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Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Tilly’s been sharing Elisa Wallace’s vlogs from her Mustang Magic Makeover series with you, and I’m with her in loving following along with the journey of Dior, the mustang mare who’s the star of this year’s program. Although I’m not immune to drooling over the awesomeness of 5* event horses, I’m actually a total sucker for the gutsy little guys. It’s the best thing about having stayed the size of a small teenager – getting to ride feisty ponies who have no qualms in doing whatever the hell they want, when they want, eliciting curse words and giggles in equal measure as they’re just too damn cute to be cross with.

Whatever your choice of equine pal, go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Course Brook Farm Fall H.T. (Sherborn, MA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

ESDCTA New Jersey H.T. (Allentown, NJ) [Website] [Volunteer]

Fleur de Leap H.T. (Folsom, LA) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Jump Start H.T. (Lexington, KY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ocala Fall Horse Trials (Ocala, FL) [Website] [Volunteer]

Old Tavern Horse Trials (The Plains, VA) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

Spokane Sport Horse 9th Annual Fall H.T. (Spokane, WA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Stable View Oktoberfest 2/3/4* and H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

Sundance Farm H.T. (Plymouth, WI) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Tomora Horse Trials (Greeley, CO) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Major International Events

2023 Asian Games (Hangzhou, China) [Equestrian Schedule and Info]

Wednesday News and Reading

It’s all going on this Friday at Osberton Horse Trials in the UK. In support of Riders Minds , the bespoke online mental health and wellbeing resource for equestrians, there will be a quiz, cocktails and a Robbie Williams tribute act, so if you’re headed that way, make sure you dress the part in something purple and help raise awareness and funds for this important initiative. [A Good Cause to Party]

Social license is on the agenda at the International Conference of Horseracing Authorities next week. As well as discussing racing in an evolving society and strategies for a proactive response to public expectation, there will be an update on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority in the US, including anti-doping and medication control measures and current affairs in racing in America. Equine welfare will obviously be a hot topic, and The Jockey Club UK will share insights into effective resolution and communication. The conference takes place on October 2nd and there will be a live stream and replay available on the IFHA (International Federation of Horseracing Authorities) website. [Racing’s Agenda]

And now a happy tale of a little OTTB who’s switched out the track for the trail, with some buffalo thrown in for good measure. “Hot tamale” ‘Shorty’ struggled to find a new purpose after an injury put paid to her racing career, but then Bridget Hollern came along looking for a prospect for the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover Western disciplines and Shorty’s new life on the ranch began. [From Track to Trail]

It’s retirement for the big red wall at Washington D.C. International. The Puissance wall may have evolved in terms of safety, with clear ground lines and ultra-lightweight blocks replacing the, frankly terrifying behemoth from yesteryear, but increasingly it’s becoming redundant in the modern sport of show jumping, with few entries due to the specialist nature of the class. Although its draw as a spectator sport can’t be denied, top show jumpers like McLain Ward acknowledge that “it was a great class” but “it’s not what the challenge of the sport is today”. [It’s Farewell to a Show Jumping Spectacle]

Camels, cats, horses, donkeys, dogs, monkeys, and even a turtle or two. The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust are on call 24/7, facing unique challenges and a mountain of day-to-day responsibilities as they take care of Gambia’s equines (and other animals). [Every life matters at the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust]

And finally, dressage makes it into the mainstream. I was perusing the lifestyle pages the other morning when I spotted this list of perks of getting on a bit based on things you become better at as the years go by. And yes, randomly, mixed in with activities such as ultramarathons, chess and bedroom shenanigans, dressage has made the cut. Apparently, dressage excellence is most likely to be reached in your 50s, so if you’re still struggling with circles, and are sub-50 (in age, not dressage score), you now have a very good excuse. [Aging to (Dressage) Perfection]

Sponsor Corner

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Explore 8801 NW 137th Ave, Morriston in this reel from Ocala Horse Properties!

Video Break

As we eagerly anticipate next year’s Olympics, let’s take a look at the history of horses at the venue for the equestrian events, the Château de Versailles.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

We are delighted to welcome to Twemlows, Cavalier Crystal to take up the Land Rover Burghley Twemlows Embryo Transfer…

Posted by Twemlows Hall Stud Farm AI & ET Centre on Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Not only did Harry Meade’s Cavalier Crystal smash her first CCI5* with a third place at Defender Burghley, but she was also the highest placed mare, and – as she’s permanently based in Britain – won the Twemlows Scholarship for two embryo transfers. This week, the mare’s owner, Charlotte Opperman, took Twemlows up on the opportunity to have a baby Cavalier Crystal, and potentially a future 5* winner.

Just a gentle reminder that it’s World Gratitude Day tomorrow, so be grateful, and go eventing.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Heritage Park H.T. (Olathe, KS) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Meadowcreek Park H.T – Fall Social Event (Kosse, TX) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Unionville H.T. (Unionville, PA) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Twin Rivers Fall International (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

University of New Hampshire H.T. (Durham, NH) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

TRHC/USEA cross country schooling is happening this weekend. Running from 9am-3pm, with last registration at 2pm, there will be the chance to school the water complex as well as other jumps, up through Training Level. [Find Out More]

British-based Italian eventer Giovanni Ugolotti is looking for a groom / working pupil. Based at Cranford Stud in Gloucestershire, UK, there’s the chance to take your own horse with you too. Find out more, and how to apply. [Eventing Opportunity]

As China’s Alex Hua Tian prepares for an Asian Games on home soil, he looks back at his decade with his horse of a lifetime, Don Geniro. ‘The Don’ retired from eventing earlier this year and is now enjoying life as a Junior dressage schoolmaster, but Alex will never forget all that this special horse did for his career, and for the sport of eventing in China. After finishing 8th at the Rio Olympics competing as individuals, Alex and Don Geniro took on Tokyo as as part of the first Chinese eventing team in Olympic history. In 2016, The Don was voted EquiRatings Horse of the Year, thanks to a massive amount of votes hailing from China, with Alex crediting his special horse with inspiring a new, Chinese audience for eventing. The equestrian events at the Asian games kick off on September 26th and run through October 6th. [The Don Done Good]

Area VI Adult Rider camp gets down to the serious business of eventing with a healthy dose of fun and camaraderie. Hosted at Twin Rivers with training by Andrea Baxter and Kaylawna Smith-Cook (daughter of World No. 5 Tamie Smith), the camp brings together amateur eventers in a supportive space for a shared experience that has lasting impact. Mom and daughter duo Erna P. Adelson and Erna L. Adelson decided to hitch up and head to camp this year, and came away having learned some lessons about their riding and their horses, and much more. [Happy Campers]

I read an article the other day which questioned the ethics of pet ownership. It suggests that – however unintentionally – we almost always place limitations on the animals we keep. As a multi-cat household, with a small flock of rescue hens and ducks in my backyard and dreams of horses out there too someday, it made me consider how well I meet the needs of my animal family, and whether I benefit more from our relationship than the animals I care for. I can’t agree that humans shouldn’t share their lives with animals, but whilst I’m a yes to some kinds of pets, I am a hard no to others. There’s no denying that I’m guilty of anthropomorphizing my feline family – they’re my best friends – but I’d say our relationship is pretty codependent – it’s definitely their choice to cry if I shut them out of the bathroom and to spend their nights sleeping right on top of me (all five of them). It has got me thinking though, and when the time comes, I shall make sure I see myself as a horse keeper, rather than a horse owner. I’ll still be Mommy to my cats though. [Pets and People]

Sponsor Corner

Looking for a destination for your next horse-y vacation? Put Ocala on your bucket list. The Ocala Insiders on Team EN gave us their top ten must-do activities when in Ocala for this article: 10 Reasons to Put Ocala on Your Bucket List.

Video Break

The fall edition of Strzegom Horse Trials in Poland happened last week, with Germany taking the podium. Felix Etzel found himself in pole position and Anna Siemer claimed both silver and bronze. Australian eventer extraordinaire Andrew Hoy made the trip to Europe with Cadet De Beliard for the gelding’s first 4*, finishing in 7th place . Ride with Andrew ‘round the cross country with this helmet cam from sunny Strzegom.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

There’s no denying that AI is gaining ground as we speak. To those of us of the low-techy-techy variety, it probably just means giggling over pics of horses with five legs or smugly correcting whatever it throws up if you ask it what eventing is. But lucky for us, more high-techy-techy types are wrangling the technology so that the rest of us can actually use it purposefully.

One such team is Ridesum, who have recently added an AI Seat Analytics function to their digital training and diary app. Using a smart phone, you upload a video of your ride and then use the app to check out just how balanced you are whilst in the saddle through an assessment of your posture. You then get tailored tips and exercises to improve your position, and you can stay on top of your progress with the tracker function.

Ridesum tried it out on Carl Hester’s ride at the recent European Dressage Championships. I’m guessing there were a bunch of 10s coming in for the King of Dressage, something for us mortals to aim towards perhaps.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Aspen Farm H.T. (Yelm, WA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Flying Cross Farm H.T. (Goshen, KY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer][Scoring]

GMHA September H.T. (South Woodstock, VT) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Marlborough H.T (Upper Marlboro, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

Otter Creek Fall H.T. (Wheeler, WI) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

The Event at Skyline (Mt Pleasant, UT) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

The Fork at Tryon (Mill Spring, NC) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Other International Events

Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials (Oxfordshire, UK) [Website] [Timetable] [Entries: 4*-S] [Entries: 4*-L] [Live Stream]

FEI Eventing Championships for Juniors and Young Riders (Montelibretti, Italy) [Website] [Timetable] [Entries: Juniors] [Entries: Young Riders] [Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

A new microchipping rule for USEF competitions has been approved by the US Equestrian Board of Directors. It may not be coming into play until December 2025, but it never hurts to make sure you’re ready for a rule change. Check out their fact sheets to make sure you know what you need to know. [Microchipping 101]

A proposal for permitting rising trot in dressage tests, and a real-life example of what this would mean for some riders. USEF ‘S’ dressage judge Natalie Lamping put forward the suggestion on her social media in July in order to gather support for an official proposal for change, advocating that rising trot is better for horse welfare. COTH’s Sara Bradley considers the impact that being allowed to post will have on riders, specifically those who are physically unable to sit to the trot and are therefore limited in their competitive progression. [Read Natalie’s Proposal] [See What Sara Had to Say]

The results of the Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission survey into societal concerns about horses in sport are in – and it’s looking promising in terms of horse welfare. Around 66% of the 6000 respondents had noticed a rise in initiatives to improve sport horse welfare and 79% agreed that horses can enjoy a good life whilst involved in sport. Training and riding practices and tack were the areas found to be of most concern, and there was good support for an Equestrian Charter, which would ask equestrians to pledge personal responsibility for horse welfare. The results, and the EEWB’s recommendations will now be passed onto the FEI. [A Good Life for Horses]

Eventing’s Oliver Townend and show jumping’s Geoff Billington teamed up to talk about how your body language can help you clear the colored poles. From seat and subtle aids, to consistency and riding one-handed, they talk through what riders should be doing to be the support system horses need, rather than getting in their way. [Be Body Aware]

The horse and fashion worlds collide as Vogue covers a new jewelry range from Australian Olympic show jumper Edwina Tops-Alexander. Featuring glittering bits and horseshoe motifs, the collection is intended to bestow more than just fashion on its wearers, with fortitude, connection and confidence at the core of the brand, inspired by her twice Global Champions Tour winner and two-time Olympic ride Toti and his amazing comeback after being hit by a car as a three-year-old. Described by Vogue as “elegant and sports-inflected”, I’m just wondering if it’s too early to start a Christmas list. [Horse Girl Chic is Always in Fashion]

Sponsor Corner

This 20-acre horse farm has us Ocala dreamin’. The gorgeous property features a 20-stall barn, 19 paddocks, and both a jumping and dressage arena. Take a tour with this reel from Ocala Horse Properties.

Video Break

See more from Carl Hester and Fame in the team competition:

An Unequivocal Love for the Job: Celebrating Eventing with Bradeley Law

“He’s the first face you see on the yard and everyone’s magnetized towards him – he’s got a special aura.” Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Great event horses aren’t limited to those whose names are inscribed on trophies. The nature of our sport — bringing together inextricably linked, yet seemingly disparate and discrete phases —allows ability to shine in diverse ways, so you’d think pinning down the attributes of an exceptional eventing talent would be difficult. Sure, they need to be bold and brave, scopey and genuine, but what makes a truly great event horse? More than anything, an unequivocal love for their job.

One horse who exhibits that love unmistakeably across his distinctive face is Bradeley Law (Mill Law – Scarlet Lady), a horse who’s been such a stalwart top-level campaigner that he’s almost synonymous with the two British CCI5* offerings. His game approach to competition and his desire to gallop across the country, jumping the biggest fences in the sport, were abundantly clear from the off. At his first 5* — Badminton in 2016 — he unseated his rider, Michael Owen, at the Vicarage Vee. Not to be deterred, he turned for home and cleared a number of jumps by himself: “It’s unheard of!” Michael laughs. “That, to me, just shows that he loves it that much he wants to jump them without me even there. He goes down in history as the best loose-jumping horse ever!”

A horse who’s happiest when he’s flying between the flags. Photo by Emily Beckett, courtesy of Michael Owen.

A Special Aura

Named after the man next door who delivered him, ‘Crocky’, it turns out, was an apt epithet for the characterful gelding: “He does like to have a snap at people now and again – not in a bad way, but when he’s fit and got a little bit of attitude about him,” Michael reveals. But you’d forgive that face anything, and getting his way on the yard is as effortless for him as clearing the Cottesmore Leap: “He’s always got his ears pricked over the door wanting treats; he knows he’s number one. He’s the first face you see on the yard and everyone’s magnetized towards him — he’s got a special aura.”

Over the years, Crocky has garnered an entourage of enchanted eventing fans. Michael puts it down to his big white face, and “with his little ears pricked at everything, he just puts a smile on everyone’s face when they see him.” He’s just as popular at home as he is on the eventing circuit. Michael says, “It’s so funny; when I get any new members of staff, the first time they hack out and I say, ‘You’re riding Crocky,’ and their faces — they almost can’t believe you’ve just said it.”

Crocky clearly brings joy to all those who cross his path, and Michael is happy to share this special horse with his adoring fans: “It’s nice to see other people enjoying him; he’s not mine — it’s nice that everyone on the team can share him, and be able to ride him and enjoy the feel of him. I just love seeing the smile on everyone’s faces when they sit on him.” And he’s not just a cute face, he’s heralded by Michael as a horse that’s easy to do in every way: “He’s just a lovely horse to have around.”

The whole team is grateful then, that, although nineteen-year-old Crocky is retiring from top-level competition, his owners, the Jenning’s Syndicate, have decided to keep him at Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre in Cheshire, where Michael is based.

A Spare Stable

Originally produced by Mary Lofthouse to Intermediate level, Crocky’s been with Michael for the past decade, after Mary had found him to be a “bit of a handful”. Michael remembers, “She phoned me one day and said, ‘I’ve been struggling a bit with Crocky,’ and asked if I would take him to try him out and see what he was like.” Circumstances were favorable, for Crocky and his new extended family: “Luckily, I had a spare stable!” Michael remarks.

In the early days, however, it wasn’t the partnership that it became.

“I took him straight to Intermediate. I think we came second at our first event, but he didn’t give me a great feel; he felt quite green — he felt very average,” Michael recollects — a far cry from the feeling he’ll miss so much now that Crocky’s top-level career has come to an end.

The solution was reasonably simple, though. He explains, “As the events went on, I found that he didn’t need much in his mouth. He’d had a big bridle on him, but I just put a Dr. Bristol snaffle on him and from then on, he just grabbed the bit and took me to everything – the rest is history, he just took off after that.”

Once Michael found the key to Crocky’s style and preferences — and bitted accordingly — “he was able to express himself a lot more; I was happy for him to run and jump and to feel like he was in control — I think that’s where he gets his flamboyant way of going, not being too over-controlled so that he can’t express himself.”

Crocky’s full self-expression: flamboyant and fun. Photo by Adam Whitehead, courtesy of Michael Owen.

Horse First

Tuning into his needs has been an important aspect of managing Crocky’s career from the start. There were doubts over his durability and Michael was told the horse was unlikely to withstand the demands of a three-day event. But Crocky had high aspirations for himself, which he undisputedly demonstrated on the cross country course.

“The second year that I had him, he moved up to Advanced and he just ate up the tracks very easily,” Michael notes. Crocky’s endurance was first truly put to the test around the hilly cross country at Blair Castle in the 4*-L; he finished on his dressage, in seventh place. The following season he took on the notoriously taxing Bramham track and was half a minute inside the optimum time. Crocky had begun to reveal the true 5* campaigner he would become, but it was a fine balance to keep him sound for the job he so obviously loved.

“He’s been particularly difficult — you wouldn’t overtrain him because he would have probably just broken. So it was about managing his one-day events, not running him too fast, just saving him for the big three-days,” Michael explains. And it’s not just his competition diary that needs careful planning and forethought; his work at home is the foundation of Crocky’s management, and has been approached by Michael in much the same way as his tack choices and entries: horse first. “He doesn’t spend too much time in the arena: he goes hacking, he goes ‘round fields, he goes to the gallops, and he goes in the school once a week — just to vary his work; and on different ground: grass, and arenas, and on the roads. That seems to condition his legs well enough to keep him sound for the three-day events.”

The variety in Crocky’s work extends beyond exercise routine and footing; Michael believes that the gelding enjoys having a range of riders, schooling him just twice a week himself whilst his staff take on the hacking and trips to the gallops, again showing the deliberate approach he’s taken to the horse’s experience of working life. “He’s never actually fed up of me; it’s kept him fresh,” he says.

Michael Owen and Bradeley Law. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

A Personal Best and A Blessing in Disguise

Like all great event horses, “when he gets to a show, he knows it’s party time.” Burghley was to be his last 5*, and although the team set off with no expectations as Crocky had nothing more to prove — just gratitude for and pride in the horse — he delivered the best dressage test of his career, leaving Michael “thrilled” and earning Crocky a big kiss on the neck as the pair left the Main Arena for the final time.

But the following day, Michael didn’t get the feel from Crocky that he was so used to: “The day of cross country, it was just one of those things where it was a warm day, and I’d warmed him up and there was just something — I couldn’t put my finger on it, but he just didn’t feel his old self. Warming up, he jumped everything fine, but he just felt a bit flat — just not him — that X-factor that he gives me, that feeling wasn’t really there. Even walking round the start box, he was so relaxed, he was almost too relaxed, and I was thinking, I hope you wake up. He did wake up as he came out of the box and he jumped well. Then we came off the Leaf Pit and I went on a bit of a long one to that brush like a lot of people did, and he just had to overstretch. I think the old Crocky would have stretched forward and locked on and jumped it; a couple of years ago, he would have got onto that distance. We’re so ‘as one’ normally, and it was just a split second delay to go for it.”

That momentary lapse was enough to cause a glance off at the angled brush coming out, which Michael believes was probably “a blessing in disguise”.

“Things happen for a reason. I’m just so proud of him and what he’s done over the years. That’s the top of the sport — it doesn’t always go to plan — and he can hold his head up high. I’m just glad he went there and got the accolade of retiring and people seeing him for the last time. You can’t always have the fairytale ending, can you?”

And anyway, Crocky thinks he won Burghley, I couldn’t help interjecting. “Exactly!” Michael laughs. “He’s had a lovely time, he’s told all his friends when he’s come home”.

The Party Continues

And now that Crocky’s 5* adventures have come to an end, how will his retirement play out? For a horse who’s so in love with galloping around top-level tracks, it’s another case of prudent and mindful management on Michael’s part.

“He’s not one who can be just turned out and left. He’s going to have a little eight week break, and then he’ll come in and do his normal road work and conditioning work.”

Crocky may be nineteen, but his love of competition hasn’t waned, and Michael’s clear in his attitude to keeping the old guy happy and healthy: “I think it’s ‘use it or lose it’; I think he’d only seize up and go downhill quick if he was just left. It’s like, as humans get older, they still need to stay mobile and active in their mind to stay youthful.” To this effect, Michael’s wife, Ashleigh, plans to do some low-level competing with Crocky, and they see no reason why he won’t be “popping ‘round some small events in his twenties.”

“He’s such a good looking horse. You just can’t put your finger on what it actually is, but he’s just got something special about him.” Photo courtesy of Michael Owen.

Michael’s got a decade’s worth of memories of his partnership with Crocky, and it’s the feel he’s given him and all the 5* clears the horse has achieved that he’ll treasure most. He acknowledges, “It’s so difficult to jump round five-stars numerous times clear — even good, good horses and riders can have a blip. You never forget jumping your Vicarage Vees and your Cottesmore Leaps, and for him to do it so easily and regularly, he’s a very, very special horse. I’ll never, ever forget any of that, ever. Over the last ten years, I’ve had an absolute blast with him”.

