her excellent test this morning with Mr Dumbledore. She is 5.4 penalties ahead of Lucy, with William just 0.7 of a penalty further back.
Wet ground on tomorrow’s cross-country is likely to make the time — always difficult to get here — particularly tough to achieve tomorrow.
“The ground here does take a lot of moisture, but we have had a lot of moisture today,” said Lucy. “It’ll be at the forefront of people’s minds leaving the start box and perhaps they won’t set out as quick as if we were running on the top of the ground.”
William Fox-Pitt said he had been out on the course today and the going was in general remarkably good, if wet in places. Tamarillo has a good record in the mud having won at Badminton 2004 in similar conditions.
“He has an amazing ability to rise above the ground,” said William, who predicted no one will make the optimum time. “He’s a plucky little horse and very athletic.”
RESULTS AFTER DRESSAGE
1. Mr Dumbledore (Ruth Edge, GB) 33.7
2. Shaabrak (Lucy Wiegersma, GB) 39.1
3. Tamarillo (William Fox-Pitt, GB) 39.8
4. Rose’s Merlin (Karin Donckers, BEL) 40.6
5. Imperial Cavalier (Mary King, GB) 41.5
6. Moon Fleet (Andrew Hoy, AUS) 41.9
Keep logging onto www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghley08 for updates, blogs and video from Burghley.
Don’t forget to buy Horse & Hound next Thursday (11 September) for a 12-page special report, colour photographs and William Fox-Pitt’s comment.