I love the UK in September – Burghley, Blenheim, and this year the bonus of the Europeans at Blair.
After several intense weeks running around with work and children and work and children and work, I’m thoroughly looking forward to the serenity and calm surroundings of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2015 with 2 days of dressage before the adrenaline rush of the cross country on Saturday.
I’ve not had many chances over recent years to make it up to Burghley having often found myself at opposite ends of the globe in early September. A few notable names are missing from the roster, including eventing’s own pop star, Ben Hobday, who has really grown as rider over the last few years, since I first met him when he tackled his first four star at Badminton. He is sadly battling cancer.
The other rider conspicuous by his absence is Andrew Nicholson, who is, by his own admission lucky to still be walking after a nasty fall at Gatcombe just a few weeks ago. He & his fabulous little grey horse, Avebury, are therefore sadly withdrawn. Even with these notable omissions the line up for this year is impressive and certain to provide an exciting competition.
I’m most looking forward to seeing what Michael Jung makes of Burghley on his debut, and also thrilled to see two of the Americans, Colleen Routledge and Laine Ashker in the line up. Mark Todd, Jock Paget & William Fox-Pitt all have only a single ride this year, and many others have a few including leading lady riders Jonelle Price, Pippa Funnell & Nicola Wilson.
One thing’s for sure this isn’t going to be an Andrew & William showdown, and with what sounds like a tough track, anything could happen.
One of my favourite moments from my last visit was watching Mark Todd squeeze round one of the fences in the Trout Hatchery but between the flags, leaving the fence judges scratching their heads as they looked at my camera trying to decided whether or not to call him back. He technically got away with it!
I’ll be back with more photos tomorrow after the first round of dressage. Until then here are the important links for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2015:
Get yourself there if you can!