While Crocky’s out partying at competitions with Ashleigh, Michael has some exciting prospects in the pipeline, with four horses he’s produced from scratch stepping up to Advanced. He hopes to be back on the 5* circuit next season with Treworder, a “very flashy, and very, very good on the flat, good galloping and jumping horse,” and feels his string is the strongest it’s ever been.

Of course, that’s — at least in part — thanks to Crocky, taking center stage in the field, waxing lyrical to the next generation about all those times he’s delivered at the top of his sport, and that one time he jumped round Badminton all by himself.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Before we consign the 2023 edition of Defender Burghley to the record books and look forward to the rest of the eventing season, I’d just like to take a hot minute to celebrate the runners-up, David Doel and Galileo Nieuwmoed, who won the Avebury Award for the best cross country round after storming home nine seconds under the optimum time, one of only two combinations make the time this year.

In a week that saw Tim Price and Vitali put down the best dressage score Burghley has ever seen, and Ballaghmor Class adding another win to his accolades, continuing his form of never being outside the top-5 in his nine 5* runs, David Doel and his lovely gelding joined an exclusive club of their own.

Since 2008, 974 combinations have trotted-up at Burghley, and just nine of those combinations have managed that elusive eventing score — finishing on their dressage, and David Doel and Galileo Nieuwmoed are one of them.

At Burghley, it’s an achievement more rare than winning.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Applewood Farm YEH & Mini Event (Califon, NJ) [Website] [YEH Ride Times] [Mini Event Ride Times]

CDCTA Fall H.T. (Berryville, VA) [Website] [Volunteer]

Five Points H.T. (Raeford, NC) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Flora Lea Fall H.T. (Medford, NJ) [Website] [Entries][Ride Times]

Larkin Hill Fall H.T. (North Chatham, NY) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

There’s the opportunity to join Phillip Dutton’s team right now. Based in Florida through the winter, and Pennsylvania the rest of the year, Dutton Eventing is looking for a traveling groom. If you fancy being part of the Dutton action, check out how to apply. [Cool Opportunity]

The Real Rider Cup hit a fundraising milestone recently – having raised over half a million dollars for OTTB organizations. This unique show jumping competition sees jockeys and their Thoroughbreds compete to raise awareness and funds for retired racehorses to have fulfilling careers post track. [Fundraising for Futures]

We know that horses are super-sensitive to our stress – it seems that they are drawn to our joy too. Research has found that our equine pals are able to associate our facial expressions with our vocal tone, and are confused if the two are at odds. They’re also more drawn to happy faces than sad ones, showing their preference in the increased amount of time they look at us for if we’re smiley. So, whilst it’s absolutely OK for you to sniffle into your horse’s shoulder when you feel sad, when you’re not, make sure you cash in on the extra time your horse will want to spend with you by turning those corners up and breaking out your cheery voice. [Smiley Happy People]

TIME explores the enduring legacy of the horsewoman through this intergenerational story of strength and resilience found in horses. It’s a history that spans decades and continents, and is fueled by defiance in the face of violence, with Caspian horses – and the women who rode them – at its very core. [In Their Veins]

Staying with the mainstream media, The New Yorker considers choosing horses over babies. There are undoubtedly pros and cons on both sides of this argument, and this illustrated look at filling your barn – rather than your house – with family, goes deeper than first impressions may suggest. Reading it, I was reminded of the Walt Whitman poem ‘I Think I Could Turn and Live With Animals’, a refrain I’ve repeated so often since I first read it as a child that it’s a familiar soundtrack in my life. Anyhoo, this is clearly a deceptively thought-provoking piece, so have at it. [Stable Vs Nursery]

And finally, if you have a foot fetish, this is the one for you. This article looks at the history of horses’ feet – from the toes they once had, to busting the myth that those same toes are now encased in the hoof. It’s toe-curling stuff, that’s for sure. [Hoof History]

Sponsor Corner

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C. USEA/Meagan DeLisle photo.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C, owned by Ocala Horse Properties and Deborah Palmer, took a nail-biting win at the AECs over the weekend! Get all the details here.

Video Break

It’s twenty years since eventing legend Pippa Funnell became the first (and only in the long format) winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. Here’s a throwback to the Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley wins that culminated in her taking this most elusive and prestigious eventing title.

“Derek is Really Starting to Put His Mark On It” – Riders React to Defender Burghley Cross Country

What a view! The extraordinary façade of Burghley House will usher competitors home as they approach the eleventh hour — or fence 27, the Lion’s Bridge — on this year’s course. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

After a historic first phase which saw overnight leaders Tim Price and Vitali for New Zealand smash the sub-20 barrier and set a new Burghley record, posting the best non-championship 5* dressage score since records began with an 18.7, our focus now shifts to the Derek di Grazia track for cross country day at Defender Burghley.

First up, the numbers:

The track is 6325 meters long, a little shorter than in previous years, and therefore the optimum time of 11 minutes and 6 seconds is also a tad less than we’re used to. There are 29 numbered fences comprising of 45 jumping efforts. There are twelve combination fences: six doubles, four trebles and two with ABCD elements.

There are a number of famous fences scattered across the Burghley terrain; here’s a round-up of where you can expect them to come up on this year’s track:

There’s a double of rails in the Main Arena at 4AB before the horses and riders head out onto the course proper and come upon Defender Valley at 5ABCD. There’s an accuracy question at 5 with the top rail on a MIM clip; once they’re safely over that, it’s across the ditch and onto a chunky corner. They pass back through Defender Valley at fence 8, an enormous log stack that, at this level, they should all be taking in their stride.

The infamous Burghley Leaf Pit.

The infamous Leaf Pit comes early this year – at 7ABCD. It’s the first major question on course and there’s a very long way to go if things go awry here. Once the horses have navigated the massive drop, there’s a big oxer at C before a choice of left or right over one of the narrow, angled arms – there’s the possibility of a run out here for sure.

The first major water complex comes at 10ABC and 11AB – the Trout Hatchery. It’s a bit unusual to see a bounce into water, but that’s what we’ve got here at 10BC.

Aaaaand stretch: Joules at the Maltings provides another enormous challenge this year.

The instantly recognisable white rails are back at Joules at the Maltings, where we’ll find out what horses think of jumping hares at 4A before they take on the massive corners at BC. There’s quite a big change on the course here – one of the reasons the course is shorter than previous years. Derek has simplified it so that it’s a direct line – the usual circuitous route through this combination is no more. As well as shortening the course, it also means quicker progress along it, and Tina Cook thinks there are going to be some fast times this year because of the changes to this combination.

There’s also a big change on Winners’ Avenue. As well as the new plaque displaying the name of last year’s winners, Piggy March and Vanir Kamira, there’s a log set at a right angle after the Irish Horse Board Bank at 17AB that is a purely Derek addition. Instead of taking the Bank and galloping on along Winner’s Avenue, the riders will have to be on their A game with their steering to prevent horses from careering straight past. This is going to test whether the horses are listening to their riders. Adding to the conundrum is the fact that the log can be taken in either direction, with riders approaching either from the left or the right. Options, options… but neither isn’t one of them.

The Cottesmore Leap — never any less terrifying! Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The photo opportunity fence at Burghley is undoubtedly the Cottesmore Leap at 18. This comes at around nine minutes, when stamina and fitness will really kick in. There is an option here this year for anyone who doesn’t think it’s the best idea to take it on this time around.

We’re used to seeing skinnies on 5* courses – really skinny ones – but the triple bars at the Dairy Mound are super skinny. They come at 20BC and could easily cause a late glance off.

Then it’s through Capability’s Cutting at 22 and onto the Boodles Raindance at 24 and 25AB – the second major water complex on course. Derek’s advice to the riders here? Find your line and kick on. So there you go, easy, right?

The final element of the Boodles Raindance.

The horses will be running home by this point, and the riders will have to take care as they enter the water to go under the Lion Bridge to fence 27. There’s an option here: jump the fish in the water under the roof, or the fishing lodge on dry ground just up the rise.

The official charity of the year is Horatio’s Garden, an organization which creates gardens in spinal injury centers in the UK to help with the wellbeing and recuperation of patients and their families. Their fence comes at 28, and then it’s on to the Finale.

Overall, the course is being described as ‘much more Derek’. He designed the course last year but seems to have put his stamp on it a bit more clearly this year, whilst keeping it unmistakably Burghley.

The terrain is always a talking point here – it’s tough, it’s relentless, and it’s a true test of stamina and fitness, for both horse and rider, as Francis Whittington acknowledges: “Burghley is a track that even if you took all the fences away, the course would still be a really tough track.”

There are riders in the field who are very familiar with Derek di Grazia tracks, like Boyd Martin and Will Faudree, and 5* debutants facing the Burghley cross country for the first time — one thing they all agree on is that, it’s Burghley, and as Tom Crisp sagely puts it, “you’ve got to ride it like it’s the first time, every time”.

Our pathfinder will be Harry Meade, with the first of his three rides Away Cruising. They’re set to leave the start box at around 11.15am BST / 6.15am EDT.

The USA are firing on all cylinders, with all six combinations in the top 20 after the dressage, three of them in the top 10.

Boyd Martin and On Cue go out in sixth to get the American campaign across the country underway. Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle are around the middle of the pack, followed around eight horses later by Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way. There’ll be two Americans out on course when Tiana Coudry and Cancaras Girl join Will a couple of slots later. Grace Taylor and Game Changer will come later on in the day and Boyd Martin will be chasing her round the track on his second ride Tsetserleg TSF. Jessie Phoenix and Wabbit go out 25th for Canada.

We’ll have to wait ‘til near the end to see how our overnight leaders, Tim Price and Vitali, get on across the country. We’ve got an exciting day’s action to look forward to, that’s for sure!

Want to follow along with the form of all the horses and riders setting out on cross country? Check out EN’s Form Guide for all the inside info.

Don’t forget to follow @goeventing and keep it locked onto EN for all the exciting news from this great event.

Defender Burghley Horse Trials Links: Website | Live Stream | Entries | Times and Scores | EN’s Coverage

EN’s coverage of Burghley is presented by Kentucky Performance Products. Click here to learn all about their full line of science-backed nutritional support products, including Neigh-Lox Advanced for digestive support.

The riders have had a good walk ‘round and chatted about it amongst themselves, mulling over options and lines and distances – where they can kick on and where they’ll have to sit up and focus.

Which rider is walking the course with their mom? What does a rider with 22 5* completions under their girth think of the track? And whose plan is “Plan A all the way”?

Here’s what they had to say:

The World No. 1 – Tim Price – is number 1 on the leaderboard. Photo by Libby Law.

Tim Price – Vitali – 1st – 18.7

What will our clubhouse leader and record breaker be doing to while away the long wait for his turn out on track?
“Watch a few, go and relax. Slow down the thinking, until you get into the start box and away you go.”

Oliver Townend sits in equal second, with himself. Photo by Libby Law.

Oliver Townend – Swallow Springs – 2nd – 24.2 / Ballaghmor Class – 3rd – 24.2 / Tregilder – 13th – 30.5

“I think it comes a little kinder, early on, but at the same time, it doesn’t lure you into a false sense of security — well, it might, but there’s plenty to do! It wouldn’t matter what they built out there — it’s the terrain at this place that makes it such a tough test.”

Tom McEwen thinks the course is “awesome”. Photo by Libby Law.

Tom McEwen – Toledo de Kerser – 4th – 25.6 / Luna Mist – 12th – 30.5

“I think it’s awesome. It’s a normal Burghley track, but for me — and this is not taking away from it, and I’m not saying it’s softer — but for me, it’s a kinder ride, as in, it’s not square oxer after square oxer with massive efforts. But at the same time, it’s a true five-star test; it’s Burghley terrain and a proper Burghley course.
It sort of walks smoother, but God, there’s some challenges all the way around and it’s going to be be accumulative all the way around. There’s probably not anything you walk up to and think, ‘how on earth am I going to jump that?!’ — but those corners at the Maltings [14ABC] are huge. I think there’s also a lot of head-scratching about the option with the Irish Bank on Winners’ Avenue [17AB], but that’s probably only because there is an option [to approach it from the left or the right] — if there wasn’t, people would just pop round it! Options always cause chaos.”

Boyd Martin’s one of the most experienced over Derek di Grazia tracks. Photo by Libby Law.

Boyd Martin (USA) – Tsetserleg TSF – 6th – 28.1 / On Cue – 16th – 31.8

Boyd has the benefit of being really quite familiar with Derek’s courses, in fact, Tsetserleg won the 4*-S at Bromont three weeks ago, jumping clear over the Derek track. So does Burghley have the same sort of Derek flavor Boyd’s used to?

“Yes and no. It’s pretty hard to replicate Burghley! There’s no Leaf Pit in America that Derek’s had a practice over.

They’re big jumps. To be honest, I’ve probably ridden more Derek courses than any rider here – I’m not sure it’s an advantage or not, but I’ll tell myself it is. I hope I can pull it off tomorrow.”

Will Faudree’s riding a high after his career best dressage score with Mama’s Magic Way. Photo by Libby Law.

Will Faudree (USA) – Mama’s Magic Way – 9th – 29.8

“It’s big. It’s Burghley. Derek is an amazing designer because we all walk it and there’s a lot to do. You have to think the whole way around.”

Will’s another rider with a lot of experience of Derek’s tracks. How does he think Burghley compares?

“The terrain here obviously plays a huge factor. I said earlier that Derek, he designs with the horse’s eye, but there’s always so many options within that directory. I think at Kentucky this year I only went Plan A at one or two combinations. You just have to react to what happens underneath you. Hopefully we’ll be on the same page and have a good go tomorrow.”

Harry Meade gives us the low-down on the real questions out on course. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Harry Meade – Tenareze – 11th – 30.1 / Cavalier Crystal – 21st – 32.2 / Away Cruising – 38th – 36

“There’s a nice variety of fences, and fence profiles, I think. It’ll be interesting to see — I think he [Derek] eases you in well with Defender Valley [5ABCD] and then the Leaf Pit [7ABCD], which will cause some problems, but possibly not as many as last year. I really like the Trout Hatchery [10ABC] – I think that’s very clear to horses. If you ride that well, it’s got a real flow to it and it’s very horse-friendly.

There’s a couple of questions which I think will be interesting to see how they ride: one is the bank to the log at Winners’ Avenue [19AB]. The log is ninety degrees, so you’re literally jumping towards the end of the log and putting in a little turn. That bank has grass on the top, and if you’re galloping at it, horses will jump it — you might get the odd one putting a foot on it. But if you come steadily to it, which you’re going to have to, I wouldn’t be surprised if horses do bank it. So you have to ask yourself the question — do you actually come in deliberately really slow, pop up onto it, and and then step down, or do you try and jump it, but then risk going a little bit quick? So I think that’ll be interesting.

I also think that the Dairy Mound [20ABC] – those triple bar arrowheads never ride that well; it doesn’t back them off. And they’ll get to the Dairy Mound in a very flat-footed way, because it’s the highest point in the course and they’re quite fatigued. So whether they’ll jump and travel on the open three strides to the first triple bar, which is really quite close to the down slope… When you have a down slope so soon afterwards, a bit like jumping into a coffin, they back off and they drop their front end onto it. That’s emphasized, particularly, by the fact that you’ve got those triple bars. If it was a solid fence, they’d be less likely to do that. So it’ll be interesting to see how that rides.

You can have problems anywhere around the course, but overall, I think it’s really well thought out and it’ll be a great challenge for us to get our teeth into.”

‘Socks’ is ears pricked and ready to go cross country with Zara Tindall. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Zara Tindall – Class Affair – 15th – 31.3

“Me and Pippa had a little walk around; I managed to get her to walk in under two hours! It’s great. I think it’s nice and flowing, and I think he’s [Derek] learnt a lot about the ground from last year and there’s some big combinations — hopefully I can get past fence seven [Leaf Pit] and then have a crack at the rest of it. That’d be great!” [Zara’s last two Burghley attempts – last year and in 2019 – has come to an early end at the Leaf Pit.]

Harry Mutch plans to go out there meaning business. Photo by Libby Law.

Harry Mutch – HD Bronze – 19th – 32.1 / Shanbeg Cooley – 57th – 44.8

“I had a walk yesterday and it’s absolutely massive. The lines are really strong. You’ve got to have a jumper all the way home — the fences don’t get any smaller. I feel confident on Shanbeg Cooley, but you never know what you’re going to get on the day, and he’s only nine so I have to treat him like a nine-year-old. We’ll see how he goes, but I have to almost think, ‘go out and attack’. He’s not on the best of scores, but actually, if I go out and think, ‘just get round’, I probably won’t see fence four. So I have to get out there and mean it.”

Opposites attract – Louise Harwood and her very tall friend, Native Spirit. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Louise Harwood – Native Spirit – 24th – 32.4

Louise is aiming for an immense 23rd 5* completion here this week!
“It’s big, as usual at Burghley. I think the questions are there for us to see and we know how many strides it’s going to be roughly — apart from, you have got the evil undulating ground, so you’ve got to be ready. You don’t ever know what will quite happen on the stridings. But [the fences] are big and it’s something to aim at, and yeah, hopefully I’ll be alright.”

David Doel and Galileo Nieuwmoed navigated the ups and downs of Kentucky in the spring. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

David Doel – Galileo Nieuwmoed – 25th – 33.7 / Ferro Point – 44th – 37.8

“It’s a big old track, and I think it’s a little bit fiddly at times. There’s a lot of turning back into fences. Derek’s really sort of opening you up in places, and then he gives you quite a tight 45-plus degree turn back onto yourself. It’s definitely a five-star track out there. The intensity is there fence after fence after fence. So that definitely shows, and I think if you drop even a couple of percent of your concentration, you’re going to have a bit of a whoopsy out there.

Galileo Nieuwmoed’s been up and down the hills at Kentucky, with the rolling hills, though it’s a little bit different, and Badminton has a few slopes there — but this will definitely test him that little bit more. He’s normally got a fabulous gallop, so it’s quite exciting to go out on him.”

Tom Crisp’s hoping for a dry day out on course. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Tom Crisp – Liberty and Glory – 26th – 33.9

We’re guessing Tom’s not planning on practicing his swimming here at Burghley — he got enough of that at Badminton, right?

“You can’t ever take a course like this for granted, and although Badminton was a huge disappointment, she [Liberty and Glory], came out of it really well. And Burghley is normally good to me, but you’ve got to ride it like it’s the first time, every time and respect the course all around, particularly this one because I think he’s [Derek] kept it strong all the way home. It’s a true test. Really.”

And after his swim in the Badminton Lake in the spring, what does he think about the drop into the water at the Boodles Raindance at fence 24 and 25AB?

“It isn’t a particularly forgiving fence, so the horses have to have enough jump in them at that stage. They’re going to be a bit leg weary coming down the hill and it’s a fence that needs ultimate respect. There’s a good four or six foot drop on the other side. But I’ve checked the water the temperature is good, so if it does come to another swim, I shall improve on my stroke.”

Ever the entertainer, and a true sportsman — although we loved your antics for the crowds at Badminton, Tom, we wish you a dry trip round Burghley.

Padraig McCarthy thinks “it’s going to be a great day of sport”. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Padraig McCarthy (IRE) – HHS Noble Call – 27th – 34.9

“I think it’s more technical than last year; I think maybe more horse friendly. I think this year we’ll see a lot of glance offs. I think Derek is really starting to put his mark on it, and normally we see in his courses problems all over the course — I think we’re going to see that tomorrow.

It’s a real five-star. I think some of the lines, like at the Maltings [14ABC], last year they were kind – you turned back to the corners – this year it’s a really committed five-star question. And it’s a bit all the way around like that.

I think it’s going be a great day of sport tomorrow. I’m lucky I’m sat on the horse I’m on.”

Wabbit’s ready to hop round the track with Jessie Phoenix. Photo by Libby Law.

Jessie Phoenix (CAN) – Wabbit – 29th – 34.9

“I sure have, and it looks like a Burghley! It is full on. It’s beautifully presented. I think the horses are going to go out and have a really great feel around there. I’m really thankful to be sitting on Wabbit because he’s such an incredible cross country horse, so I’m really looking forward to Saturday.”

Could this be the most beautiful horse in the world? ‘Prince’ had a great trip at Badminton with Francis Whittington, here’s hoping Burghley fares him just as well. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Francis Whittington – DHI Purple Rain – 31st – 34.9

“I had a quick look around the other day, and it’s an awful lot to jump out there. Burghley is a track that even if you took all the fences away, the course would still be a really tough track.
There’s a lot of fences there that are off the turn, off the angle or unsighted for the horse until the last minute, and that’s going to take a lot of riding, a lot of respect from the riders — but also giving horses time to understand it.

I think the questions coming home, like the second time you come through the crossing and you come up and then you’ve got that big wide corner at the top there, that’s a lot for them up there. And then after Cottesmore Leap [18], you’ve got the brush and then you’ve got the unsighted corner, unless you go wide around the outside again — it’s a lot there.

