Sara Squires’ Burghley diary: cross-country day

  • There are no words to express how I am feeling at the moment. I’m both relieved and overjoyed in equal measure. Sky [Star Prospect] was a really good girl and gave me a fabulous ride round the course. She looked after me and kept jumping all the way.

    I felt nervous this morning and waiting for my turn wasn’t easy. The course was causing a lot of problems and there were the ground conditions to think about as well. It was a bit deep in places on the turns, but even at the end of the day the ground held up OK. I’m glad we didn’t get too much rain today.

    The course rode really well and rewarded positive, attacking riding. I am lucky that I had a very straight horse as it was the biggest question I have asked of her and at no point did she feel like she was losing confidence. She just kept galloping and jumping. She can be a nightmare sometimes and really carts your round, but today she was relaxed, listening and gave me a great ride. It was really enjoyable.

    We took the long route at Discovery Vallery, as planned, and the right hand log at Capabilities Cutting. I decided to take this route on my final coursewalk this morning after the second element was changed from a corner to a single rail. Unfortunately I took the ornamental pig on the landing side with me. I caught it with my foot and it really hurt, but Sky didn’t even notice!

    I really set her up for the goose in the water and the first mushroom fence. Eric Winter warned me this morning to take extra care there as he thought it might catch people out. It can be good walking the course with a course designer! The ground was also quite deep through the woods. She brushed her legs on it but stood up well on landing.

    I had planned to take the straight route through the arena, but we didn’t get a great line and she felt a little flat so we circled away for the final fence. I was doing quite well on time until then, but I didn’t want to have silly mistake that far round the course.

    So here I am at my first four-star and we are inside the top 20 going into the final day. I’m certainly aiming to stay there. Now I’ve got to concentrate on tomorrow.


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