Burghley Cross Country

First of all… this day was amazing! There is no atmosphere better than a CCI4* cross country day!! The grounds were absolutely packed. Event the jumps you may consider a little “easier” had spectators with picnics watching all day. I would be excited to hear the final count of visitors because the weather was perfect and there were people everywhere! It was a weird day though, and I don’t know if I would have guessed this is how the scoring would have gone. Also, I was not thinking and forgot my memory card! All I had today was my phone, so I decided to catch some videos instead of pictures.

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The first jump and a beautiful view of Burghley House

Mom and I decided to start at Jump 26 which is the jump over the moon, down the large bank and across to the sun keyhole. My strategy was to start near the end and work my way back, hopefully against the main flow of spectators. Oliver Townend came first to this combination and rode it so beautifully.

We continued to walk up to the “Discovery Valley,” which was a combination of angled brush. Angled be dammed, many pairs made this look easy. Next I was running to the “Land Rover Trout Hatchery.” This seemed to be one of the hardest parts of the course to me. It was the last water complex and was fence 20 out of 31. Jump 20 was a brush fence, four strides to a log drop, 3-4 strides to an up bank followed by a bounce to a log. By itself, that was wild, but jump 21 came up quick as it was, I believe, 4 strides to an angled brush fence. This was so intricate I knew I wanted to see Michael Jung here. As I was running to that fence, I heard the announcer claim that Jung’s mare had fallen at the Lion Bridge water complex. WHAT? That was jump four on the course.. no way he fell off? Unfortunately, FischerRocanna seemed to slip out beneath him in the first leg of the course. (Maybe he never walked through the water himself… if you remember from my first blog I saw him hopping fences to get around this water because he had no wellies.. just a thought. Always walk your waters!)

I stayed to watch this water – and it did cause a few problems throughout the day. Lynn Symansky came up to this complex and completely dominated! She and Donner seemed to have their eyes set on a clear round, hopping through these elements easily. Lynn ended up having no jump faults and only a few time penalties.

The stickability award is to be split between Mark Todd and Tim Bourke if you ask me. Mark stayed in the tack over and over – I think other riders would’ve been on the ground!! I thought Tim Bourke was going to hit the dirt after a bobble over Cottesmore’s Leap, but he stayed in the tack. A few steps later I noticed something hanging below his saddle. It was his entire stirrup, which he stopped to readjust.

Lainey had an unfortunate spook at the jump under the Lion’s Bridge complex setting her up with 20 penalties in the beginning. I watched her at Capability’s Cutting which featured a house perched on a steep slope down and immediately back up to a massive corner. She made this complex look lower level – nice riding! I wasn’t able to see it, but heard she had another mishap at the Land Rover Trout Hatchery. 40 Penalties is a little disappointing, but finishing at Burghley is already a win in my book.

Colleen had such a nice ride with Covert Rights today. I caught her in the main arena through the Rugby World Cup combination and she nailed it. This young horse will definitely be one to watch as she continues to compete him!

After his unfortunate fall, Michael Jung knew he was here to redeem himself on his second ride La Biosthique Sam FBW. His look of determination was something to fear because he rode through some of those combinations faster than anyone I had seen all day. This paid off because he ended up in first place.

It may be just me, but sometimes I think we tend to idolize upper level riders. For instance, there’s no way someone as successful as the Notorious WFP could forget a jump on cross country right? Wrong. In William Fox Pitt’s defense, he may have experienced the longest hold on XC. It seemed to last forever (I think even longer than Tim Price’s hold this spring at Rolex). Coming off this hold he decided to take the alternate route at Discovery Valley and just plain forgot the B element. He didn’t get too far before remembering and turning back to take the jump, but the time penalties cost him. I’ve heard he was still very thrilled with the horse and because he’s so young I’m sure we have more greatness to see from Fernhill Pimms. (Also this was comforting for all of the dumb reasons I’ve been eliminated on Cross Country ;-).

I popped around elements all over the course today, but because I didn’t splurge for a cell packages here, I couldnt keep up with the live scores or event the order of go, but I will say Cottesmore’s Leap never seemed to get any smaller the more times I walked over to it – kuddos to those brave enough to jump it!

New Zeland’s power couple Tim and Jonelle Price followed Michael Jung in second and third place, both having picture perfect rides.
Oliver Townend finished off the cross country on his last horse, Armada.His dressage score was lower than Michael’s end of day score, so he knew if he could finish clean and within the time he would lead the group in the Stadium tomorrow. Everyone knew this too, and seemed to hold their breath as he went over each jump, The course was going really well for him until jump 21 the angled brush at the Land Rover Trout Hatchery! I really felt for him.. riding three times around Burghley is a huge feat, but to be so close to the top and have a stop really is gut-renching.

This day was so fun and exhausting. There was just so much to see, and I wanted to see it all. I have to agree with what Ive heard – that Burghley is the biggest baddest 4*. I’m also glad it was a safe day. There were a few falls here and there, but so far I’ve heard that all horses and riders are OK. Mom and I began to celebrate everyone’s successes with a jug of Pimms, now off to find a pub πŸ˜‰

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I also saw somewith with an R.E.M. shirt on today πŸ™‚ Shout out to Athens, GA!

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