At the Dairy Mound [20ABC], you come up the slope and you’ve got the the oxer at the top of the slope. A few years back Phillips [Captain Mark, the previous course designer at Burghley] had a gate up there and that jumped well, but now we’ve got to jump up and out. There’s a lot there.

I’ve increased his [DHI Purple Rain] fitness since Badminton, and I’m confident on my stamina. But it’s a particular horse that has the mental capacity to continue around here. I think the way he’s [Derek] designed it, those horses that will struggle with their focus — be it because that’s their character or they struggle with the fitness — that’s where I think things could come unstuck towards the end there.

And it’s long way up that Winners’ Avenue!”

Lauren Lillywhite – Hacien – 32nd – 35.2

“There’s definitely a lot to do out there, but I think it’s doable. It’s clear enough for the horses to see what they have to read, to see what to do. I think long as you bring your A game and you’re attacking, it should ride well.”

James Rushbrooke dressed for the British summer at the First Horse Inspection in a padded jacket and sweater. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

James Rushbrooke – Milchem Eclipse – 35th – 35.3

It’s “Plan A all the way” for Burghley debutant James Rushbrooke, who’s got two Badmintons under his girth and was 17th there in the spring.

“I’ve walked all the long routes but I haven’t walked them as part of a plan. Look, you never know what’s going to happen. It’s all massive and all looks pretty terrifying. But no, plan A. I’m quite confident in him [Milchem Eclipse], so that’s the idea.”

Alice Casburn is excited to take the track on with Topspin. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Alice Casburn – Topspin – 37th – 35.8

“Derek’s built an incredible track – it’s exciting! I think it’s a really good track because there are lots of places that you can have a little mistake, but I didn’t look at anything and think ‘that’s unfair’ or ‘that’s not doable’.

I think the accumulation of everything is really going to be the bigger factor. It’s nine minutes at the Dairy Mound, and then you come to the last quarter, where I think that’s where it’s a little more challenging. Last year it was, as long as you kept your head up and didn’t think you were home, you weren’t given too much to do on the way home. Whereas this year, it’s intense all the way to the end.”

Michael Owen – Bradeley Law – 38th – 36

“There are lots of questions where you could have a silly 20, but nothing Bradeley Law can’t do on his day. But you’ve got to know your A and B plan — and C plans — and there’s something to catch you out all the way around.
Obviously, with it being Burghley, they can tire very quickly if you’re not careful, so you’ve just got to think clearly, keep them on their feet, keep them between the flags and just hope that your luck is with you on the day.

I’ve just got to go and have fun and trust that he [Bradeley Law] knows where he’s going, because he’s an absolute machine cross-country — he’s as fit as I’ve ever had him. You’ve just got to hope they’ve still got the zest for it and you don’t know until you jump the first few serious questions out there if they’re really going to be up for it, but I think he will be. He’s that kind of character where a switch can flick in his head and he just goes for it. So fingers crossed — I think we will have great fun.”

Arthur Duffort (FRA) – Toronto D’Aurois – 40th – 36.6

“I love it! I love it here. We know it’s big. It’s bold. There’s nothing to catch the horses out. They’re not trying to trick the rider of the horse.”

Christoffer Forsberg’s back at Burghley for the first time in over a decade. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Christoffer Forsberg (SWE) – Con Classic 2 – 47th – 38.2

“It’s absolutely beautiful. Well built; big enough. It’s going to be technical and really difficult, I think, so you’re going to see more glance-offs maybe than normal.

The last time I rode here was 2010 — a long time ago now — and I think it’s changed more to a technical test nowadays. I remember the jumps as much bigger, but maybe it was because I was younger and less experienced. I feel like it’s still big, but it’s definitely more technical nowadays.”


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Sophie Fouracre – Lordana VH Leysehof Z – 50th – 41

“I think the Leaf Pit’s [7ABCD] so early on, you know, [when they’re] full of running and that steep incline, but fortunately I’m quite late so I can get an idea of go to left or right at the C part, but my gut’s telling me to go to the left of C, but I can watch in the morning and see how it goes.”

Aistis Vitkauskas is “quite looking forward to it”. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Aistis Vitkauskas (LIT) – Commander VG – 51st – 41

Aistis will be wearing the hat silk his grandma knitted him as he sets out on cross country. But what does he think of the trip it’ll be making?

“It’s a Burghley. What to think more? It’s a big course. It’s very technical. It suits my horse. I am actually quite looking forward to it. All the distances are large, and it also fits [Commander VG] because he’s a large galloping horse. At Burghley, it’s always about condition, I think. Preparation is all done, but I cannot predict where we are in conditions. So I hope it’s all well.”

Tom Bird’s taking on his first 5*, and walked the course with his mom. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Tom Bird – Rebel Rhyme – 52nd – 41.1

“I’ve walked the course couple of times. It’s big. It’s beefy, but he [Rebel Rhyme] ran really well at Bramham [where they added just 0.8 cross country time to their dressage to finish second], so fingers crossed, we’re ready. I’ll tell you tomorrow evening whether we were or weren’t!”

And as a 5* debutant, who did Tom walk the course with?

“I’ve walked the course with Chris Bartle [the British Eventing Team High Performance Coach, who Tom trains with]. He’s been absolutely brilliant. He walked Bramham with me. Pippa [Funnell] was also there, which is useful because she’s obviously done one or two.

Now I’ll go and walk it again. I’ll walk it with my mum this afternoon – she knows the horse so well and knows me so well, and she evented up to Advanced. Then I’ll go for a quiet walk tomorrow morning by myself and just finalize plans, and go from there.”

Julia Norman (ZIM) – Ardeo Berlin – 55th – 41.7

“It’s definitely not a dressage competition, which is slightly why we’re here. He’s [Ardeo Berlin] really bold. He’s a little horse, so the jumps look quite big for him down there. But he’s very brave. I’ve had him quite a long time, and he’s quite experienced. He’s done three four-star longs, he’s done a five-star at Pau, so he’s set up for it.

There is a lot to do out there. I think there are tests all the way around, right to the end. So, a little bit depends on their stamina as well and it’ll be a big difference, I think, from Pau, which was relatively flat and quite twisty. But he coped very well with that, so let’s hope.”

So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth – so to speak.
Hang onto your hats, and go eventing!

EN’s coverage of Burghley is presented by Kentucky Performance Products. Click here to learn all about their full line of science-backed nutritional support products, including Neigh-Lox Advanced for digestive support.

Defender Burghley Horse Trials Links: Website | Live Stream | Entries | EN’s Coverage

Back Between the White Boards at Burghley: Dressage Day Two Live Updates

What a day of dressage we had yesterday at Defender Burghley!

A leaderboard change after lunch, an American charge, and a smart test by Swallow Springs to see a delighted Oliver Townend sitting in pole position overnight on a score of 24.2.

Just over two points behind, in second is Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel on 26.9.

Rounding out the top three is Emily King with Valmy Biats on 30.

Oliver‘s other ride, Tregilder is on 30.5, equal with Tom McEwen and Luna Mist.

Then it’s the USA’s Jennie Saville with FE Lifestyle in 6th on 31.1.

The other US rider to go yesterday, Boyd Martin with On Cue sits in 8th on 31.8.

And Jessie Phoenix and Wabbit for Canada are 15th on 34.9.

Here’s a look at that top ten in full:

The top ten at the end of the first day of competition at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials.

Great Britain’s Richard Skelt will kick off the action at 9:45am BST / 4:45am EST with Credo.

If you’re following the USA contingent, first up for you will be Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way – set to go at 10:33am BST / 5:33am EST.

You’ll also want to watch out for Tiana Coudray and Cancaras Girl who’ll enter the ring at 11:10am BST / 6:10am EST.

Later on in the order, we’ve got two Americans on the trot – Grace Taylor with Game Changer at 2:25pm BST / 9:25am EST and Boyd Martin is back with his second ride Tsetserleg TSF at 2:33pm BST / 9:33am EST.

Will there be a change at the top after today’s action between the white boards? Who will set out from the start box at the head of the pack? Keep this live thread refreshed, and watch this space! (Don’t forget, if you’re viewing this after the event, read from the bottom up.)

Want to follow along with the form of all the horses and riders cantering down the center line? Check out EN’s Form Guide for all the inside info.

Don’t forget to follow @goeventing and keep it locked onto EN for all the content you can handle from all the brilliance that is Burghley.

Eyes on, and go eventing!

Defender Burghley Horse Trials Links: Website | Live Stream | Entries | Times and Scores | EN’s Coverage

EN’s coverage of Burghley is presented by Kentucky Performance Products. Click here to learn all about their full line of science-backed nutritional support products, including Neigh-Lox Advanced for digestive support.

A new Burghley record. Photo shared by Team Price via Facebook.

10:45 And that’s a wrap on the history-making dressage phase at Defender Burghley!

New Burghley record holder, World No. 1 Tim Price and Vitali head up the board by just under 6 marks on a phenomenal 18.7 for New Zealand.

Oliver Townend has both of his rides – Swallow Springs and Ballaghmor Class – on 24.2.

Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser are in 4th on 25.6.

It’s been a fantastic start to Burghley for the US riders.

Boyd Martin sits in 6th with Tsetseleg TSF on 28.1.

Right behind, in 7th is Grace Taylor with Game Changer on 28.9.

Will Faudree‘s PB with Mama’s Magic Way sees them in 9th on 29.8.

Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle are in 14th on 31.1 and Tiana Coudray and Cancaras Girl are in 18th on 32.1.

Canada’s Jessie Phoenix and Wabbit are in 29th on 34.9.

Watch out for Tilly’s full round-up of all the action – coming soon!

Thanks for coming along for the ride. It’s been a blast, but tomorrow – tomorrow will be an even bigger blast for it’s the best day – it’s cross country day 🎉🙌

Bring it on, and go eventing!

10:44 Harry Meade and Tenareze round off the dressage at Defender Burghley with a score of 30.1.

10:43 They finish up with two 8s and a 7.5 in the final halt and a smile from Harry.

10:41 Ah, the horse changed going into the corner and Harry had to stop to gather him together before continuing. They’re quickly back on it though and the relaxation is still there for an 8 and a 9 in the stretch circle.

10:40 The walk is relaxed and the extended earns an 8. They have a clean strike off into the canter which continues in much the same way – easy and rhythmical and pulling in 7s.

10:39 Tenareze is shining as the sun pokes through the clouds at Burghley. The trot work is rhythmical and there’s a nice swing happening, showing how soft and supple Tenareze is. There are some 8s creeping into the scores.

10:38 The horse’s 5* debut at Pau saw them on a 29.3. At Badminton they posted a 26.9 before opting to withdraw before the cross country. At Luhmuhlen it was 30.7. What will our final dressage score be?

10:37 And rounding out the dressage at Defender Burghley, we have Harry Meade, back in the ring for the third time, with the stallion Tenareze.

Harry always brings a splash of color to the Horse Inspection with some snazzy pants – they were lilac this year. I see he’s gone with the more traditional white breeches to finish off the dressage – shame.

🏆🏆 Tenareze won the World Championship for Young Horses at Le Lion D’Angers as both a 6 and 7-year-old with previous rider, Tom Carlile.

They were 5th at Luhmuhlen, finishing on their dressage of 30.7.

Early on in his career, Tenareze was a bit ‘ditchy’, so Harry walked 1000 ditches a month with him to build his confidence and prove to him that there were no trolls lurking in the depths 🧌

The perpetually nattily dressed Mr Meade, with the equally striking Tenareze:

10:36 Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class score 24.2 – the same score as his other ride Swallow Springs. They’re into 3rd based on the collective marks, whilst Swallow Springs holds 2nd.

10:34 This is all very nice work, and Oliver is riding with his usual accuracy. Overall this has been a nice test and there’s a nine for the trot up the center line and another one for the halt. Not a challenge for the top of the leaderboard, but it’ll be up there somewhere.

10:33 The walk has a bit more about it and he gets three 8s for the extended. A lovely transition brings in two more 8s and there’s another two for the medium canter and three for the flying change.

10:32 Thomas looks beautiful, but there’s perhaps not the extent of expression that we’re used to with him. He’s so relaxed, and he’s pulling in 7s and a couple of 8s. He’s that chilled he rests his hind leg – 5.5s for that. But it’s 8s for the rein back.

10:31 Oliver and Thomas are straight up the center line. He’s got his game face on. They get an 8 and a 7 for the first halt.

10:30 We’re expecting sub-25 here – he’s had a 20.8 and 21.1 at Badminton. Will he take on his stablemate? Eyes on this one 👀

10:29 And now it’s the turn of overnight leader on his other ride Swallow Springs, Oliver Townend and team Olympic gold medalist Ballaghmor Class. They’re the penultimate pair of the dressage phase.

🤩 ‘Thomas’ has an impressive record on his form card – seven 5* completions, two wins, never out of the top 5, as well as Olympic and World Championships call-ups.

As a combination they’ve won here at Burghley and Kentucky, can they make it a third 5* win and second Burghley here?

He may look easy when he’s floating round the arena with Oliver, but Thomas is very sharp and has had everyone on the floor at home. Oliver’s always liked him though and their relationship is evident in the success they’ve had together.

📺 Did you know? Oliver has appeared on the UK TV show Question of Sport – where they asked him a bunch of horse racing questions 🫢 (He knew the answers though.)

Thomas in all his spotty glory:

10:28 David Doel and Ferro Point score 37.8.

10:27 There’s a pat for Ferro Pont at the end, and two 8s for the final halt. There were nice moments in this test, a real shame about the changes which will have affected the overall mark.

10:26 The canter is accurate, but the changes don’t happen as well as they could. There are some 4s and 3s for the changes.

10:24 The walk is relaxed and correct, but it’s not a big walk for the top marks.

10:23 David and Ferro Point get off to a solid start with 6.5s and a few 7s on the whole for their early trot work. The mare looks relaxed enough and they get a 9 for their halt at C.

10:22 They posted a 39.1 in the first phase at Pau last year. It was a 40.8 at Luhmuhlen. What will it be today?

10:21 Coming up the center line next, on his second ride, is David Doel with Ferro Point.

This is their sixth 5* start. They were 13th at Luhmuhlen in June.

They got their 2023 season off to a flying start with a 3rd place finish in the 4*-S at Chatsworth.

David came through the Junior and Young Rider teams, medaling multiple times.

Last year at Luhmuhlen, it’s safe to say their show jumping round did not go to plan – the saddle slipped right under Ferro Point’s belly. Fingers crossed for a less dramatic competition for them this time around.

In his other life… David works with his dad at their ice cream company 🍧

10:20 Harry Mutch and HD Bronze score 32.5.

10:19 They finish up with a solid halt and Harry looks pleased enough.

10:18 They get an 8 and two 7s for the extended canter. This is a picture of a horse and rider working together well and their relationship is obvious in how happy the horse looks in his work.

10:17 Carl Hester in the commentary box comments on how chilled Fernando is. He’s getting 7s for his walk work.

10:16 Fernando steps out of the first halt but stood still for Tom while he saluted. Fernando’s swishing his tail a bit but he’s listening to Tom and they’re pulling in 6s and 7s for their trot work.

10:15 They scored a 30.8 in this phase last year and have been very low to mid-30s in their runs this season. Their best is a 28 in the 4*-S at Alnwick last year. What will it be at Burghley?

10:14 Coming forward with his second ride next is Harry Mutch and HD Bronze.

This is their fourth 5* start together and second time at Burghley. They had a fall at the Cottesmore Leap last year, so Harry will be hoping to put that right here this time around.

‘Fernando’ was entered for Badminton, but a niggle was enough for Harry to decide to save the gelding for another day.

🌟 Since Harry took on the ride in 2015, they’ve been placed at every level except 5*.

They were 8th in the 4*-L at Bramham in June, and 10th last time out at Alnwick in the 4*-S.

10:13 A big clap as they leave the ring and it’s a score of 25.6 and into 3rd for Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser.

10:12 He doesn’t quite stretch fully into Tom’s hands in the circle but the scores are back up for the flying change and they finish up with a 9 and and 8 for the trot up the center line.

10:11 More 8s coming in for the medium canter and the first change. Toledo’s much happier in the canter – 8s across the board for the extended.

10:10 He’s got such an enormous stride that he trod on himself in the rein back. The walk’s the difficult bit for Toledo – we’re looking at 6s on the whole.

10:09 Toledo’s trotting off into a great start with a 9 for the medium trot. 8s across the board for the half pass and Toledo is really showing off his best bits.

10:08 Consistent and flashy, they reliably score mid-20s – or better. Watch this space 👀

10:07 And here we are, the final session of dressage – after a VERY exciting day so far at Defender Burghley – and who better to get us underway than Olympic team gold and individual silver medalists Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser.

Tom’s back for his second ride after getting his Burghley off to a great start with a 30.5 for Luna Mist yesterday.

This is a much talked about combination this week, so eyes on 👀

They were 4th at Badminton in the spring. This is their second Burghley – they were 4th here in 2017. Will it be podium this time around? Very possibly.

🥇🥇🥈This pair have been to two World Championships – winning team gold in Tryon – as well as the Tokyo Olympics.

Tom was 2nd at Kentucky in the spring on JL Dublin.

Behind the scenes… Toledo is a bit of a quirky character and doesn’t do any jumping at home.

Toledo’s not at all sure about Tom’s choice of socks:

9:45 We’re going into a break now. I’ll fill in the details for Boyd and Wills when I can, but for now, the important news for US followers is that Boyd’s currently the best of the American contingent, sitting in 4th with Tsetserleg TSF. Grace Taylor’s hot on his heels in 5th.

We have a new Burghley record and the best ever test at a non-championship 5* on record – New Zealand’s Tim Price and Vitali are leaders of the pack on 18.7.

The final session starts back at 3:09pm BST / 10:09am EST when we’ll wrap up the first phase at Defender Burghley and find out who’ll be heading up the leaderboard (surely Tim, right?) as we look forward to tomorrow’s cross country.

9:44 Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance score 37.2.

Updated – Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance:

Taking us into the final break is Wills Oakden and the second of his two rides Arklow Puissance.

Arklow Puissance – ‘Mr P’ – is a former Oliver Townend ride.

Wills brings him to Burghley for the horse’s second 5* start and first time at Burghley. They didn’t complete on Mr P’s 5* debut at Badminton in the spring – can they make it a first top-level completion here this week?

They were 15th in their last run – at Alnwick in the 4*-S.

Wills doesn’t just enjoy equestrian sport, he also enjoys golf and pickleball (sounds delicious).

Another fun fact about Wills – he loves to do the laundry and is in total charge of the washing machine at home.

They posted a 34 in this phase at Badminton but can add a couple more points to that. How will Mr P find the Burghley Main Arena? Let’s see.

Mr P looks a little tense at the start of his test. He’s not very keen to stand in the halt and there’s a little wobble up the center line.

He settles into the trot work though and pulls in some 7s.

There’s not much immobility in the halt at C which scores 5s and a 6.5.

The walk is relaxed, but a bit tentative – the tension’s still there but Wills is doing a great job keeping Mr P cool.

They get 7s for the medium canter but are short behind in the first change for 5s and a 6.5.

He’s better in the half pass and pulls the scores up to 7s and a 7.5.

He gets a bit tight in the changes, but the second one is better for 6.5 and a 6.

The stretch circle improves as it goes along and they score 7s across the board.

Ah, he does the change, then changes back – the scores drop down to 3, 2, 4.

He struggles in the halt again – Mr P really doesn’t want to stand still, he’s clearly ready for cross country.

9:43 We’re back up and running with a rather disappointed looking Wills halting at the end of his test.

9:41 We’re still down, but I can tell you that Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance are currently in the arena. I’ll bring their score when it’s in and come back to their test when I can.

9:37 It’s into 4th with 28.1 for Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF. Such a shame we missed this test (I will fill in the detail as/when I can), but great news that there’s another US score in the top 10.

Updated with deets of Boyd’s test:

Staying with the USA, here’s Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF, his second ride here this week.

🥈‘Thomas’ was top-20 at the World Championship last year and took silver with the US team. He was also top 20 in Tokyo.

It’s a first Burghley for Thomas, but by no means his first 5*. This season they rerouted to Luhmuhlen from Kentucky, where Boyd retired after a 20 on the cross country course. They had a 20 at Luhmuhlen too. Before that his record was remarkably clear – fingers crossed he’s back on form on Saturday 🤞

Winning form 🥇 Thomas comes here straight from taking the win in the 4*-S at Bromont a couple of weeks ago.

In the barn (and the field, wherever really), Thomas loves a good nap 💤

Influencer alert! Thomas is a bit of a social media ⭐ with his own channel –

He’s quite the character and has clear opinions on that suit:

We’re almost certainly looking at the 20s for Thomas. His lowest is 22.1 at 4* – at 5* it’s 25.4. His last two runs saw him sneak into the 30s though – what will it be at Burghley? 👀

Thomas starts off with a lovely square halt and gets an 8 from one of the judges.

