Burghley judge explains dressage elimination: ‘We have a responsibility to horse welfare, but it’s not something we do lightly’

  • Sue Baxter, president of the ground jury at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, has told H&H more about the decision to eliminate Makara De Montiege in the dressage on Friday (2 September).

    She explained that she discussed the horse over the radio with her fellow ground jury members, Denmark’s Anne-Mette Binder and Ireland’s David Lee, and the vet before ringing the bell to pull up Frenchman Rodolphe Scherer during his trotwork.

    Sue spoke to the rider and then spoke to the other officials again over the radio before the final decision. Rodolphe trotted the horse around on a long rein before leaving the arena.

    “It was clear to us the horse wasn’t right and we have a responsibility under the rules to eliminate a horse which is lame at any time during the competition,” she said, adding that she has reviewed what happened on video since and is comfortable with the decision.

    “It was the rider’s idea to trot the horse about.”

    Sue emphasised that eliminating a horse in these circumstances is always a difficult decision and “not something we do lightly”.

    Continued below…

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    Burghley comes to its conclusion this afternoon, when the top 24 riders will showjump in the main arena. Australian rider Chris Burton is leading with Nobilis and has two showjumps in hand over New Zealand’s Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy), who holds second overnight.

    Oliver Townend is the best of the British entry in ninth on Samuel Thomas II.

    Full 17-page report of Burghley in H&H next week (dated 8 September), including more insight from Sue Baxter and expert opinion from cross-country course-designer Mark Phillips, as well as thrills and spills photos and full analysis of every phase.

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