Here’s a quick post from Hamish, written on his way to Burghley. So we can only hope that this was written at least a few hours ago as the Burghley first horse inspection is just concluding! Stay tuned for much more on that shortly. Thanks for writing this Hamish and thank you for reading.
This quite literally comes to you on the road to Burghley. I’m in the passenger seat of Chris Burton’s truck, politely dodging conversation with the driver so I can better engage with my computer. It’s a race against time now given that we’re only 40 miles or so from the gates of Burghley House. Fortunately, since Burto is behind the wheel of his new rig he’s quietly entertaining himself. And besides, he understands the importance of guest blogging for Eventing Nation – this isn’t the time for crude innuendo about mediaeval jousting festivals, even if it’s hard to ignore the signs we pass every mile along the A1.
I’d like to say we’re a pair of nervous wrecks but surprisingly we’re not. Perhaps we should be, given that we’re about to enter a world where the jumps are taller, wider, skinnier and more ‘retro’ than ever before. In this new world – which is so retro it’s lit by disco balls and sounds like the Bee Gees – the ditches eat cars, people base-jump off the drop fences and the adventurous receive telegrams from the Queen for sailing solo around the water jumps. Such is the hype surrounding this course that if you haven’t practiced by swimming back and forth across the River Thames it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make the distance. Only the fearless will survive, and those who do will go on to conquer Everest, trek alone across the deserts of Africa and run naked around the South Pole in the depths of winter. It’s going to be that tough.
40 miles ago I was playing it cool. I can’t speak for Burto because I’m not speaking to Burto, but I’ll admit that there’s always a pang of nerves when you roll into any big event. Fortunately, this doesn’t last long. It might be Burghley but once you’re inside the camping and stabling area it really does feel like any other event. It’s just a big grassy paddock on a bit of a hill filled with temporary stables, massive ‘lorries’ and a fair percentage of the world’s best horses and riders. It’s so relaxed that the vet doesn’t even break out the microchip scanner to ID the horses – God knows who might have substituted their real horse for a freak that jumps entire buildings, sprints around eleven and a half minute courses without puffing and then hops spritely out of bed the next day keen to do it all again.
With the horses in the stables, the truck parked and a party atmosphere breaking out behind us at Team New Zealand, it’s probably time to put the computer down, climb out of my cone of silence and get into the serious business of eventing.
See you somewhere out there.