He looks soft and is working smoothly and easily for Boyd – he’s giving off all the old pro vibes and they create a lovely picture of a horse and rider in harmony.

There’s lots of 7s, 7.5 and some 8s for the trot work.

There’s another 8 for the halt at C, and another in the rein back.

Thomas is very relaxed in the walk. He knows just what he’s doing and looks to be right at home in the Main Arena at Burghley.

The extended walk earns them an 8.

The first change is clean for 7s across the board.

Thomas doesn’t have the big paces in the extended that some of the other horses in the field have, but the softness and rhythm produce an 8.

Everything is so solid – it’s so easy to watch this experienced pair.

Towards the latter stages of the test Thomas seems to remember that it’s cross country tomorrow and there’s a bit of tension creeping in.

But they finish with another 8 for the trot up the center line.

Thomas has a much of grass and a big pat as Boyd finishes his best ever Burghley test.

9:36 I just got a glimpse of Boyd finishing his test but then the feed went again. Score coming and I’m pretty sure it’s a good one…

9:34 I’m really sorry but I fear I’m missing Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF. The whole feed seems to be down. Will bring news as/when I have it.

9:32 A score from the live leaderboard for Grace Taylor and Game Changer – they’ve gone into 4th with 28.9. Go USA!

9:27 Apologies, my feed’s gone a bit weird so I missed the end of Grace’s test.

9:26 Game Changer is looking really rideable and they’re pulling in 7.5s and 7s. There’s an 8 for the half pass and two for the extended canter. They’re doing a great job and are being rewarded for it.

9:24 A very expressive extended trot earns an 8 and there’s an 8.5 for the transition before halt at C.

9:23 Grace starts things off with a good square halt for two 7s and a 7.5. She takes a breath before she kicks on. Lots of 7s coming in for the trot work.

9:22 We’re looking at mid-30s here, maybe a bit higher for a first time at the level.

9:21 We’ve got two American riders on the trot next. First, it’s Grace Taylor and Game Changer.

Rookie alert! This is a first 5* for both Grace and Game Changer.

Grace was stylish in sneakers and a tea dress at the trot-up on Wednesday 👟+👗= ♥️

She’s previously worked for Oliver Townend, Karen O’Connor and Marilyn Little.

In the genes 👖 Grace is the daughter of two top-level eventers. Her mom represented the US at the 1988 Olympics and was later team selector and chef d’equipe for USEF – her dad represented Britain at the European and World Championships the same year and is currently on the British team selection committee.

This combination were 6th on their latest run – in the 4*-S at Alnwick – and were 9th in the 4*-L at Bramham.

9:20 Sophie Fouracre and Lordana VH Leysehof Z score 40.9.

9:19 She’s still wary in that corner and drops out of the canter in the stretch circle which affects the marks quite a bit. She’s still snorting and hits the board as they turn up the center line. Sophie’s done a great job holding this together and she takes a big breath at the end.

9:17 Marlie really does look stunning as she makes her way round the Main Arena. Everything’s accurate but she’s showing a little tension in the way she’s chomping the bit. She sees something as she halts at C and she snorts and has a good look round. Sophie gets her back quickly though and manages the walk really well. Marlie’s definitely a bit looky in that top corner.

9:16 Recently they’ve been high-30s in this phase – it was 39 last time out. What will it be here?

9:15 Next into the ring will be Sophie Fouracre and Lordana VH Leysehof Z.

Sophie’s recently back from having a baby and is here at Burghley for the first time since 2015.

‘Marlie’ is taking on her first 5* here this week.

👑 Sophie rode for the late Queen of England, eventing four of her horses and has recently taken on an unbacked three-year-old owned by King Charles.

They were 6th in their latest run, in the 4*-S at Bramham – great prep for the Burghley hills – their only FEI run this season.

9:14 Richard Coney and Poetry in Motion score 35.2.

9:13 Their changes are accurate throughout and they end in a nice halt. Richard tells Snippet “Good boy” for a job well done.

9:12 Snippet is swaying his head through the walk, which affects the marks. They get a clean strike off into canter and are nicely together, Snippet’s just showing that bit of tension.

9:11 It’s a solid start for Richard and Snippet with 6s and 7s coming in for the early trot work. They do a great halt at C for two 8s and a 7 and another 8 for the rein back.

9:10 Snippet isn’t the easiest in this phase, with scores in the high-30s and into the 40s. Let’s see how he does today.

9:09 Coming forward next we have Richard Coney and Poetry in Motion.

It’s a 5* debut for ‘Snippet’ – Richard piloted two horses into the top-20 on his 5* debut at Pau in 2020.

This combination were 4th at Bramham in the U25 4*-L this season.

In the club! Richard is a former Pony Clubber.

When he’s not eventing, he enjoys cycling 🚴 and whilst he’s at events he attempts to keep up with the action on a different kind of track – that of his second favorite sport, Formula 1 🏁

9:06 Tom Crisp and Liberty and Glory score a PB at the level with 33.7.

9:05 All in all, this was a very good test for Lori. She stayed with Tom almost the whole way through, with just one sticky moment. Lots of pats for Lori at the end as she has a bit of a scratch before leaving the arena.

9:04 There’s mistakes creeping in now. She breaks before the counter canter and it takes a moment for Tom to get her back so they can perform the movement. He’s encouraging her on though and there are still some 7s coming in.

9:03 Lori finds the walk tricky, there’s slight losses of rhythm occasionally but the scores are holding steady and they get 7s across the board for the extended.

9:02 It won’t be easy for Lori to come in after the crowd were so hyped up. She’s settled enough though, and is listening to Tom. They’re bringing in 6s and 7s for the trot work and the mare is really trying.

9:01 Lori is not here to win the dressage, she’s here to win the cross country. Expect high-30s here for this tempestuous mare – and a mammoth climb hereafter.

9:00 Next up the center line will be Tom Crisp and Liberty and Glory.

Fun fact! ‘Lori’ was born on the 4th of July – hence her name – Liberty and Glory.

🪜 At Pau in 2018, this feisty mare climbed 54 places on the leaderboard to finish 6th. The pair were 9th at here last year.

Tom’s making his 10th start here at Burghley this week.

Lori decided she was going cross country at the end of the jog strip at the First Horse Inspection, but Tom managed to hang on. Let’s hope she got that out of her system and stays patient enough between the white boards today, before she lets rip tomorrow.

Family connection! ‘Lori’ is out of a Thoroughbred mare who Tom’s wife, Sophie, competed. She was bred by Sophie’s parents.

In his other life, Tom is a fireman 🚒

He also proved his swimming skills after taking a dive into Badminton lake in the spring, and showing off his sportsmanship and sense of humor with some antics for the crowds. His fire crew rewarded him with a ‘swimming the width of Badminton lake’ certificate:

8:58 It’s a 10 for harmony and A BRAND NEW BURGHLEY RECORD!!! Tim Price and Vitali smash the sub-20 boundary with an 18.5. Tim’s best ever international score – and the best 5* score in at least 15 years – a total masterclass.

8:57 It’s two 9s and an 8 for the final change. There’s a huge cheer as they halt. Is it record breaking…?

8:56 Tim’s riding for every single mark here. Everything is smooth and quality and they’re getting the big scores in reward.

8:54 He’s reeling in the marks – this is on target to go close to the record Burghley test. Two 9s for the extended walk and lots more 8s. Could this be sub-20? Let’s not jinx it…

8:53 Vitali is shining brightly in the Burghley sunshine and gets a 10 for the first halt. What a start to their Burghley campaign. 8s and a couple of 9s coming in for the trot work. He’s making this test look so easy. There’s another 9 for the half pass left and two 9s for the extended trot.

8:51 Their score has rarely dipped outside of the 20s and has been dropping lower and lower – they posted a 21.3 at here last year – a 5* personal best – leaving them in 2nd after the first phase. It was 27.1 at Badminton in the spring, and the same at Luhmuhlen last year. We’re expecting them to slot into the top of the leaderboard – where will it be? 👀

8:50 World No.1 New Zealand’s Tim Price comes forward next with his Tokyo Olympics ride Vitali.

🌟 Vital’s groom, Kerryn ‘Kez’ Edmunds was the 2022 FEI Groom of the Year.

Tim and Vitali were 3rd here last year – can they better that this time around?

Hot form 🌶️ Vitali has never been outside the top-10 at 5*. He was 7th at Badminton in the spring.

🩰 Vitali sure is a horse with dancing shoes – Tim says, “The horse is capable, it’s on me to bring it out of him – he could do a nine everywhere”.

🥉 Tim won bronze at the World Championships in Pratoni with Falco. He’s aiming for his sixth 5* win here this week.

At the Horse Inspection Vitali certainly looked 5* fit and very excited to be at Burghley.

All of the Price horses travel with a mascot – Vitali borrows his from Charlie Brown:

8:49 Arthur Duffort and Arthur Duffort score 35.9.

8:48 The final halt pulls in two 8s. This was a very good test for Toronto and they could well be looking at a PB score.

8:48 Everything’s very accurate so far in this test, although as I typed that he got a bit unsettled in the half pass and Arthur has to bring him back for a couple of strides. But they’re back together now and continuing on with their canter work.

8:47 There’s a 7.5 for the extended trot and more 7s for the rein back. The walk is relaxed thus far, with two 7.5s for the medium. The canter transition is clean for two 7s.

8:46 Toronto has come in looking relaxed and isn’t too phased by the atmosphere in the Main Arena at Burghley. They get 7s across the board for the first shoulder in and Toronto seems to be listening to Arthur and working well with him.

8:45 Their scores are generally around the mid to high-30s in this phase, with their 5* tests trending towards the top of the scale. He posted a 28 at Badminton though – how will Burghley compare?

8:44 Kicking off this afternoon’s session is British-based French combination Arthur Duffort and Toronto D’Aurois.

3️⃣ Arthur’s looking to make a Burghley completion hat trick this week.

This quirky gelding made his 5* debut at Burghley in 2019. They were back last year for a 15th place finish. This is their seventh 5* start.

The original plan for ‘Toronto’ was for him to be sold, but he can be rather tricky and they struggled to find anyone who would take him on. And now he’s a stalwart 5* campaigner.

Toronto’s groom, Leonore Gignoux, told me she wishes she could turn off the giant screen in the dressage arena for Toronto’s test because he’s so shy 🙈

He looked like an old pro at the First Horse Inspection, let’s hope he’s as settled in the Main Arena today:

7:08 And that’s it for the morning session – time for some lunch, unless you’re in the US, then it’s breakfast, but feel free to have a pizza, or something, you do you.

The overnight leaders – Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs hang onto the lead on 24.2 after the morning session on Day 2.

Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel are still in second on a score of 26.9.

We have a new pairing in third – Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope on 28.8.

American excitement this morning for Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way who shot into 4th on 29.8 – and posted the first 10s of the competition – and Tiana Coudray with Cancaras Girl sit just outside the top 10 on 32.1 in 12th place.

We’ll be back at 1:45pm BST / 8:45am EST with the second half of the day’s action between the boards. Until then…

7:02 Julia Norman and Ardeo Berlin score 41.8.

7:00 Bert settles a bit better, but the tension is clear. He is performing the movements though and the changes are good enough for 6s. He’s very buzzy up the center line, although finishes with a 7 from one of the judges for the halt. That was a tough test to ride, but there was lots of potential on show too. There’s lots of atmosphere in the Main Arena at Burghley.

6:59 Bert’s grinding his teeth in the halt and rein back and that tension translates into the walk. He’s really quite tense and there are some 3s coming in for the medium. He anticipates the canter strike off but then gets off OK. He gets very unsettled at the end of the diagonal though and Julia’s got a bit of a job to hold this together.

6:58 There’s a bit of a loss of balance on the turn which continues through the half pass. They get an 8 for the extended though.

6:57 What a lovely medium trot Bert’s got! It’s 7s across the board for that after a bit of a wobbly start down the center line.

6:55 We’re looking at the 40s here – Bert’s come to Burghley to jump. They scored a 40.1 last time out at Ballindenisk, and a 42.1 at Pau last year.

6:54 Owner – rider Julia Norman will take us into the lunch break riding Ardeo Berlin for Zimbabwe.

Julia switched nationalities from British to Zimbabwean this season in honor of her late mom.

It’s the first time Zimbabwe has been represented at Burghley.

‘Bert’ made his 5* debut at Pau last year, finishing 34th.

Career switch ⏩ Julia started out as a Quality Surveyor, then was a Rural Planning Consultant, before becoming a full-time eventer.

🐶 Julia also breeds Golden Retrievers!

Julia’s been bringing eventing to the mainstream whilst at Burghley, with interviews by the the BBC:

6:53 James Rushbrooke and Milchem Eclipse score 35.2.

6:52 The accuracy continues throughout the canter work and they finish up with another great halt for an 8 and two 7s.

6:51 The first change is accurate for 6.5s and there are some more 7s coming in for the canter. Everything’s clean and a nice picture.

6:49 They’re bringing in 6s, 6.5s and 7s for the trot work, and it’s 7s across the board for the halt at C. They set off into walk still looking relaxed and happy in the work.

6:48 They’re very straight up the center line and stop in a super square halt. Milchem Eclipse looks relaxed and is working nicely with James.

6:47 This pair’s dressage fluctuates between the low and high-30s, so they probably won’t be in the hunt early on. They’ll be on the rise up the leaderboard come Saturday though, for sure.

6:46 Next into the ring will be James Rushbrooke with Milchem Eclipse.

James describes this horse as ‘slightly weird’ – in the best possible way.

He turned up at the First Horse Inspection dressed for the British summer – in a padded lumber jacket over a knitted sweater 🌞

It’s a Burghley debut for both horse and rider, but they’ve got two Badmintons under their girths, with a 17th place there in the spring.

🏅 This pair were part of the British Nations Cup winning team at Boekelo in 2021.

Fun fact! James moonlights as a Master for the Badsworth and Bramham Moor Hunt.

That hunting background will be of huge benefit as they tackle the Burghley track on Saturday!

6:45 Padraig McCarthy and HHS Noble Call score 34.9.

6:44 It’s 7s across the board for the first flying change. Padraig is making this look easier than I’m sure it is. Ben is definitely a bit lit up, but he’s working really nicely for Padraig and they get two 7.5s for the final change.

6:43 Ben looks to be a bit on his toes in the walk work, although he keeps a lid on it. This is a horse who looks like he can’t wait for tomorrow.

6:42 The half pass has beautiful bend and pulls in two 7s. Ben is stepping up really nicely, but he’s coming out of the contact a bit which is affecting the scores. He’s looking around a little.

6:41 We have another beautifully turned out gray in the arena. They come up the center line in a very straight canter.

6:40 There’s no denying Ben finds this phase tricky – he’s strong and that can translate as tension in the dressage ring. He scored a 38.5 here last year. What will it be this time around?

6:39 Padraig McCarthy and HHS Noble Call are up next for Ireland.

This is their fourth 5* together.

In the barn… HHS Nobel Call’s name is ‘Ben’.

Ben made his top-level debut at the pop-up 5* at Bicton in 2021 where he finished 8th. He came to Burghley last year and finished 19th. He’s also completed Badminton.

🥈 🥈 Padraig took individual silver at the World Championships in Tryon with Mr Chunky, as well as team silver.

He runs MGH Sport Horses with his wife Lucy, who also used to event at the top level. If you watch eventing (and of course you do, because it’s like, the coolest), you’ll have seen the MGH prefix – Pippa Funnell’s ride here this week is MGH Grafton Street and Nicky Hill is here with MGH Bingo Boy.

Smart stuff 🎓 Padraig has a first class degree in Economics and Finance with German.

6:38 Sarah Clark and LV Balou Jeanz score 37.8.

6:37 The next change is better and the final one is really rather good – 7s and a 6 for that one, so they finish up on a strong point.

6:36 He jumps through the first change and their scores drop a little. He goes into trot before the next one rather than doing the counter canter and misses it so it’s 1s across the board.

6:35 The rein back is clean and accurate for two 7s and a 7.5. Jeanz looks to be happy in the walk, it’s rhythmical and accurate and more 7s come their way.

6:34 They’re bringing in lots of 6.5s and some 7s in the trot work after a very nice halt to start which got a 7.5

6:33 Typically mid-30s in the dressage, they have scored as low as 31 at the 4*-S level. It was a 34.3 for them here last year. What will it be this time around?

6:32 Next up the center line is Australian Sarah Clark and her “dreamcatcher” LV Balou Jeanz.

When Sarah left Auz for the UK with the dream of coming to Burghley, she boarded the plane with no return ticket and no funds to buy one.

Competing here last year was the fulfillment of a “life-long dream” – they finished 22nd.

🌟 ‘Jeanz’ was Eventing South Australia Horse of the Year in 2022.

He made his 5* debut as a nine-year-old.

They were based with David Doel for a while and have now settled with fellow British-based Australian rider Bill Levett.

Jeanz picked up a special mascot as a souvenir of a dream come true at Burghley last year:

6:31 Tom Bird and Rebel Rhyme score 41.1.

6:30 They finish off with two 7s in the halt. All in all, that was a good performance from Tom and Rebel Rhyme gets a nice pat.

6:29 The canter work is accurate enough on the whole, but the horse anticipates the changes and things go awry coming into them. Rebel Rhyme gets a bit upset about that but Tom is riding incredibly maturely and staying calm, giving Rebel Rhyme the confidence he needs.

6:27 The walk work is relaxed and Rebel Rhyme is stepping out nicely. They get a 7.5 for the extended.

6:26 They get of to a great start with two 7s in the halt. Rebel Rhyme is a bit tricky in his head on the first turn but settles into the trot work as he goes. They look to be a lovely partnership, with horse and rider on an exciting journey together.

6:25 Rebel Rhyme looks beautifully turned out – he’s a really striking, and sparkling, gray.

6:24 They posted a 40 in their last run, and two 39s before that. For their first time at 5*, we’re probably looking into the 40s here.

6:23 Next into the ring will be Tom Bird with Rebel Rhyme.

Rookie alert! Tom’s taking on his first 5*.

He’s the youngest rider in the field at just 21!

All the sports! Tom also plays hockey (field, not ice) 🏑 and football (soccer, not American) ⚽

Rebel Rhyme is fully aware that he’s a gray horse and loves to get as dirty as he can.

They were 2nd in the U25 at Bramham this season and 7th in the 4*-L at Ballindenisk – both of which should stand them in good stead for Burghley.

Inspired by the trot-up greats, Tom cut a dashing figure of a fine young man at the First Horse Inspection, with orange pants to rival Harry Meade, a velvet jacket and a David Doel-esque bow-tie. Start as you mean to go on, young man!

6:22 Lauren Lillywhite and Hacien score 34.8.

6:21 It’s the same story for the last two changes – the first one was better than the second. But the canter work on the whole was accurate and Lauren looks really pleased with Hero as they complete their test. Hero’s having a good stretch as he walks out of the arena.

6:20 The horse’s front leg changed first and there are 4s for that, but the second change is much better for 7s across the board.

6:18 The rein back is slightly tentative, but they’re off into the walk now, which is rhythmical and relaxed. More 7s coming in.

6:17 Hero is a lovely bold-looking chestnut. He’s bringing in 6s and 7s so far for the trot work, which is accurate and in a lovely frame. It’s 7s across the board for the extended.

6:16 They scored a 34.8 last time out – in the 4*-L at Bramham where they finished 23rd. They had a 37 at Chatsworth earlier in the season. How will Hacien fare in his first 5* test?

6:15 Next it’s the turn of Lauren Lillywhite and Hacien.

Lauren’s back at the top level after over a decade, with Hacien coming forward for his first 5*.

It’s Lauren’s third time at Burghley.

In the barn… Hacien’s known as ‘Hero’ 🦸

Lauren bought Hero as an unbacked three-year-old stallion from Hungary.

Did you know? Hero has partial sight in one eye. It hasn’t stopped him reaching the top of his sport though.

Everyone needs a pint-sized mascot:

6:14 Tiana Coudray and Cancaras Girl finish with a big grin from Tiana and get their Burghley underway with a score of 32.1 and go into 12th.

6:13 The canter is bringing in 7s on the whole, it’s accurate but could show a little more suppleness for the higher marks. The flying changes are great though, two 8s and a 7 for two of them. A highlight for this horse for sure.

6:12 They break into canter for a stride in the extended trot, which is a shame as they were seeing lots of 7s and a couple of 8s up to that point. Cancaras Girl is relaxing in the walk now though, although it looks a little tentative.

6:11 They kick off with a 9 for the first halt, and pull in an 8 for the medium trot. So far so good for Tiana and Cancaras Girl.

6:10 The mare’s had a 33.5, a 28.6 and a 33.3 at the 4*-S level this season. How will her step up to 5* go?

6:08 And we’re back between the white boards with US Olympian Tiana Coudray and Cancaras Girl for the USA.

It’s a 5* debut for the mare and Burghley 5* debut for Tiana. She’s been here before though – in the Dubarry Young Event Horse class with one of Harry Meade’s 2023 Burghley rides, Cavalier Crystal.

