I’m feeling more positive about Burghley having spent last weekend at Aston-le-Walls training with Nigel Taylor.
After Thirlestane, I decided I needed to work through my steering issues with Dundee [Dunauger], and I have trained with Nigel before through the Event Horse Owners’ Association. He knows me and my horse, plus he has such great facilities at Aston it seemed the obvious place to go.
I had a cross-country schooling session on Saturday and Sunday. On the first day, Dundee was perfect, which was frustrating as we couldn’t work on the problems. On the other hand, it emphasised that he really is a well-trained horse who knows his job, which is encouraging.
The problem is that when he’s in an exciting, competition situation, the adrenaline kicks in. On Sunday, we did quite a lot of fast work and galloping, plus work over the trickier fences, which helped re-create that competition situation, but with no pressure. We also played about with some different bits and nosebands.
I spoke to Mary King at Bramham after my problems there, and she said she uses a cherry roller American gag on some of her strong horses. I hired one after that intending to try it at Tetton Hall, but it was the wrong size, so now I’m trying to track one down that fits.
I’m heading back to Nigel’s this weekend for some more schooling, so hopefully I can get the bit for then and if it’s successful, I’ll use it at Burghley.
Keeping Dundee in shape
I had my physio, Tim Jarmoine, out yesterday and he says Dundee is perfect physically, really strong and in alignment, which is great news.
My mare, Nottie [Forget Me Not] is not in such good shape, which explains why she had time-penalties at Thirlestane — I did wonder after Gatcombe if she wasn’t galloping so freely. I feel happier knowing what’s wrong with her, and she will be fine, it’s just a case of backing off for a bit, which suits me in the run-up to Burghley anyway.
I’ve also been chatting with a feed company about giving Dundee a supplement an hour before he runs cross-country to replace the magnesium he loses through stress. Feedmark have a supplement called MagnaFeed which I think might help him chill out and I’m planning to try it at Nigel’s this weekend.
Look out for number 56
I’m number 56 at Burghley, so I think I’ll have dressage on Friday. I’m quite happy with that — to be honest, I’ll be so excited to be there, I don’t really care when I’m on.
I started an eventing club in January to help finance my horses and all my supporters want to know if I’m going to run and how Dundee is getting on — I don’t want to let them down and I’m feeling much more confident now.
This time next week we’ll be at Burghley, so it’s fingers crossed til then.