Nana Dalton’s Burghley blog: a twist of drama at the trot-up

Just when I thought we were due a civilised day for the trot-up at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials… we seemed to add a twist of drama to it…

Absolut Opposition (Miley) absolutely loves competing and having “sleep over parties” so he has instantly settled in very well in the lovely stables provided here at Burghley. We had a relaxed start to the day, giving him some exercise and running through our dressage test this morning before the briefing for all the competitors at 11am. This is very much about welcoming everyone, introducing officials and going through some general housekeeping stuff. All the riders then signed a numnah for the amazing Hannah’s Wilberry Wonder Pony charity, which will be auctioned an I really hope this will be well supported.

I then went for my first walk of the cross country accompanied by my chief supporter, six-year-old son, Toby. When I pointed out Captain Mark Phillips and told him that he was the course designer, he quite rightly said we needed to go and say “well done and thank you” to him, which we did. It is a true to form massive and properly challenging Burghley track, but it is also exceptionally presented and left me with the feeling that I can’t wait to ride it. The attention to detail is phenomenal. Toby’s favourite fence is the gnomes fishing at the trout hatchery, mine will be when we’re jumping the last fence!

Toby at the Cottesmore Leap.

Even though it took us over two hours to walk it, we still had plenty of time for lunch and to get ready for the trot-up. We have the wonderful Elspeth grooming for us this week. She has worked for me in the past for years including helping at Badminton and Burghley last year. She’s now got another job, but has taken the week off to come and help us here at Burghley this year. All was going well until while walking Miley up to the main arena for the vet inspection, Elspeth realised she’d forgotten his bridle number. She ran with him back to the stables to get it, but by the time they’d legged it back, we’d missed our numerical slot. Huge thanks to the officials and ground jury for being so understanding and we just trotted up a few horses later then we should’ve done!

Toby at the final fence.

The upside was that one of the members of “Mileys Friends” syndicate had just managed to escape from her office in Surrey and the fact we were a couple of minutes late meant that she got to see us.

Miley is a natural showman, so he thoroughly enjoyed being in front of a crowd and as is his custom these days, he towed me down the runway! A huge thanks to Holland Cooper for allowing me one less stress in having to decide what to wear as they provided me with this stunning trot-up outfit (they can be found in Avenue H24 this week)

The plan for Thursday is a relatively relaxed day of course walking and prepping for our dressage test on Friday morning — we will keep you posted.

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