Tiana’s originally from California, but swapped the sunshine for (mostly) rain and gray skies, and is based in Britain.

Tiana spent time training with course designer here Derek di Grazia and his wife, Bea.

Cancaras Girl showed a fair bit of personality on the jog strip on Wednesday, looking delighted to be at Burghley:

5:47 We’re heading into the first break now. Back in around 20 minutes – at 11:10am BST / 6:10am EST when US rider Tiana Coundray will get us back underway with Cancaras Girl. Be there…

5:45 Will Faudree is being interviewed and says, “you dream your whole life” about days like this. He seems so thrilled with Mason and calls him a “star”. We concur, Will. Great job, and an exciting Burghley so far for Team USA.

5:44 Emma Thomas and Icarus X score 38.5. Emma’s delighted and is clearly emotional. What a lovely start to their Burghley debut.

5:43 The changes so far are clean and Emma’s doing really well to have brought this horse back. He’s settled again now and they end up with a lovely halt for a 7 and a 7.5. There’s a big kiss for Icarus from Emma.

5:42 Icarus is looking around a bit in the walk, but he’s working nicely with Emma on the whole. His head’s coming up a bit in the canter work and the tension creeps in.

5:41 It was tough for Emma to come into the arena with the crowd cheering, but she manages the atmosphere really well and they’re settling into their test.

5:40 We’re looking at, maybe, high-30s here, but probably into the 40s for their first time at the level. In their last run they put down a 43.1 in this phase. It was a 35.8 at Chatsworth on their way to 4th place though. Let’s see how they get on.

5:39 Last to go before the first break we have24-year-old Emma Thomas and Icarus X.

Rookie alert! It’s a first 5* for both Emma and ‘Stix’.

Fun fact! Stix is diddy for an eventer, standing at only 15.2 hh.

He’s known for being a difficult ride, particularly on the flat, but Emma’s been working with Pippa Funnell through the Wesko Equestrian Foundation and Stix has come on in great strides.

They’ve been busy this season, with seven runs, and have had a 4th place finish in the 4*-S at Chatsworth and were 6th in the U254*-L competition at Bramham.

🥇🥇 Emma is a two-time National Pony Club Champion.

Stix was shining in the Burghley sun at the First Horse Inspection and seemed to be taking all the excitement of his first 5* right in his stride:

5:38 Will punches the air – it’s a 29.8 for Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way – a PB – and into 4th! The crowd is delighted with Will’s obvious delight.

5:36 Another lovely halt to finish and a big clap from the crowd in appreciation of some lovely work on show this morning.

5:34 There’s an 8 for the extended walk, and now they’re into canter. Mason’s not necessarily making this easy for Will, but he’s pulling in 8s and 7s in the canter work. Will has to rescue the first change, he threw one in early but Will gets him back and does it accurately on the marker.

5:33 IT’S TWO 10S AND A 9 FOR THE HALT AT C! The first 10s of the competition.

5:32 Mason really comes in looking well. It’s 7.5s for the medium trot. He’s so elegant in his movements and is showing that off throughout the trot work. Lots of 7s and 7.5s coming in.

5:31 At 5*, Mason’s generally in the low to mid-30s in this phase. He’s capable of a truly smart test, but that enthusiasm can get the better of him. How will he find the atmosphere in the Main Arena?

5:30 Getting the US campaign going on Day Two is Will Faudree with Mama’s Magic Way.

‘Mason’ is what you could safely call, enthusiastic. Will’s challenge is keeping all that enthusiasm contained in this phase.

Will says, “From the moment I sat on him, I knew he was my horse”.

This is Mason’s fourth 5* start. It’s not his first time in Britain – that came last year for Badminton, where they finished 31st. He was 13th at Kentucky in the spring.

Will’s been saying for a while that Mason’s a Burghley horse – and now we get to find out if he’s right!

In the genes 🧬 Mason is the product of two eventer parents – Mighty Magic, who won the Seven-Year-Old Eventing World Championships in 2011 with Andreas Dibowski (who also rode Mason), and Straightaway, a 4* campaigner in her own right.

Will looked sharp on the jog strip on Wednesday, sporting a tweed jacket with a twist and dazzling white pants.

There are a number of people at EN who’d love a smooch from Mason:

5:29 Sam Watson and SAP Talisman score 35.4.

5:27 The canter work is coming up accurately and the changes so far have been clean. Podge is looking round as he finishes his test. You can see just how much Sam was keeping together throughout that test.

5:26 This is another horse who’s not keen on walking. You can see Sam taking deep breaths in an attempt to show Podge there’s nothing to get wound up about. They get two 7s for the extended. It’s a cautious strike off into canter – you get the feeling that Sam’s working to keep a lid on Podge’s excitement.

5:25 Sam gets off to a solid start with 6s and 7s and the marks for the trot stay in the same kind of league, mostly 6s on the whole.

5:24 They scored 36.8 in their last run before coming here. It was a 37.4 at Pratoni. How will Podge take to Burghley?

5:23 And now for Ireland we have Sam Watson and SAP Talisman.

🧮 Sam is one-half of the brains behind stats gurus EquiRatings.

🥈 He was part of the silver medal winning team at the World Championships in Tryon.

He comes forward for his first Burghley since 2012 with ‘Podge’, who’s making his 5* debut.

Podge is Sam’s World Championships ride from Pratoni, where they were pathfinders for the Irish team, coming home fast and clear cross country.

He doesn’t find the first phase easy, but Sam’s been working hard at home and is hopeful that it’ll all pay off this week.

Sam managed to leave home without shoes or a tie as he set out Burghley-bound. Luckily, eventers are used to mucking in and at the First Horse Inspection he was shod by Tim Price and accessorized by Tom McEwen!

5:21 Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope score 28.5 and go into 3rd.

5:20 This is a really good test from Majas Hope. Apparently Pippa gave him a little jump this morning to soften him up. It’s 8s across the board for the final halt and Pippa looks absolutely delighted with that test.

5:18 But the walk’s gone a bit wayward. Maja’s Hope has a good look at the flowers and there’s a lot of tension throughout the walk work. But they’re into canter now and Pippa’s using every iota of her experience to pull this together and the marks are back up – there’s an 8 and 9 for the extended canter.

5:16 It’s a lovely square halt to start for an 8 and Majas Hope is working really nicely with Pippa in what is his least favorite phase. Pippas’s going for every mark and there are two 8s for the extended trot and a 9 for the halt at C.

5:15 We may be looking at sub-30 here – they had a 28.2 here last year. It was 32.6 at Badminton and 35.2 at Kentucky.

5:14 And now we have eventing idol, Pippa Funnell coming forward with Majas Hope.

Royal approval! 👑 Pippa was awarded an MBE from the Queen of England for her services to equestrianism.

Pippa is a multiple Olympic, European and World medalist, a Wesko Equestrian Foundation mentor, video game star and children’s author.

💵 Pippa was the first (and only in the long format) winner of the Rolex Grand Slam.

Majas Hope took on his first 5* at Burghley in 2018, when he finished 12th. He was 16th here last year and 14th at Kentucky. They had a top-10 finish at Badminton in the spring.

🥇 He proved his reliability as a capable team pathfinder at the European Championships in 2019, where Britain took team gold.

Pippa got her week off to a winning start at the First Horse Inspection where she won one of the best dressed rider awards:

5:13 Aistis Vitkauskas and Commander VG score 40.6.

5:11 There’s nearly there now. It gets a bit more wayward toward the end, and there’s not much halt, but they’re done and overall, Commander VG showed some nice work and good relaxation in places.

5:10 There’s more tactful riding from Aistis, who’s keeping things accurate on a horse who’s getting a little bit buzzy.

5:09 He’s not happy to stand in the halt though, stepping constantly and gets a 2 from one of the judges. But the walk is calm enough – Commander’s wanting to look around but Aistis is sitting quiet and sending calming vibes down the reins.

5:08 Commander VG looks to be relatively calm and collected in the Main Arena this morning. He’s working nicely for Aistis and is pulling in 7s and 6.5s on the whole for the trot work.

5:07 This combo are not averse to dipping a toe – or two – into the 40s in this first phase, although at Pau last year they scored a career-best at the level with 36.1. How will he do here?

5:06 Lithuanian rider Aistis Vitkauskas with his lovely gelding Commander VG comes forward next.

This is Commander VG’s seventh 5* and third this season – it’s his first time at Burghley.

They retired on course at Luhmuhlen a few weeks ago after picking up a 20 – he’d put down a 43.2 in the dressage.

Cuteness alert! This lovely horse can be spotted at events giving Aistis’ young daughter pony rides.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t challenge Aistis’ sometimes though. He got hot, hot, hot – despite the rain – during his dressage at Badminton and scored 48.1. Will he keep a lid on it today? Only time will tell!

Commander VG was sporting blue and yellow ribbons in his braids at the Horse Inspection on Wednesday, in support of Ukraine, whilst Aistis was rocking a patchwork flat cap.

Fun fact – Aistis wears a knitted cross country silk that his grandmother made for him:

5:05 Louise Harwood and Native Spirit score 32.4.

5:04 The other changes are much better and they pull in 7s and 7.5s in the last one.

5:03 The canter is clean and accurate, but like the trot, isn’t pulling in top scores but are stead in 7s. There’s a problem in the change though, but they’re very quickly back on track.

5:02 Another nice halt at C brings in 7.5s across the board. There’s an 8 and a 9 for the rein back. Some real high points in this test so far.

5:01 They kick off with two 8s for the first halt. Native Spirit is a very elegant type of horse. Their trot work is clean and accurate, but not showing the softness and power for the very high marks.

5:00 They put down a 34.5 last time out, in the 4*-S at Hartpury. At the horse’s only other 5* run – Pau in 2021 – they posted a 32 in the first phase. What will Burghley bring?

4:59 Next up the center line will be Louise Harwood with Native Spirit.

Louise has ten Burghley completions under her girth but it’s a first Burghley for Native Spirit.

He went to Pau last year but was eliminated on the cross country, so let’s hope everything comes together for a completion here this week.

He’s a new-ish ride for Louise, joining her yard in 2021 and Louise is the owner-rider of the horse.

4:58 Tom Rowland and Possible Mission score 31.9 and go into the top 10.

4:57 There’s a 9 for the final halt for Tom and Hunter and a lot of pats.

4:56 Ah, they miss a change as Hunter looks up into the crowd. But they continue on with the canter work accurately and the next change is much better for two 7s.

4:55 There are more 7s for the medium and extended walk. This test is really showing their partnership, it’s pleasing to watch and you can see that horse and rider are really working together.

4:54 The trot work is accurate but Tom’s having to work to keep Hunter soft. The scores are steady in the 6s and 7s though and it’s 7s across the board for the extended.

4:53 It’s an 8 for the entry and halt straight off the mark – a fab start to their Burghley.

4:52 They went sub-30 at Badminton with a career-best 29.9. Will they do it again, here in the Main Arena at Burghley?

4:51 Next into the ring will be Tom Rowland and Possible Mission.

In the barn… Possible Mission is called ‘Hunter’ – appropriate considering he was bought from a hunting yard in Ireland.

He’s known as the super cob at home due to his hunting roots and dig-in attitude.

This is Tom and Hunter’s third time at Burghley at sixth time at the level. They completed here on their debut, finishing in 27th place. They were an excellent 19th at Badminton this year.

High fashion alert! Tom gave Harry Meade a run for his money in the fashion stakes at the First Horse Inspection with an aqua suit and matching hi-tops – suits you, sir!

4:50 Pedro looks very pleased with himself as he leaves the arena with his head in the air. It’s 38.1 for Richard Skelt and Credo.

4:49 Ah, he makes a mistake in the next change and gets 3s for it, and now there’s a couple of mistakes creeping in. Overall though, Pedro’s been very rideable and they finish their test with a very nice halt for a 7 and 7.5.

4:48 Pedro’s putting in an accurate test so far, the first change is clean and everything’s happening as it should.

4:47 The marks have picked up a bit for the walk – 7s on the whole across the board and an 8 for the extended. Good work Pedro!

4:46 It’s a solid start for Richard and Pedro, they’re pulling in 6s and 6.5s for the trot work, with a couple of 7s coming in. All’s looking settled and pleasant as they get their Burghley underway.

4:45 They scored a 33.5 in their last run – the 4*-S at Aston Le Walls. It was a 37 at Pau last season, and a 35.7 here last year. What will it be this time around?

4:44 First up today is Richard Skelt with Credo, coming forward for their third Burghley together.

In the barn… Credo’s known as ‘Pedro’.

Richard’ll be hoping it’s third time lucky here this week for a first Burghley – and 5* – completion.

Richard was aiming for the cool kids look at the Horse Inspection on Wednesday, with a tie and jacket – and untucked shirt. I approve 😎

Fun fact! He saved up for his first pony by working weekends for Marietta Fox-Pitt.

Pedro was originally produced by Angus Smales and was a naughty youngster. He still struggles in the first phase, so let’s hope his early draw helps a bit with the atmosphere in the Main Arena.

4:42 What’s up ENers?!
All hail the eventing superfans Stateside who are doing the double and are back at all sorts of antisocial hours to watch the goings on at Defender Burghley. We salute you.
Let’s do this thing!

Bring On Burghley: Dressage Day One Live Updates

Here they are, Burghley’s Class of 2023, looking keen and ready to put all that homework to the test.

Great Britain’s Harry Meade will kick off the 2023 edition of Burghley at 9:45am BST / 4:45am EST with the first of his three rides Away Cruising.

Getting the USA campaign underway will be Boyd Martin and On Cue – set to go at 10:25am BST / 5:25am EST.

Canada’s Jessie Phoenix also goes today with Wabbit – catch them if you can at 3:18pm BST / 10:18am EST.

The USA’s Jennie Saville with FE Lifestyle will be the penultimate combination today – they head down the center line at 3:50pm BST / 10:50am EST.

Who will be heading up the leaderboard at the end of day one at Burghley? Will they stay there? Keep this live thread refreshed, and watch this space! (Don’t forget, if you’re viewing this after the event, read from the bottom up.)

Want to follow along with the form of all the horses and riders cantering down the center line? Check out EN’s Form Guide for all the inside info.

Don’t forget to follow @goeventing and keep it locked onto EN for all the ins and outs of what’s sure to be a brilliant Burghley.

Let’s go eventing!

Defender Burghley Horse Trials Links: Website | Live Stream | Entries | Times and Scores | EN’s Coverage

EN’s coverage of Burghley is presented by Kentucky Performance Products. Click here to learn all about their full line of science-backed nutritional support products, including Neigh-Lox Advanced for digestive support.

11:02 And that’s a wrap on Dressage Day 1 at Burghley!

Leading overnight is Oliver Townend with Swallow Springs on a score of 24.2.
Just over two points behind, in second is Ros Canter on Pencos Crown Jewel on 26.9.
Rounding out the top three is Emily King with Valmy Biats on 30.
Oliver‘s other ride, Tregilder is on 30.5, equal with Tom McEwen and Luna Mist.
Then it’s the USA’s Jennie Saville with FE Lifestyle in 6th on 31.1.
The other US rider to go today, Boyd Martin with On Cue sit in 8th on 38.1.
And Jessie Phoenix and Wabbit for Canada are 15th on 34.9

Watch out for Tilly’s full round-up of all the day’s dressage – coming soon!

Thanks for coming along for the ride. I’ll be back tomorrow with another day’s action from between the white boards. Until then, go eventing!

11:00 Holly Richardson and Bally Louis score 36.6 which Holly looks very pleased with.

10:59 The penultimate change happens easily but the final one is 4s across the board. They finish on a lovely square halt though for 8s across the board.

10:57 The walk brings in 6.5s and a few 7s and the scores improve a bit as the canter work starts. The change dips them a bit. Louis is snorting a bit, but is keeping a lid on it and Holly feels able to really push for the extended canter. The change afterwards was late though.

10:56 Louis produces a rhythmical extended trot and then a secure halt for 7s. Louis doesn’t enjoy the rein back though and comes behind the vertical a fair bit, which obviously affects the marks.

10:55 They get their first 5* off with a square halt that’s pretty straight up the center line. The trot’s trending around 6.5 but there are some 7s creeping in.

10:54 Louis has a tendency to get quite tense in this phase – last time out he scored a 37.3, the time before that it was 43.1. What will he think of the atmosphere in the Main Arena at Burghley? Remember to breathe Louis.

10:53 Rounding off the first day’s dressage at Burghley is Holly Richardson and Bally Louis.

Rookie alert! This is Holly and Louis’ first 5*.

It might be his first time in top-level atmosphere, but Louis took the trot-up like an old pro yesterday.

🪜 Holly’s brought Louis up the levels from Novice.

Busy lady – Holly will be riding and grooming Louis this week, although Louis’ owners are there to lend a hand.

Smart cookie 🍪👩‍🎓 Holly has a PhD in Equine Research.

10:52 Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle score a personal best of 31.1. Jennie looks delighted.

10:51 A couple of errors but they finish up with an 8 and two 9s for the final halt. Foxy’s very relaxed on the way out of the arena after what was a great test overall.

10:50 Foxy stumbles slightly on the center line and then the changes have been a bit tense. They put in an unwanted change and things seem a bit wobbly, and perhaps a bit green. They’ve got it back together though and the left to right change is much better and scores a 7.

10:49 The walk isn’t as expressive as the trot, but it is relaxed and rhythmical. A bit more purpose would pull in higher marks.

10:48 There’s lots of quality in the trot work, it’s so rhythmical and relaxed. Foxy is forward and expressive and looks a real picture. It’s so soft and easy.

10:47 Jennie’s smiling all the way up the center line, she looks very happy to be at her first Burghley. She gets 7.5s and 7s for the entry and halt.

10:46 We’re looking at low-30s in the first phase. They posted a 35.7 at Kentucky, and a 32.5 last time out at Bromont in the 4*S where they finished 4th. What will it be at Burghley?

10:45 Our penultimate combination of the day is Jennie Saville and FE Lifestyle for the US.

They come forward for their fifth 5* together, and first Burghley. They were 12th at Kentucky in the spring, and 5th at Maryland last year.

In June, FE Lifestyle was named to the Elite Eventing Program List, part of the US Eventing Pathway.

🦊 He’s known as ‘Foxy’ in the barn.

He can be a bit quirky, and isn’t always easy on the flat, so we’ll have to see how he finds the Burghley Main Arena.

Jennie is based with Phillip Dutton in Pennsylvania.

Keeping it equestrian – Jennie is married to a racehorse trainer 🏇

Here’s some puppy love because 😍🐶:

10:44 Oliver Townend and Swallow go straight into the lead with 24.2.

10:42 Oliver’s riding at his very best here. It’s totally, totally accurate. The canter work is pulling in 8s and 7.5s and they’re creating a lovely picture. A 9 and two 8s for the stretch circle. This is a beautiful test, from horse and from rider. A grin from Oliver and a few fist pumps happening. There’s a 9 for the final halt. This is going into the lead for sure and the crowd knows it.

10:41 It’s two 8s and a 7.5 for the rein back, and more of the same quality in the walk work. He’s trending to go into the lead…

10:40 It’s 8s across the board for the medium trot. This is great trot work, uphill and forward, lots of power and drive. 7.5s and 8s coming in for Oliver and Swallow Springs.

10:39 Oliver’s got his game face on as he halts to salute. It’s two 7.5s and an 8 for the entry and halt.

10:38 Swallow Springs has pulled out some very smart dressage tests. Regularly in the low 20s – they scored 23.2 at Badminton in this phase – this could be a combination fighting for a place at the top of the leaderboard. 👀

10:37 Oliver Townend’s back with us now with his second ride, Swallow Springs.

This lovely gelding has been 3rd here when Andrew Nicholson was in the irons – he’s also been 5th at Badminton with Andrew, and 3rd with Oliver. He was 7th at Luhmuhlen this season.

Hot form! 🌶️ Oliver currently tops the British Eventing rankings for most wins this season. He’s second on the leaderboard for most cross country clears inside the time and has the highest number of show jumping clears.

Oliver’s one tough cookie 🍪 At Kentucky in 2010, he broke his collar bone, shoulder bones, sternum and four ribs – he was in hospital for one day!

Brrr! Boyd Martin’s got some competition when it comes to ice therapy 🥶:

10:36 Harry Meade and Cavalier Crystal score 32.2.

10:35 Harry looks pleased as they halt at the end of the test. He’s still smiling as he walks out of the arena. A great 5* start for Nell.

10:34 The canter isn’t quite as relaxed as the work that’s come before it, but there are lots of 7s on the scoreboard. The stretch circle gets two 8s and a 7.

10:33 The walk has a good rhythm and she pulls in an 8.5 for the extended. There are lots of highlights in this test.

10:32 After a bit of a sticky halt which got 5s across the board, ‘Nell’ is working well in the trot work with lots of 7s coming in. Harry halts smack on the center line at C and the halt is better than the first.

10:31 This pair hover around the 30-mark a fair bit of the time in this phase. At their two 4* runs this season they’ve posted a 31 and a 34.5 – in their most recent run in the 3* at Alnwick, they went sub-30 with a 28.6. What will it be on their first time together in the Burghley arena?

10:30 Next up the center line, for the second time today, is Harry Meade with Cavalier Crystal.

5* first-timer alert! Cavalier Crystal, not Harry!

Hot form 🌶️ This season, the pair have had two top-5 results at 4*.

Miss Reliable – The mare has completed all nineteen of her FEI runs.

🏹 A man with a number of strings to his bow, Harry has a degree in Art History as well as being a familiar voice in the commentary box and writing for Horse & Hound.

A hugely popular rider, in 2014 Harry was voted rider of the year by the Event Horse Owners Association, the Event Riders Association, The British Equestrian Writers Association and Horse & Hound.

I’m always keen to see what color pants Harry will wear for the First Horse Inspection. Lilac:

10:29 It’s a personal best for Bradeley Law in his final test! 36. What a pleasure it is to watch this lovely guy.

10:28 There’s a hug and a big pat at the end of that test for Bradeley Law from Michael and a huge clap from the crowd.

10:27 There are some 7s coming in for the canter work. Bradeley Law’s relaxing into his work and everything’s accurate and obedient. Carl Hester says what a happy looking horse this is, and I totally agree – he seems to be smiling.

10:26 Michael’s opted to ride without spurs here, as is allowed in eventing dressage. Bradeley Law is relaxing into the contact in the walk work and it’s all correct in terms of rhythm.

10:25 Bradeley Law looks rideable and is in a lovely uphill frame. Everything is accurate and steady and they look a picture together.

10:24 At 5* we’re realistically looking at high-30s in the first phase – at Burghley last year he posted a 38.6, although at Bicton 5* in 2021 he scored 36.8. But enough of that. Let’s just enjoy his lovely face for the last time at the top level. (Sniff 🥹)

10:23 For their final trip up the center line together, next up we have Michael Owen and the nineteen-year-old Bradeley Law, who will be retiring directly after Burghley.

This pair have had ten years together – this is their fourth attempt at Burghley and I’ve got everything crossed that it’s a happy swan song for this lovely gelding.

He looked gorgeous at the First Horse Inspection – a total celebration of a true event horse.

Fun fact! Bradeley Law loves his job so much that after Michael came unstuck at Badminton in 2016, the game fellow jumped three fences on his way back to the stables!

Bradeley Law has made steady progress in this phase, with some of the best results of his career coming this season. He was 16th in his latest outing at Alnwick in the 4*-S in July, where he posted a dressage score of 34.6.

Not content with one equestrian discipline, in 2010 Michael jockeyed a winner in his debut race. 🏇

Out of the saddle, he unwinds from all the adrenaline of equestrianism with a round a golf. ⛳

Look at that face 😍:

10:22 Jessica Phoenix and Wabbit score 34.9. It’s a massive personal best. Jessie’s beaming and Wabbit looks incredibly pleased with himself as he stands for a clap from the crowd.

10:21 The left to right change isn’t so easy and the marks drop a little. There’s been tension throughout but Wabbit’s kept it under control. It’s two 8s and a 7.5 for the final halt. Overall, this has been a good test for them.

10:20 The changes so far are accurate and clean and Wabbit pulls in 7s across the board for the half pass. Jessie can’t really push for the extended canter but the change when they come back is very good for a 7.

10:19 It’s 7s and a 7.5 for the rein back but the tightness is still there in the walk. Wabbit’s got really tense now and breaks into trot. Jessie’s having to ride very carefully to keep a lid on this.

10:18 We’re looking at 6.5s and 7s for the trot work. Wabbit’s doing everything right, he’s just a bit tight and so won’t reach those higher marks.

10:17 Wabbit gets two 8s for his entry and halt. A great start.

10:16 They’ve been mid to high-30s in the first phase this season, with a 35.9 last time out at the Nations Cup in Arville. It was 39.4 at Kentucky. What will it be at Burghley?

10:15 Next it the turn of Canada’s Jessica Phoenix and the splendidly named Wabbit.

OTTB alert! 🏇 Wabbit is a full Thoroughbred – he only earned $2200 in five starts though, clearly he was made for eventing.

Jessie and Wabbit have been named to the 2023 Equestrian Canada High Performance National Squad.

This is Wabbit’s fourth 5* start, and first outside North America.
Wabbit’s a tough guy who relishes a challenge, which we’ll see in boatloads on Saturday – will he tame all that sped and power for the dressage though?

10:14 Kristina Hall-Jackson and CMS Google score 32.6.

10:13 Kristina’s smiling at the end and Google gets a lot of pats for her efforts. Good girl Google!

10:12 There’s more anticipation in the changes but Google takes the contact forward well in the stretch circle for an 8. There’s 7s across the board for the change afterwards.

10:11 The halt at C wasn’t very square, nor was the first one. Google’s relaxed in the walk but, as Carl Hester says from the commentary box, it needs more purpose. There’s rhythm though and Kristina will be taking calculated risks. Google anticipates the canter transition showing what Kristina was working with in the walk really.

10:11 Google’s looking settled in her trot work so far. They’re presenting a nice picture and their partnership is clear to see. They score an 8 for the half pass.

10:10 Historically, Google has found the dressage to be a bit tricky. She’s squeaked sub-30 a couple of times, but is more likely to hover around the mid-30s mark – at Burghley last year, she posted a 33, at Badminton in the spring it was 30.9.

10:09 Kicking off the final session of the day is Kristina Hall-Jackson with the best Christmas present ever, CMS Google.

Baby rider 👶 Kristina has been riding since she was 18 months old!

This is Kristina and Google’s third 5* outing – their first was Burghley last year where they finished 25th. They were 29th at Badminton in the spring.

Google was characteristically looky at the Horse Inspection yesterday – just checking out all the peeps who’d come to watch her, and only her.

🐣➡️🦁 Kristina describes Google as ‘the biggest chicken’ at home and ‘brave as a lion’ at events.

Fun fact! Google is scared of the dark!

Kristina is part of the Wesko Equestrian Foundation, under the mentorship of Pippa Funnell.


9:45 It’s time for a break now. No change at the top of the leaderboard. The final session starts back at 3:10pm BST / 10:10am EST.

In case you were wondering, there were 21 Prince references in the updates for DHI Purple Rain! ☔

9:44 Andy Heffernan and Harthill Phantom score 35.2.

9:43 Harthill Phantom definitely looks fit and ready to run cross country on Saturday. They finish with an 8 for the final halt, so a nice end for them.

9:42 There are some 7s coming in for the canter work and the changes are there and clean, but not big scoring.

9:40 This is a very accurate test, despite the tension. There are two 8s for the halt at C. The walk is similar to the trot really, it’s there but it could be quite a bit more relaxed.

9:39 There’s still some tension happening but Andy’s using all of his experience to deliver a positive, confident ride. Nothing’s going wrong, but it’s not really relaxed.

9:38 A very nice straight entry, but there are a couple of steps during the halt. The scores are 4, 5, 5 to start.

9:37 We’re running a smidge early, so Andy’s just taking his time round the Main Arena. He doesn’t have to start ’til his official time. Harthill Phantom seems to be holding his breath about as he trots round the ring. Hopefully he’ll relax a bit before he enters the arena.

9:36 This season their scores in this phase range from 35.2 to 28.3 – their best coming at their most recent outing. What will it be at Burghley?

9:35 Last before the break is British-based Dutch rider Andy Heffernan and his 5* debutant Harthill Phantom.

This is Andy’s first 5* since 2017.

Winner winner 🍗 This combination have some hot recent form – they won the 4*-S at Aston Le Walls a few weeks ago, their last run before the big B.

A man with many hats 🤠 Andy’s just back from the European Championships – where the Dutch team secured Olympic qualification and where Andy was player-manager – acting as pathfinder and team manager. He’s also a BE accredited trainer and cross country designer.

When he’s not wearing one of his many equestrian hats, he enjoys a game of squash 🎾

It’s off to Paris for the Dutch team – Allez!:

9:34 Matt Heath and Askari score 32.1. There’s a nod and thumbs up from Matt.

9:33 The first flying change is great, but the second is a little muddled. Muffin works round the stretch circle and then does a great change, and then another one.

9:32 There’s an 8 in the rein back scores. Muffin’s really stretching for the contact in the walk – a 9 comes in for the extended.

9:31 Muffin is nearly floating from his trot work. He pulls in 7.5s across the board for the extended. This really is a pleasure to watch and Muffin is a picture as he makes his way round the ring with that big white face.

9:30 Based on recent form, we’re looking at high-20s / low-30s here. It was a 31.3 last time out, 29.3 the time before that. What will Burghley bring?

9:29 Next into the ring will be Matt Heath, who’s swapped his Burghley Radio headset for a riding helmet to bring Askari forward for the horse’s first 5*.

Did you know? ‘Askari’ means policeman in Swahili. Not nearly so cute as his stable name – ‘Muffin’🧁

Matt made his 5* debut at Burghley back in 2013 with fan-fave The Lion. Together they had six Burghley starts.

Burghleys past – Matt was a mounted steward at Burghley before he got the chance to come here and compete.

Muffin was brought through 3* by Dickie Waygood before Matt took the reins in 2019.

He looked incredibly relaxed at the Horse Inspection yesterday as he waited for a horse to represent before taking his turn to trot-up. Let’s see if that extra arena time has stood him in good stead for today.

😍 There’s nothing quite like a horse with a big white blaze:

9:28 Luc Chateau and Viens du Mont score 41.9.

9:26 Oh no, the bell’s rung for an error of course – it looked like he was starting a circle at the wrong end. And again. Poor Luc. What a tough thing to deal with. He gets back on track without another error (which would result in elimination), and they finish. Luc shakes his head. A real shame. They’ll have way more fun out on cross country, that’s for sure.

9:25 The walk’s a little tentative at times, but it’s all accurate. It’s similar in the canter work – it’s tentative rather than Luc really riding for it, but all the transitions are lovely.

9:24 A little bit of resistance in the rein back sees scores of 5 and 5.5. Luc takes a big breath before the walk begins.

9:23 There’s already an 8 on the board for their entry, so Viens is off to a great start. There’s nice positioning in the shoulder in for 7s across the board.

9:22 They’ve scored as low as 32.9 in the dressage at 3* and as much as 47.5 at 4*. At 5* they’ve had a 37 and a 39.8. They’ll be climbing the leaderboard on Saturday though for sure, with no cross country penalties in their 19 FEI runs.

9:21 French rider Luc Chateau is next up with Viens du Mont.

Viens du Mont’s last two FEI outings were CCI5*s, and now he comes forward for his third.

Top-10! Last year’s home soil top level debut for the pair at Pau saw them finish in 9th place.

They had an impressive 11th place finish at this year’s tricky Badminton, where they didn’t let the weather get to them, jumping clear cross country and proving that they could handle just about any going.

Foal alert! 😍 Luc and his wife run a breeding program at home in France and welcomed a foal out of Michael Jung’s superstar mare FischerRocana a few months ago.

Family guy – Luc competed the stallion at the center of the enterprise, Propriano de l’Ebat, until 2018.

Foal spam! FischerRocana and her totally adorable little one:

9:20 Alice Casburn and Topspin score 35.8.

9:19 The second change is great and Spinach seems to be working nicely with Alice. The final two changes are late but overall this has been a nice test for Spinach, with a couple of expensive changes.

9:18 The walk gets a bit tentative coming towards the canter transition, but before that it had been relaxed and pulled in some nice marks. The first change was a little late.

9:16 Spinach is looking very rideable in the Main Arena at Burghley, although he could show a bit more suppleness for higher marks. The extended trot scores 7s across the boards and there’s an 8 for the halt and another for the rein back.

9:15 This would be their weakest phase – the can score from the mid to high-30s, although they did dip to a 33.6 as Burghley last year.

9:14 One of the youngest riders here – but not the youngest this time – is up next – Alice Casburn with her homebred gelding Topspin.

👟 Alice was another member of the sneaker squad at the First Horse Inspection – I approve, ladies.

Don’t be fooled by her youth – this is their fifth 5* and they’ve completed at all of their previous top-level starts. They were 5th here last year.

What have tennis and eventing got in common? 🎾🏇 All of the Casburn homebreds have tennis related names.

Family connection – Topspin is a second generation homebred and Alice’s mom competed his grandmother.

In the barn info! ‘Spinach’ (as he’s fondly known) lives in the same stable he was born in.

Not many people can say they’ve bred a 5* combination:

9:13 Francis Whittington an DHI Purple Rain score 34.9.

9:12 Things go a bit wayward in the corner which affects the flying change. There’s a bit of tension creeping in and Prince seems to anticipate some of the transitions and movements. It was far from his days of wild type test he can do when he’s feeling hot though. Francis did a great job in there.

9:11 Prince is willing and able in the walk – it’s all about that walk. Prince stays with Francis, who’s giving the gelding a peach of a ride – very tactful riding happening here.

9:10 There are plenty of 7s coming in, and an 8 for the half pass. There’s lots of flow and two more 8s for the halt.

9:09 Francis and Prince get off to a nice start with a straight entry. There’s a bit of a wobble as they leave the halt but Prince is showing off all of his expression in the trot work.

9:08 The Xpectation is low to mid-30s in this phase, but it all depends on how much of a hot thing Prince is on alphabet street today. The truth is, at Badminton he put down a 41. How fiery is this sexy dancer feeling? Let’s hope it’s more ‘let’s work’ than ‘let’s go crazy’. U got the look, Prince – nothing compares 2 u – now it’s time to dance 4 me!

9:07 Here’s a (not so) cryptic clue to who we’ll be seeing next…

Could this be, the most beautiful horse in the world..? Enter Francis Whittington and DHI Purple Rain.

In case you hadn’t worked it out, DHI Purple Rain’s stable name is ‘Prince’. 💜

Just for fun, I will attempt to infiltrate the following updates with Prince songs/albums… How many can you spot? (Answer in the break.)

If, like me, you’ve got a penchant for striking black horses, Prince is definitely the one u wanna c. Everything about this extravagant gelding says, my name is Prince and baby I’m a star! 🌟

At this year’s soft and wet edition of Badminton, he finished just outside the top-20, after eating up the difficult ground on the cross country and producing an impressive clear.

Career move ⏩ Francis worked in equine dentistry before becoming a full-time eventer. Open wide! 🦷

Prince can get quite worked up between the white boards, so we’ll hope that he’s feeling calm and collected as he gets his Burghley underway.

Francis brought him in as quietly as possible at the Horse Inspection yesterday and despite plenty of ‘woos’ from Francis, Prince pranced his way down the jog strip, stepping out like the star he is.

9:06 Tim Cheffings and Gaston score 41.2.

9:05 They’ll have an error penalty of minus 2 marks for that slip up. They end on a lovely square halt for 7s across the board, and a big sigh from Tim. Gaston’s relaxed as he walks out of the ring, very pleased with his day’s work.

9:04 The fussiness continues into the canter. There are nice moments, but then it slips a bit. Overall the test is accurate though, and Gaston is rideable. Ah, the bell’s rung – they’ve missed the stretch circle. Tim goes back to it and they’re back on their way.

9:02 The extended trot pulls in two 7s followed by a good halt for a 7 and a 7.5. Gaston’s shaking his head a little in the walk, but he’s staying in walk and not fussing too much.

9:01 Gaston has an extravagant medium trot but stumbles a little at the end of it. There’s a little fussing going on which is impacting on the balance slightly at times.

9:00 In his two runs this season, Gaston’s scored 37.7 and 38.5. How will he find his first 5* dressage test? Let’s see.

8:59 Now it’s the turn of Tim Cheffings and Gaston.

5* first-timer alert! This is Gaston’s first attempt at the level. Tim’s been here before – in 2014.

Gaston was quite looky looky at the Horse Inspection yesterday – just checking out what this whole Burghley thing’s about 👀

Gaston seems to be peaking at just the right time – his last outing saw him have his second highest placing – top-20 in the 4*L at Bramham.

Tim’s a former Pony Clubber and is now a mentor to riders from Pony Club to Advanced.

8:58 Phil Brown and Harry Robinson score 41.3 and get a big cheer.

8:57 They put in a clean change and Harry’s still looking happy. There are marks being dropped in places due to accuracy – it costs them dearly in the second change with 1s and 2s. But overall, Phil looks very happy at the final halt. Harry’s been a good lad.

8:56 The walk is calm, it’s a bit tentative, but Harry’s on board with Phil.

8:55 So far so good. Harry’s looking rideable and happy enough in his work.

8:54 It’s a very nice start from Phil and Harry – dead straight down the center line and looking like they mean business.

8:53 Dressage is not Harry’s favorite bit – like any eventer worth his salt that’d be cross country, of course. They scored a 49.9 last time out, but it was 35.3 here last year. What’ll it be today?

8:52 Next up the center line is Phil Brown with Harry Robinson.

Note: Phil is the rider 🙋 – Harry is the horse 🐴

This is Phil and Harry’s second time at Burghley – they made their 5* debut here last year, completing in 27th to great celebration at the culmination of a dream come true.

Phil was local to Burghley for a number of years – so local he could see the house from his arena. He’s based in Yorkshire now, but Burghley remains close to his heart.

Total kismet ✨ Harry was actually sold for a while, but found his way back to Phil and here they are.

Harry (left) and Phil (right) cut quite the dashing picture at the Horse Inspection yesterday – Phil won best dressed male with his three-piece suit:

8:51 Lauren Innes and Global Fision M score 46. Flipper’s much happier once he’s back with his groom getting lots of pats.

8:50 Flipper frolics out of the ring, going every way but forwards.

8:49 Flipper’s still not really settled as he does his canter work. Lauren’s doing a lovely job staying calm and there are some nice moments in this test. Overall though, they’re struggling for the scores because he’s feeling a bit hot. He’s very ready for Saturday.

8:48 The walk was really rather tense and Flipper was very keen to get into the canter – that affected their transition marks which were 4.5s.

8:47 So far so good for Flipper and Lauren. Oh, as I typed that Flipper broke out of the trot and his head went up. Lauren got him back though and they’re back up to 7s after dropped to 2s and 3s.

8:46 Potential fireworks alert 🎆 He’s a bit of a quirky horse and, as we saw on the jog strip, gets hot, hot, hot. Let’s hope he got it out of his system yesterday. It was a 46.4 at Badminton, and they’ve been as high as 52.7 this season, when they found themselves warming up in an empty arena and Flipper got quite upset. But it was a 32.1 last time out. Let’s see what transpires here today.

8:45 Getting us back into the swing of things it’s New Zealand rider Lauren Innes and Global Fision M.

In her other life… Lauren is a full-time accountant – ‘Flipper’, Lauren’s only upper-level horse, spends his days in the field while Lauren’s at work.

Long-time love 💞 This pair have been together since Flipper was a five-year-old.

Flipper sure showed his speed at the Horse Inspection yesterday with the fastest trot-up ever. He even threw in a half pass and a jump or two. It took some serious wither tickles from Lauren to get him to sensibly show the Jury what they were looking for.

You may think you’ve seen Lauren down as a British rider, and you’d be right – this season, she swapped nationality, taking on her father’s Kiwi status.

This is their first visit to Burghley, although they’ve completed at Badminton twice.

Flipper sure does like to take a good look around:

7:00 What a morning’s dressage we’ve had!

In the lead is Ros Canter with Pencos Crown Jewel on a score of 26.9.
Second is Emily King with Valmy Biats on 30.
And third equal we have Oliver Townend and Tregilder and Tom McEwen and Luna Mist on 30.5.
The USA’s Boyd Martin with On Cue is in 6th on 31.8.

It’s time for a well-earned lunch break now, after which the second half of today’s competition will get their turn between the white boards. We’ll be back at 1:45pm BST / 8:45am EST. Until then…

6:59 Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue score 35.1.

6:58 Bar the changes, this test has been clean and accurate. Austin looks disappointed as he finishes. In his interview he’s very clear about that. He thinks something flew in Salty’s ear right at the start of the test making him shake his head throughout. He’s a great cross country horse though – we saw that at Badminton – so hopefully things will shape up for him as the competition continues.

6:57 Everything’s very correct, without being hugely expressive. Salty’s changes are sometimes a problem though, and that’s no different here. There’s a bit of hesitation and the scores drop slightly, but then pick back up.

6:56 Salty’s looking just as beautiful in the Main Arena as he did yesterday at the Horse Inspection. He’s forward and attentive to Austin. He clips the board and loses rhythm for a second but they’re quickly back on track.

6:55 Generally speaking, they’re a low to mid-30s pair. It was a 31.9 for him at Badminton – how will their Burghley debut kick off?

6:54 Finishing up the morning session we have Ireland’s Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue.

🧂 ‘Salty’ showed he’s an event horse truly worth his salt at this year’s tricky Badminton edition – he finished 3rd after storming round the muddy track. Last year he was 8th – finishing on his dressage of 35.9.

Olympic call-up – He competed in Tokyo after stepping up when Cathal Daniels had to withdraw – he finished 13th overall.

He’s also been to the World Championships, where he finished in the top 20.

This is his fourth 5* start and first Burghley. The last time an Irish rider won Burghley was in 1963 – can Austin bring it home for Ireland 60 years later? ☘️

Salty looking fabulous at the Horse Inspection:

6:53 Christoffer Forsberg and Con Classic 2 score 38.4.

6:52 There’s another muddled change which gets 3s. It’s a shame because everything else was accurate and Con Classic looked to be working nicely for Christoffer.

6:51 There’s a blip in the flying change which is full of tension – two 4s and a 5 for that will drop their trending score, which was full of 6s and 7s.

6:50 Con Classic is a little fussy in the contact through the walk at times, but everything’s still accurate and solid overall.

6:49 The trot work is balanced and rhythmical and consistent, there could be more expression and energy in the steps though for the higher marks.

6:48 At 4* this season, they’ve scored everything from 33.9 (at their last outing) to 39.2. Where will they land today?

6:47 Returning to Burghley after a 13 year break, next into the arena will be Sweden’s Christoffer Forsberg with Con Classic 2.

This is Christoffer’s first 5* since his debut, here at Burghley in 2010 when Christoffer was nineteen.

It’s a first 5* for Con Classic 2, who, as a ten-year-old is one of the youngest horses in the field.

Like quite a few eventers, Christoffer has been stuck back together again by science – he’s got an extra six screws and two metal plates than he was born with.

6:45 Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel go into the lead to a massive cheer from the crowd! It’s sub-30… It’s 26.9.

6:44 There’s an 8 and two 7.5s for the stretch circle followed by a clear and accurate change. The next change is slightly early and scored accordingly. Two 8s and a 9 to finish though. Score incoming..!

6:42 The halt is much better than the first one on the center line and scores an 8. Jasmine looks relaxed in the walk and there are lots more 7s coming in. We may have been hoping for a lower trending score, but the work is all great and the attention to detail Ros puts into riding her test is apparent.

6:41 A super medium trot from Jasmine scores 7.5s across the board. It’s a lovely start for Ros and Jasmine – everything is as accurate and correct as we expect from Ros.

6:40 They tend to score in the highish-20s in this first phase – it was a 27.3 last time out, and a 29.2 at Badminton. But if we look at last year’s Burghley – a 24.2 – that would put them right in the mix here. Will we see our first sub-30? 👀

6:39 Next up is our new European Champion Ros Canter with Badminton winner and equine European Champion Walter’s half-sister, Pencos Crown Jewel.

Ros got a huge cheer from the crowd at the First Horse Inspection, and ‘Jasmine’ took the whole atmosphere entirely in her stride. Let’s hope she’s as level-headed and focused for her test today.

This is their fourth start at the level – they were 4th on their debut at Bicton in 2021, 11th at Burghley last year, and 9th at Badminton in the spring.

Together from the start – Ros started Jasmine off under the saddle, so it’s fair to say this pair know each other pretty well.

Behind the scenes… Jasmine is teased for being “Miss Health and Safety” at home as she’s always checking everything out. She loves her field and hacking on a long rein, but isn’t so happy when it comes to being caught.

Ros had super-cute cartoons drawn by Sarah Charnley depicting all her horse family’s personalities. Here’s Miss Health and Safety 👷‍♀️:

6:38 Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy score 36.9.

6:37 The tension continues, but Bing’s more receptive in the final movements. He reacts to the applause, showing that he was carrying a fair bit of tension throughout that test. Nicky did a great job keeping everything as calm as she did.

6:36 And now things have gone a bit awry. The canter breaks and Bing doesn’t fancy the half pass – they score 4s across the board. The half pass left is much better though.

6:35 Bing relaxes into the contact nicely in the extended walk but anticipates the transition to canter.

6:34 Bing seems to have settled into his Burghley as he trots round the arena. He’s not the flashiest but he’s performing the movements as Nicky’s asking him to and seems happy to work for her. They get 7s for the halt.

6:33 We’re looking at mid-30s in this phase – they put down a 35.8 at Badminton. Let’s see if Bing’s got his excitement from yesterday out of his system…

6:32 It’s Nicky Hill and MGH Bingo Boy’s turn next.

‘Bing’ boinged over the flower decoration at the Horse Inspection yesterday afternoon, so let’s hope he’s realized cross country isn’t ‘til Saturday and has got his dressage head on today!

This is their second time at Burghley – they came here in 2019 and were 27th.

All the smarts 🎓 Nicky has a degree in Biology and Sport Science.

All the sports ⛷️🧗 When she’s not eventing, Nicky enjoys skiing and climbing.

Cheeky boy 🐒 Nicky describes Bing as a “massive character” and knows just where to look if there’s trouble on the yard – “you can guarantee it’s down to him,” she says.

6:31 Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure score 32.2. Revised score for Emily King – 30 – so no sub-30s yet.

6:29 Murphy doesn’t really take the contact in the stretch circle, but the following changes are very good. The final trot up the center line pulls in an 8 and Murphy shakes his head, clearly pleased with himself.

6:27 Murphy’s anticipating the canter slightly at the end of the trot work, and he starts to trot a stride before the transition. The first change is clean though for 6.5s across the board.

6:25 It’s a solid start for Greta and Murphy with 7s for much of the trot work. Murphy looks to be working well with Greta and is happy in his work. Everything could be a little more expressive for higher marks, but so far so good.

6:25 They trend in the low-30s in this phase before their favorite phase – cross country, of course – sees them with a bit of wiggle room up the rankings.

6:24 Next into the ring will be Greta Mason and Cooley For Sure, coming forward for their third 5* together.

It’s their first Burghley but not their first 5* – they were 14th at Pau last year.

Burghley connection – Greta was a member of the Burghley Pony Club and so has ridden at Burghley before – just not in the 5*!

🥈 They were second in the British U25 championship at Bramham last year, finishing on their dressage of 34.1.

Greta describes ‘Murphy’ as being part of the family – in fact, the gelding was originally bought for Greta’s twin brother.

Greta is coached by former Badminton winner Rodney Powell.

She was looking fresh in a fancy hat with feathers at the Horse Inspection yesterday, and Murphy looked equally fresh as he frolicked his way down the jog strip.

6:23 Emily King and Valmy Biats score 29.4 – our first sub-30 and into the lead.

6:22 Things get a bit tight for the last two changes, which drop their trending score slightly. But there’s two 8s for the final halt. Do we have a new leader?

6:21 There’s 8s for the medium canter but the first change is really quite muddled. The second one is much better though.

6:20 The scores drop a bit for the halt and rein back, which wasn’t absolutely straight. They’re back up for the walk work though, which is relaxed and accurate.

6:19 Emily’s Burghley debut has got off to a solid start. There’s a lovely expression and outline in the trot work and they’re pulling in 7s and 7.5. Everything’s consistent and rhythmical and there’s an 8 for the half pass and two for the extended.

6:18 This pair could potentially give us our first score in the 20s. They scored 31.3 at Badminton but have shown that they’re well capable of mid to high-20s at the level – they posted a 25.5 at Pau last year and 28.4 at Luhmuhlen. Let’s see how they show up today. 👀

6:17 Next up the center line is Emily King with Valmy Biats for their first Burghley.

They come here from Badminton after Emily decided ‘Valmy’ wasn’t enjoying the muddy ground. Before that, they won the 4*-S at Thoresby Park.

👟 Emily was doing it for the sneaker crew down the jog strip yesterday, to which I say, hooray!

Live the dream… Valmy Biats is part owned by the Event Horse Owners Syndicate – you can buy a tiny part of him for around £95!

Hot to trot 🏃 Emily must be pretty fit – she ran the London Marathon earlier this year, along with her partner fellow eventer Sam Ecroyd, raising money for The Brain and Spine Foundation.

They come here fresh off a 3rd place finish at Alnwick in the 4*-S, where they posted a 24.9 in this phase.

At home 🏡 – Emily lives in North Wales, not too far from me! Check out the view in the best way possible – between the ears:

6:16 Zara Tindall and Class Affair score 31.4.

6:15 Another lovely halt to finish, with a 9 from one of the judges – 7 and 7.5 from the others.

6:14 Everything looks accurate in the canter work, things could be a little more expressive for the higher marks, but all’s going well for 6s and 7s.

6:13 Socks is working really nicely with Zara in the walk work – the homework in this phase is clearly paying off.

6:12 There’s lovely bend in the half pass and Socks shows off his socks in the extended trot.

6:11 Class Affair kicks off the session with a lovely straight entry and square halt for two 8s and a 7.5. A super start!

6:10 They posted a personal best of 28.4 in the first phase here last year. They haven’t managed sub-30 since, but the highest they’ve been is 33.3. What will it be today?

6:09 Getting us back underway is Zara Tindall with Class Affair.

🏆🏆 Zara is a former European and World Champion. She’s also won Olympic team silver and was voted Sports Personality of the Year in 2006 – an exciting win for eventing breaking into the mainstream.

A more perfect stable name will not be found – ‘Socks’ is clearly named for his stunning – and whiter-than-white – white socks 🧦

Although… Zara also refers to Socks as “the mad guy”.

Third time lucky? They came to Burghley in 2019 but were eliminated after Zara came unstuck at the fence following the drop at the Leaf Pit. They returned last year and retired after a run out – also at the Leaf Pit. It comes early in the course this year and Zara will have everything crossed that third time’s a charm.

Zara and Socks made the trip to Kentucky in the spring, finishing 15th in the 5* there.

Behind the scenes… Zara trains with dressage legends Carl Hester and Amy Woodhead.

Winning genes 👖🥇🥇 – both her mom and dad have won Burghley:

5:45 Updated scores:
Tom McEwen and Luna Mist and Oliver Townend and Tregilder – 30.5
Boyd Martin and On Cue – 31.8
David Doel Galileo Nieuwmoed – 33.7
Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley – 34.9
Harry Meade and Away Cruising – 36
Alex Bragg and Quindiva – 39.3
Harry Mutch and Shanbeg Cooley – 44.8

5:44 It’s 39.3 for Alex Bragg and Quindiva.

5:43 We’re heading into the first break now. Alex’s score and any updates to previous scores coming soon. Back in around 20 minutes – at 11:10am BST / 6:10am EST.

5:42 The tension sticks around and Diva’s clipped the boards a couple of times and scooted forward. Alex’ll be glad that’s over. Diva’s still looking around on the way out of the arena. To be fair, there is a lot of atmosphere in that arena.

5:40 She relaxes a bit in the walk but the tail swishing’s back in the canter. Marks are trending mostly in the 6s with some 7s coming in for the half passes.

5:39 Diva’s not wholly relaxed in her trot work, she’s shaking her tail and rushing a little at the start of the test.

5:38 This little mare can go sub-30 in the first phase, but hasn’t managed it yet this season – will this be her time to put her best hoof forward?

5:37 Last before the break we have Alex Bragg and Quindiva for the mare’s second 5*, and Alex’s tenth.

Alex was pretty in pink at the Horse Inspection yesterday, sporting a totally relevant Eventing Collection jacket, with a totally appropriate red flag on his right shoulder and a white one on the left.

Like a lot of the competitors at this year’s wet and wild Badminton edition, this combination retired on course – they’d started out with a 34.3 in this phase.

As her stable name suggests, this mare is a bit of a ‘Diva’, but we all know that with great talent comes big personality!

Career move ⏩ Alex was a farrier before he became a full-time eventer, and shoes all of the Team Bragg horses.

In the club… As a kid, Alex competed in Pony Club mounted games – Alex’s three daughters are all keen Pony Clubbers too!

5:36 Harry Mutch and Shanbeg Cooley score 44.5.

5:34 The potential’s there to see, but they’ve got some useful intel into what to work on over the winter. Jager’s relaxed on the way out of the arena.

5:33 The tension continues in the canter, it’s a bit wobbly and Harry’s staying really calm and collected. This is very much a first at time Burghley type of test. But there’ll be lots of learning going on for both horse and rider.

5:32 Jager’s not really going forward for Harry, who’s riding really sympathetically. The halt and rein back are a bit crooked and Jager puts his head in the air.

5:31 There’s a bit of tension in the trot to start and this nine-year-old seems to be feeling a bit of the atmosphere.

5:30 We’re looking at high-30s, maybe into the 40s here, depending on how hot Jager’s feeling – he’s 5* fit and will be feeling the Burghley atmosphere for the first time. Let’s hope he keeps a lid on all the excitement, at least while he’s in the ring.

5:29 Harry Mutch comes forward next with the first of his two rides, Shanbeg Cooley.

5* first timer! This is a debut at the level for ‘Jager’.

Jager looked total quality as he trotted down the jog strip yesterday. The fact that Harry’s chosen to go first with this nine-year-old shows the confidence he has in this talented fellow.

Harry describes Jager as a “freak” – in the best possible way. He’s a super talented jumper but that exuberance can make the dressage a bit tricky.

‘Divine intervention’? Harry started riding aged 13 by accident. There was a broken down car and a riding lesson booked for his dad, which Harry went to, and the rest is, well, history.

Sport swap 🏉➡️🏇 Harry actually played rugby as a kid and wasn’t interested in horses at all.

It’s in the genes though 🧬 – Harry’s great uncle completed Badminton a number of times.

5:28 Boyd Martin and On Cue score 31.9 and are into third.

5:27 They’re a bit crooked up the center line, and there’s the hint of a resting hind in the halt.

5:26 Things have got a smidge tight in the canter work, but everything’s accurate, just not as soft as it could be. The mare’s late behind in the last change.

5:25 The halt’s a bit abrupt and the rein back happens, but it’ll drop the scores slightly I should think. (We’ve lost the scores on the feed for the time being, sorry.)

5:24 On Cue is showing off all of her elegance throughout her trot work. They’re creating a harmonious picture together in the Burghley Main Arena. Everything is accurate and expressive and a pleasure to watch.

5:23 We’re surely expecting sub-30 here, although she did put down 30.3 at Bromont a couple of weeks ago. What will this talented mare make of Great Britain – and has she brought her winning ways with her? Eyes on. 👀

5:22 Ready? Yo VIP, let’s kick it! 🛀

That’s right, kicking off the American campaign is none other than the ice man himself, Boyd Martin and On Cue for the USA.

It’s no secret that Boyd is partial to a nippy dip, but have you ever wondered where his love of ice baths comes from? Perhaps it’s in the genes 👖 – Boyd’s parents met at the Winter Olympics – his mom competed in speed skating ⛸️ and his dad in cross-country skiing ⛷️- so that’s why he’s so speedy across the country!

He may be the ice man, but he’s on hot form! 🌶️ Boyd won the 2*-L, 3*-L and 4*-S all in one weekend at Bromont in June! He’s had 12 top 3 finishes this season and is currently the top rider on the USEA leaderboard.

On Cue comes forward for her third 5* and first trip overseas 🛬

🥉 🥇 She was 3rd in her debut at the level at Kentucky, then won at Maryland where she posted a 25 in this phase. She’s an exciting talent, that’s for sure.

On Cue takes in Burghley:

5:21 Tom McEwen and Luna Mist go into the lead with 30.5.

5:20 Ideally we’d like a bit more stretch in the stretch circle, but there’s more 7s for the changes which follow and a lovely square halt at the end for another 8. This is a test which has oozed of a partnership between horse and rider.

5:19 There’s an 8 for the transition into canter and lots of 7s for the first two changes.

5:17 Tom’s riding forward and seems to be really going for it and Tuna’s responding. She’s a bit crooked in the rein back but she’s moved into walk nicely and is stepping out for Tom while maintaining the relaxation.

5:16 It’s a beautiful start for this exciting young mare – there’s an 8.5 for the entry!

5:15 Based on form, we’re looking at a sub-30 score here, but this is an inexperienced mare who’s experiencing the Burghley atmosphere for the first time. Let’s see how she likes it.

5:14 Joining us next between the white boards is Tokyo gold and silver medalist, World No. 2 Tom McEwen with Luna Mist.

5* first-timer alert! At just a ten-year-old, this is the mare’s first time at the level. She had a good look ‘round at the First Horse Inspection, just seeing what this 5* stuff’s all about.

🐟 At home, she’s affectionately referred to as ‘Tuna’.

Tom’s had the ride since last season – he describes her as “a proper little fighter”, just what you need in a Burghley horse.

🌟 She was highest placed mare in the 4*-L at Bramham in June.

👟 Tom stays 5* fit through running – in fact, he ran the London Marathon in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK last year.

Meanwhile, in the off-season from eventing…:

5:13 Galileo’s a bit bouncy on the way out of the arena. It’s 33.7 for David Doel and Galileo Nieuwmoed.

5:12 They finish up with a lovely square halt for 7.5, 7.5 and 8.

5:11 The canter work is consistently nice, the half pass is soft and smooth. He tucks his head in rather than out in the stretch circle though, so the marks drop back to 6s.

5:09 Galileo is relaxed in his body but isn’t totally consistent in the contact, which is affecting their marks, which are staying in the 6s on the whole through the trot work. They’ve picked up for the walk though and Galileo’s looking a bit more relaxed now.

5:08 They went sub-30 at Pau in 2021 with a 29.7 in this phase. They haven’t managed it since, but they do mostly stay in the very low-30s, and with his tendency to finish on his dressage, it’ll be very interesting to see what they put down here. 👀

5:07 Next up the center line is David Doel and the striking Galileo Nieuwmoed.

‘Galileo’ looked like he knows he’s fabulous as he strutted his stuff on the jog strip yesterday.

Early talent 🌟 Galileo tackled his first 4* at Le Pin Au Haras as an eight-year-old in 2019 – finishing on his dressage and coming second.

🖐️ This is his fifth 5* start. His first came at Pau in 2021 where he was 15th. A year later he burst onto the Badminton leaderboard, finishing 6th with David the highest-placed Badminton first-timer.

In his last run – at Hartpury, an event that’s considered a good indicator for Burghley success – he was 2nd, finishing on his dressage of 32.6.

Sizzling stat! 🔥 Galileo has finished on his dressage in all of his runs this season.

When it’s cool to be wrong… Initially David didn’t think Galileo was the horse for him ⏩ to today and he admits that Galileo’s “really cool”.

Galileo often looks a little grumpy, but he loves people to stop for a chat and to blow on his nose.

5:06 It’s 34.9 for Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley.

5:05 The final change gets 4s and a 3. They complete with lots of pats for Rich from Wills.

5:04 The scores are picking up in the canter work with more 7s than 6s coming in now. The scores drop a bit for the changes.

5:03 Rich wasn’t really up for standing still and is grinding his teeth at times. He’s performing the walk, but it’s tentative.

5:02 Rich looks quality as he trots round the Burghley Main Arena in the sun. He’s working nicely for Wills and pulling in some 7s. It’s perhaps a bit rushed for the higher marks at the minute.

5:01 They scored 32.4 in the first phase here last year – the gelding’s first 5* – their best dressage score at any level. It was 34.6 at Badminton. How will today’s test compare?

5:00 They were pathfinders at Badminton, they’re third up at Burghley – here’s Scotland-based Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley.

Wills was showing off some Scottish flair on the jog strip yesterday with some natty tartan pants and matching bow tie.

‘Rich’ made his 5* debut last year here at Burghley, where he finished 13th, and he really showed his mettle when he finished 12th at the particularly tough Badminton in the spring. He was 6th last time out – in the 4*-S at Alnwick – very nearly finishing on his dressage of 34.9.

Breeding info: Rich has the same sire and dam sire as Wills’ other ride, Arklow Puissance.

Eventing idol 🤩 As a teenager, Wills worked for Ian Stark, one of his sporting heroes.

Wills made his 5* debut in 2013, but then faced a gap of six years before returning to the level at Badminton in 2019.

In the genes 👖 Wills’ dad and aunt have both completed Badminton.

Rich eyeing up his two biggest fans:

4:59 Oliver Townend and Tregilder score 30.3. Oliver looks a bit upset by the mark, he obviously felt the test had gone a bit better than that.

4:58 Oliver looks happy to have got his Burghley underway and Tregilder’s walking out of the arena looking very relaxed after a nice square halt to finish.

4:56 They’re trending above average in their scores right now, by just a bit. Tregilder breaks into trot for a second in the corner but Oliver’s quick to get things back on track.

4:55 There’s a nice swing in the walk work, which is fluid and of course, Oliver’s riding everything totally accurately. There’s an 8 for the canter transition.

4:53 Oliver and Tregilder are producing a smart test so far. There are lots of 7s coming in. Tregilder is relaxing and in a lovely rhythm.

4:52 We’re expecting a sub-30 score in this phase for Oliver and Tregilder. His best at the level was here at Burghley last year when he posted a 27.5.

4:51 Another rider who’s here triple-handed, British Olympic team gold medalist Oliver Townend gets his Burghley underway with Tregilder.

Oliver looked like a man on a mission at the Horse Inspection yesterday – he was wearing his Tokyo Olympics suit 🥇

Tregilder’s known as ‘Gizmo’ at home – so Oliver will be hoping for a dry few days then ☔ Remember people, no midnight snacks for Gizmo! And please can the photographers turn off all flashes? 🫣

Oliver’s brought Gizmo up through the FEI levels. This is the gelding’s fourth 5*.

He’d jumped a brilliant clear at Burghley last year when he fell a couple of fences from home. Oliver will be looking to put that right here this year.

Hot form! 🌶️ Gizmo comes here straight off a win in the 4*-S at Alnwick – he’s also been 9th at Luhmuhlen 5*, as well as having 3rd and 4th placings this season.

Royal approval 👑 Oliver was awarded an MBE for his services to equestrianism by the late Queen of England in 2022.

Fun fact! Oliver’s mom showed side-saddle.

Oliver contemplates the upcoming task:

4:50 Score for Harry Meade and Away Cruising – 36.5. Note – scores are provisional at this stage.

4:49 And that’s it, the first test of Burghley is done!

4:48 There’s some tension creeping in as the test goes on. Harry’s encouraging the gelding along but there’s a feeling that he could be giving a bit more. The first change is a untidy, but the second is better.

4:47 Away Cruising is working really nicely in the walk work, he softens down in the extended although he’s a bit awkward in the mouth in the canter transition. Lots of 6s and 7s coming in.

4:46 Harry’s off to a lovely start with Away Cruising – he’s looking soft and supple as he gets his Burghley going.

4:45 This phase typically sees them trending in the low 30s – but they managed sub-30 at Badminton with 29. Their last run a couple of weeks ago saw them creep back up again. What will Burghley bring?

4:44 Kicking off the 2023 edition of Burghley with the first of his three rides is Harry Meade with Away Cruising.

This gorgeous gray – known at home as ‘Spot’ – brings forward a wealth of experience, with five 5* completions under his girth.

He finished 16th at Badminton, posting 29 in the first phase – his season’s-best score. His best 5* finish is 6th at Burghley in 2018.

Behind the scenes… At home, Away Cruising loves hacking with Harry’s two children and their ponies.

Hot form 🔥 Harry is currently sitting in second place on the British Eventing leaderboard for cross country jump clears – 51 out of 55 runs this year. He’s also in equal second for show jumping clears.

Not just an event rider… Harry delivered his son at home when baby Charlie refused to wait for the ambulance to arrive. If he decides to hang up his riding boots, perhaps there’s a career as a midwife waiting for him! 🍼

Spot looked well at the Horse Inspection yesterday, showing off his 5* fitness with some frolics – not quite these frolics from a Burghley past though… 🪁:

4:42 Rise ‘n’ shine ENers! It’s here! It’s Burghley! It’s going to be brilliant!
Could I BE any more excited?!
Respect to Stateside eventing superfans who are up and watching.
Let’s do this thing!

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Brace yourselves eventing fans because Burghley starts TODAY! With top-class entries from 11 different nations, including equine and human Olympic gold medalists, Pam-Am gold medalists, World Champions, European Champions, a Rolex Grand Slam winner, the children of Olympic gold medalists, multiple-time 5* winners, and the daughter of parents who both won Burghley, the field is STACKED and we couldn’t be looking forward to a more exciting competition.

The USA’s Burghley hopes come in the form of Boyd Martin (who has two rides), Jennie Saville, Will Faudree, Tiana Coudray and Grace Taylor. As the chilly non-summer continues here in the UK, let’s hope Boyd’s packed something especially cozy to slip into after his ice bath.

All of the action will be broadcast on Burghley TV, which is available as a subscription (£20 per year/approx. $25) that gives you access to the whole event as well as a range of behind the scenes content and the daily round-up show. The Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse Final, judged by Andrew Nicholson, will also be available, as will the awesome Main Arena demonstrations. For die-hard fans, there’s even a comprehensive collection of Burghleys past, which I find handy for feeding my eventing need through the long winter when I’m hunkered down counting the days ‘til the season starts again. Find out how to subscribe here.

The Burghley action trots off today with the first horse inspection starting at 4pm BST / 11am EDT / 8am PDT. Which horses will show off their 5* fitness? How many of them will lock onto the flower decorations as though their lives depend on it? What color will Harry Meade’s pants be? We’ll have the answers to these all-important questions, and more, as Burghley 2023 officially gets underway.

The center line plays its part on Thursday and Friday with all the dressage you can handle starting at 9am BST / 4am EDT / 1am PDT each day. And if all that 5* talent has you feeling inspired to improve your own riding, there’s the chance to learn from some of the best during the Thursday breaks, when we’ll be treated to demonstrations by Yogi Breisner and Dickie Waygood, focusing on how to improve your cross country without having to hire a course, and how to use your dressage training in your cross country lines, respectively. On Friday, Carl Hester and a – as yet unnamed – “superstar equine guest” will grace the Main Arena, and later on, eventers will try their butts at sidesaddle.

Set your reminders to 11am BST / 6am EDT / 3am PDT on Saturday when our Burghley 2023 pathfinder, Britain’s Harry Meade, will kick off what’s sure to be a great day of sport, and when we’ll get to see what horses think about jumping hares. It’s a 9am BST / 4am EDT / 1am PDT start the following day for the final horse inspection, before everything is wrapped up with the show jumping – the morning session starts at 10:30am BST / 5:30am EDT / 2:30am PDT, with the top-24 going at 2:30pm BST / 9:30am EDT / 6:30am PDT.

That’s Burghley, and it’s going to be brilliant!

Keep it locked onto EN – we have all sorts of awesome content headed your way…

Defender Burghley: [Website] [Entries] [Program] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

EN is going eventing Stateside too this week, with the American Eventing Championships happening in Lexington, Kentucky. We’ll be bringing you all you need to know – so stay tuned, and go eventing!

#AEC2023 (Lexington, KY): [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Official Program] [Volunteer] [EN’s Coverage]

U.S. Weekend Preview

#AEC2023 (Lexington, KY): [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Official Program] [Volunteer] [EN’s Coverage]

Bucks County Horse Park H.T. (Revere, PA) [Website]

Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Equestrians’ Institute H.T. (Cle Elum, WA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Seneca Valley PC H.T. (Poolesville, MD) [Website] [Volunteer]

Silverwood Farm Fall H.T. (Trevor, WI) [Website] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

Follow along with us on Instagram TODAY for a takeover from AEC with Liz Halliday, in partnership with Ocala Horse Properties! Liz has a busy day ahead of her, with Miks Master C and Deniro Z getting their competition underway in the Adequan Advanced Final, Shanroe Cooley running cross country in the Intermediate championships, and Newmarket Cooley and Maybach running cross country in the Preliminary Horse championship. Tag along throughout the day over on @goeventing!

Nominations are open for The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year awards. Categories include a Changemaker award celebrating sportswomen who have used their platforms for the greatest good, an award for an outstanding performer in a disability sport, a Team of the Year award, a special award for recognising inspirational endeavor, and more. Here’s your chance to get behind the awesome women equestrians who do horse girls everywhere proud. [Cast Your Votes]

As we gear up for the two great events happening this week, here’s a some essential listening. Eventing Weekly make their Burghley picks in their preview show, and Nicole Brown talks all things AEC in this week’s USEA Podcast. [It’s Burghley Week, Baby!] [AEC Are Go!]

Fancy yourself a bit of a judge as you watch the horses trot-up at the Horse Inspection? Well you can hone your skills with this cool find – an interactive online game which teaches you how to not only assess a horse for lameness, but progresses through levels of difficulty where you get to determine the specific point of lameness and practice on varying degrees of subtlety in the presentation of the problem. (Aside: Turn your volume up before you click on the link.) [And Trot]

And here’s a new resource from Equus with everything you need to know about horse ownership. Designed for new horse owners and people coming back into horse ownership after a break, there’s everything from saddle fitting and finances to farriers and feeding. It’s all laid out so that the information’s easy to access and is just what I’ll need when I finally bring my new baby home after a too-long hiatus from having a horse. [What To Expect… The Horsing Edition]

And whilst we’re on the subject of horsecare, it’s only fitting we cover sheath cleaning, really. If you take on an animal of any kind (or baby human), you’re responsible for meeting its needs. It goes for babies and diapers, and also for boy horses and sheaths. As horse owners, we rely on having a network of experts to deliver the areas of care which are outside our expertise – teeth, feet, and yes, sheaths. Until recently there was little in the way of specific training for this intimate care, and the industry was unregulated. It’s good news then, that Harris Equine Intimate Health Specialists has launched an accredited training program and registered The Equine Intimate Health Foundation as an industry body. [Good News on the Sheath Cleaning Front]

Check out these saddle paintings which are designed to inspire you to “saddle up for your own journey”. Artist Florelle Rodenberg was prompted to put paint to paper by the John Wayne quote, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway”. She’s created a series of saddle paintings about not waiting until you’re ready to show up, but to saddle up right now. [No Time Like the Present]

Sponsor Corner

Graphic via US Equestrian.

Did you hear the news?! Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C, owned by Ocala Horse Properties, were just named to the US Eventing Team for the Pan American Games!

Video Break

Last week I shared the Burghley alternative course walk from a dog’s eye-view and spotted lil’ cutie William keeping up with the big guys as they hared round the course. Well, here’s William enjoying everything Burghley has to offer – from a quick chill with a bottle of Pol Roger, to cajoling a tasty sausage roll from one of the food vendors, and taking an off-road ride in a Defender. William sure knows how to do Burghley.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Having your birthday at an event can go one of two ways really, eventing being the rollercoaster ride that it is.

For Kitty King, who celebrated her day at the European Championships, it was a shiny affair and she came home with gold and silver gifts from Froggy. Felix Vogg had a 32nd birthday to remember when he received his first 5* win at Luhmuhlen with Colero last year.

For the past two years, Piggy March’s big B has coincided with her prep run for the upcoming big B. Last year, she won her Burghley prep event at Hartpury with Vanir Kamira before going on to bring the Burghley victory home. At last weekend’s event, Brookfield Inocent followed in the great Tilly Bean’s hoofprints, winning the 4*-S and making us wonder whether Piggy’s birthday stars are aligning once again as he now heads to Burghley for his second 5*. He was runner up on his debut at the level three years ago – at Pau in 2020; Vanir Kamira was second at Burghley in 2019, winning it three years later – at the next running of the event after the Covid-enforced hiatus in 2020 and 2021. I may be putting two and two together and coming up with some suspect stats which would give EquiRatings the sweats, but I do wonder whether Piggy’s wish as she blew out her birthday candles may have some significance here. Excuse me while I go and read my horoscope.

In case you hadn’t realized, Burghley starts NEXT WEEK! Keep it locked onto EN – we have some awesome content headed your way.

Defender Burghley: [Website] [Entries] [Program] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

And that’s not all! Eventing is dishing up an equally exciting week in the US, with the American Eventing Championships happening in Lexington, Kentucky. EN is beavering away on both sides of the Pond to bring you all you need to know from the AEC too – so go nowhere, and go eventing!

#AEC2023 (Lexington, KY): [Entries/Ride Times/Scoring] [Schedule] [Volunteer] [EN’s Coverage]

U.S. Weekend Preview

MARS Great Meadow International (The Plains, VA): [Website] [Entries] [Tickets] [Schedule/Ride Times] [Scoring] [Live Stream] [Volunteer] [EN’s Coverage]

Shepherd Ranch Pony Club H.T. II (Santa Ynez, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Town Hill Farm H.T. (Lakeville, CT) [Website] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

Alfies Clover is back for another bite at the Burghley apple – can he bring it home for Richard Jones? This will be Alfie’s fifth go at the big B, and after a seventh place finish last year Richard is convinced that he’s got it in him to go even better at this year’s edition. Find out how Team Jones have been counting down to Burghley in their blog. [Keeping Up with the Joneses]

This is a story about adapting your goals in order to truly follow your heart – on the road to the AEC. Young rider Adalena Campisi found her heart horse in the now nineteen-year-old gelding Belmont. They’ve weathered growth spurts and injuries, and Adalena made the wise-beyond-her-years decision to put her goal of moving up the levels on hold so that she could follow her dream of going to the American Eventing Championships with her best friend. [What Dreams Are Made Of]

As we anticipate a week of awesome eventing, here are some pro tips for winning every phase of the three-day. I’ve rounded up Grand Prix dressage rider Silva Martin’s advice for the most effective ways to manage your dressage warm up, Olympic and European gold medalist Andreas Dibowski shares his principles for successful – and safe – cross country riding, and double Olympic champion Ben Maher MBE tells us just how to approach that all-important show jumping course walk. Take note, and go eventing! [First Up, Dressage] [Yey! Cross Country] [The Final Phase]

There’s a lot of talk about tack – from official competition rules to a whole bunch of opinions on what we should/shouldn’t be using with our horses. Enter the endurance rider who has just won the Tevis Cup – a one-day, 100-mile trail ride. His horse, Treasure, completed the entire event with no bit, no noseband, no reins – no bridle. Jeremy Reynolds credits his long-term relationship with Treasure, and the fact that she’s such a wonderful horse, with his ability to communicate with her to such an extent that they only needed a neck rope to work together and win. [Minimalist]

Sponsor Corner

Okay, so all Ocala Horse Properties come with a Bubbles now, right?! Check out this adorable little pony posted by @ocalahorseproperties on Instagram.

Video Break

What’s the next best thing to seeing horses tear up the Burghley cross country course? Watching a bunch of dogs having a barking great time as they go over, under and through the fences, obviously. I’m backing the little guy – William – for the win. With a certain Great British William clocking up no fewer than six plaques on Winner’s Avenue, I feel William may be a lucky name when it comes to Burghley. There’s a Will (Faudree) and a Wills (Oakden) competing there this year – will a Will strike it lucky this time around? We’ll have to wait ‘til next week to find out – in the meantime enjoy this doggy edition of the great event.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

I’ve loved looking through the social media posts following the European Championships last weekend. From the tributes to horses, grooms and owners, to the reflections on things not going to plan, and the celebrations for those who saw all their prep come together at just the right moment, it’s cool that we get to be a part of the eventing journey outside of competition live streams.

Yesterday we shared Ros Canter’s post showing the new European Champion, ‘Walter’ (AKA Lordships Graffalo), congratulating himself on his greatness with a good ol’ roll in his field. Today we have Kitty King’s Vendredi Biats – ‘Froggy’ to his friends – arriving home with his team gold and individual silver medals to find his stall decked out befittingly for ‘simply the best unicorn’.

With two more Olympic spots seized at the Euros, those teams still seeking qualification for Paris will have the chance to add vital points to their tally this weekend in Arville – the penultimate leg of the Nations Cup. Keep up to date with what goes down in Belgium:

Nations Cup CCIO4*-S (Arville): [Website] [Entries/Start Lists/Scoring] [Schedule] [YouTube/CMH.TV]

As it’s National Tell a Joke Day, it would be remiss of me not to gift you a horsey howler. To be or not to be…? That is the equestrian. If you fancy a bit of a giggle, you’ll find the best horse gags right here. Sorry (not sorry).

And whilst we’re acknowledging one national day, it seems only right we raise a glass to National Rum Day also. So, make mojitos and go eventing – just not in that order!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Caber Farm H.T. (Onalaska, WA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Full Gallop Farm August HT (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Volunteer]

Genesee Valley Riding & Driving Club H.T. (Geneseo, NY) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Ocala Summer H.T. II (Ocala, FL) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

The Event at Archer (Cheyenne, WY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Waredaca Farm H.T. (Laytonsville, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Major International Events

Nations Cup CCIO4*-S (Arville): [Website] [Entries/Start Lists/Scoring] [Schedule] [YouTube/CMH.TV]

Wednesday News and Reading

With horses, it’s fair to say that the path doesn’t always run smooth – something AEC entrant Melissa Fox knows all too well. From heartbreaking loss, through injuries to both her and her horse, and even a truck fire on route to a training session, Melissa’s AEC dreams have been put on hold multiple times. But this season, all’s so far so good for Melissa and OTTB Tito Tonight, who’ll be heading to Kentucky to contest the Novice Amateur division. [A Bumpy Ride]

“Do not let your skin color, size, or level of experience hold you back. There is a barn, trainer, and lesson program out there for you.” Chandra Thurman felt completely stuck – she wanted to train in dressage, and knew she had the horse for it, but opportunities were lacking and she faced discrimination over her race and size. She decided to take a leap of faith, and discovered she could fly. [“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet”]

The increasing commitment to the aftercare of OTTBs is encouraging – now we need to consider racing broodmares too. There are a number of organizations working to help rehome these pro moms, who, with their wealth of experience and ‘been there done that’ attitude, are wholly deserving of a fulfilling retirement. [Pro Moms]

We’ve probably all said it, but what does ‘woah’ mean? Horse Journals’ Jec Ballou considers when ‘woah’ really does mean ‘woah’. [Woah, There]

Forget about the Barbie Dreamhouse, the Breyer Horse Headquarters is every horse nerd’s dream. Through the archive room full to brimming with Breyers of all breeds and colors, to the factory where the horses are meticulously molded and accurately airbrushed, take a trip down memory lane with EQ’s Jill Medinger. [Horse Nerd Heaven]

Sponsor Corner

Sara Kozumplik’s biggest goal when buying a farm: finding a peaceful environment for her horses. Of course, it’s not just a facility that creates a peaceful environment for your horses, how you manage that property makes a massive difference in the happiness of the horses as well. Discover Sara’s biggest secret to great farm management: Creating a Peaceful Home for Horses (and please join us in wishing her well after she suffered some injuries in a fall recently! Get well soon, Sara).

Video Break

With Burghley fast approaching, here’s a throwback to a Burghley of yesteryear – namely 1971, when Great Britain’s Princess Anne (whose daughter, Zara Tindall, will be contesting this year’s event) became European Champion.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal has recently become President of the British Eventing Support Trust , a charity which helps riders “deal with the physical and mental health demands placed on them by our sport”.

Find out more about the royal appointment, and Princess Anne’s equestrian career, here.

It’s All About the Ground (Again) and Fence 7’s Got Serious “Burghley Leaf Pit Vibes” – Riders React to European Championships Cross Country

Photo courtesy of Haras du Pin.

With one eye on Paris, the cross country at the Europeans takes on even more significance perhaps than usual – the course designer at Haras du Pin, France’s Pierre Le Goupil will also be designing the Olympic cross country test next year, so not only are the teams fighting it out for European titles, but this is also a valuable fact-finding mission in terms of sussing out the je ne sais quoi of Pierre’s tracks.

But right now, we’re well and truly focused on the European Championships and the 4*-L course that’s sure to be hugely influential in this very exciting competition.

There are 29 numbered fences with 40 jumping efforts. The optimum time is 10 minutes and 14 seconds. There are hills, twists, turns, undulations – and enormous jumps. The first combination comes at 7abc – the first water with a big step that’s giving the current World Champion Yas Ingham “Burghley Leaf Pit vibes”. There are eight combination fences on course which are equally distributed between doubles and trebles. The final combination comes two from home, so riders will have to be on the ball right to the end if they want to avoid picking up any late penalties.

On top of all that, we find ourselves at another event where the ground is dominating the conversations surrounding cross country. Although the first day of dressage took place in glorious sunshine, the weather leading up to the event has been as wet as, well, Britain, and the rain returned on Friday for the afternoon session of dressage. More rain is forecast overnight and into Saturday morning, although it should ease off by the time the first rider sets out on course – let’s keep our fingers crossed. So, it’s fair to say, the ground out on the cross country is holding – there’ll be a lot of stamina needed, and a very fit horse.

The first rider will leave the start box at midday local time – that’s 6am EST / 11am BST – when Sarah Ennis will get Ireland’s campaign underway with Grantstown Jackson.

Belgium’s Cyril Gavrilovic and Elmundo De Gasco head out second, and will be hoping to get off to a secure start in their team campaign for Olympic qualification – the top two as-yet-unqualified teams here this week will book their places for Paris next year.

Third to go is Germany’s Malin Hansen-Hotopp and Carlitos Quidditch K – who’ll be pathfinding for Germany’s bid for European Gold.

Hoping for a home podium place, team France’s Stephane Landois gets going at 12:28pm / 6:28am EST / 11:28am BST with Ride for Thaïs Chaman Dumontceau, who’s riding in honor and memory of his friend, and Chaman Dumontceau’s previous jockey, Thaïs Meheust.

Reigning champs Great Britain are penultimate in the team rotation – Kitty King and Vendredi Biats will get Team GB’s hopes of retaining the title underway at 12:32pm / 6:32am EST / 11:32am BST.

You can watch all of the action on ClipMyHorse.TV (subscription required). Don’t forget to follow EN too – we’ll be bringing you all the insanity in the middle you could possibly need, with Tilly Berendt on site in France and a full team behind the scenes.

#Euros2023: Website | