Suffolk stallion storms round event at Burghley

  • A Suffolk stallion left people in “awe” as he completed a one-day event at Burghley.

    Bruce Langley McKim, of the family-run Thorpeley Irish Draught and Rare Breed Stud in Market Harborough, and 16.3hh Craikhow Hall Jensen took part in the 80cm class at the event at Burghley Park, run by the Burghley branch of the Pony Club last Saturday (13 July).

    Bruce told H&H Jensen’s “claim to fame” is being the first Suffolk stallion to compete at the iconic venue.

    “We made our way to the dressage arena and everyone was staring. People were taking photographs and were in awe of the ‘big ginger warrior’,” said Bruce.

    “We did an above average test and scored mostly sixes and sevens with a score of 39.2. We had a couple of poles down in the showjumping but he was getting in the air much better than he has previously.”

    Bruce and Jensen then jumped clear across country.

    “Jensen thoroughly enjoyed it – he didn’t look at anything. We did a bit of trotting in places, but he’s not designed for galloping,” said Bruce.

    “When we completed, some of the Pony Club kids had a sit on him in the lorry park and had their photographs taken.”

    The event is Jensen’s second this season.

    “We took part at a Pony Club one-day event at Rolleston on 30 June where we had a 38.9 dressage, a few poles showjumping and one run-out at a skinny in the cross-country. We weren’t the worst dressage score, or the slowest time,” said Bruce.

    “You wouldn’t know he’s a stallion when you take him to events – he’s so chilled out, he even covered a mare the day before Burghley. He has a covering bridle and a separate exercise bridle – when he sees it’s the exercise bridle he knows there’s work to be done and doesn’t get silly.”

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    Bruce plans to do some more events and team chasing as he campaigns to show the breed is “not just a plough horse”.

    “He’s really turned heads and I think the message is getting out there,” said Bruce. “People have been asking if Jensen is a pure Suffolk – we’re making people realise there’s more to the breed.

    “There’s no reason we can’t utilise pure Suffolks without refining them. I’m not trying to refine the breed into a sport horse. You can take a gypsy cob and you see people competing them, they still need the same amount of fitness and conditioning – why can’t you do that with a Suffolk?”

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