Tales from Hartpury: Five horses and 13 tests — but did this rider remember where to go?

Dressage videos 28 Videos Amy Woodhead: how to ride a canter half pass to wow the judges 02:58 Amy Woodhead: how working for Carl Hester has set her up for success 06:14 Watch Carl Hester at home: 'I can't wait to get out of bed and train horses towards grand prix' 02:31 Tales from Hartpury: the nine-year-old rising star with an Olympic dream 02:35 Winter Dressage Championships day four: one-two for Dujardin 03:43 Sophie Wells' rising star impresses on prix st georges gala night 01:22 Winter Dressage Championships day three: former runaway horse shows what she's made of for championship first-timer 03:30 Tales from Hartpury: the event horse making waves in her new career 01:56 Tales from Hartpury: Five horses and 13 tests — but did this rider remember where to go? 01:04 Tales from Hartpury: the horse with a rare skin condition that travelled in first gear for six miles 02:02 Winter Dressage Championships day two: Dujardin wants her rising star's foal for Easter 03:35 Tales from Hartpury: meet the family pony rubbing shoulders with dressage's big guns 01:08 Winter Dressage Championships day one: a shock victory and a horse defies the odds to do a double 04:43 H&H dressage editor’s Area Festival video diary: Disbelieving the results of my small and fairly average horse 05:03 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro's European freestyle dressage test 07:13 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro wow the crowds at Hartpury 09:37 What is 'breath energy' and could it help your riding? 03:48 Watch Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro's freestyle on a catch ride 06:38 Ruth Edge: How to ride the perfect 10m circle 01:18 Exclusive: watch Valegro work out on a water treadmill 02:46 'Squat to exhaustion': meet Alice Oppenheimer 02:43 Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin: A bit of banter 03:15 Maria Eilberg: How to improve your horse's walk 02:03 Maria Eilberg: how to improve your horse’s trot 01:21 Michael Eilberg: How to ride a square halt 03:35 Michael Eilberg: introducing collection in canter 05:01 Michael Eilberg: teaching your horse to rein back 05:03 Watch Farouche's winning test at the BD nationals 05:44

Horse & Hound brings you stories with a difference from the British Dressage NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury (12-16 April)

James Burtwell was what you might describe as busy at the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships at Hartpury (12-16 April).

The rider, trainer and dressage judge qualified no less than five horses for the championships, which meant he had to ride 13 tests in total.

“It wasn’t the plan to have so many horses here but when they all qualified I thought it would be a shame for any of them to miss out,” explains James who is based in Hampshire. “Yesterday (13 April) I had six tests to ride.”

James bought all five of his championship rides at the Westphalian Sport Horse Auction.

“None of them were expensive,” he says of his string who are aged six and seven, bar one nine-year-old.

Yesterday James found himself with 30 minutes maximum to warm up.

“On the whole it was a lot less than that though,” he admits. “It’s not ideal preparation but they all coped well.”

James had a total of eight freestyle (dressage to music) floor plans to remember too, which sounds like an almost impossible task.

“Each one had different music and floor plans,” he says. “I must admit that I got lost a couple of times and made bits up as I went along, but I don’t think anyone noticed!”

James Burtwell and Verano

Of course, behind every busy rider is a busy groom, but the freelancer James had booked for the show got stuck out in Spain while grooming for someone else on the showjumping sunshine tour.

“I’m very fortunate to have kind and capable owners — we all mucked in to help get horses ready and it’s been great fun,” says James. “I must be an organiser’s nightmare too, with all of the start times to sort, but Hartpury makes is easy.”

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James says he is exhausted but he has a trip to the States booked for next week.

“I’m lucky that I get to go away and have a little break, doing some teaching and going to Kentucky,” he explains.

For a full report from the British Dressage winter championships and the Area Festival final — as well as news, views and expert comment — pick up a copy of Horse & Hound magazine next Thursday (20 April).