Julia Norman’s Burghley first-timer blog: all fingers crossed for cross-country

Bobby (Carry On Bobby Boy) was such a good boy in the dressage on Thursday afternoon. He has historically been tricky in this phase as he can get quite affected by the atmosphere, making him nervous, but he totally kept his cool and tried really hard. I was really pleased he was so rideable.

As a result I could keep working to show him off — he gave me four clean flying changes, solid halts, walk, trot and canter work, and really let me ride him. He got a little fussy in the mouth, which was expensive, so I was a little disappointed with his score but so thrilled with him and how he’s maturing in this phase. This year he’s become so much more comfortable at these big atmospheric events.

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I had a cross-country course walk with Yogi Breisner on Friday morning, who I also walked the course at Badminton with. He’s amazing to walk with and has helped a lot to consolidate my plan. He has such an amazing eye for how horses will read certain questions, or cope with tricky terrain.

On Friday afternoon, I had Kontendro WSH in the Burghley Young Event Horse (BYEH) four-year-old final. The heavens opened just as we went in for our dressage, which was quite the test for a baby! He was absolutely amazing, totally unphased by the atmosphere or the rain, staying very relaxed and obedient — such a little champion. The showjumping and cross country phases were huge, and again he was fantastic, not touching a pole. He is one brave, scopey little horse! He didn’t make it through to the final 10, but I was thrilled with how amazingly he coped and what an amazing experience for him. Certainly a young horse I’m very excited about.

Following the BYEH class I went for another course walk with my dad, James Hussey, my husband Tristan, and his dad and parter.

In the evening, we had a super meal in Stamford, which a great distraction from what was to come on cross-country day.

All fingers crossed for the cross-country today, it’s very big and very bold – very Burghley!

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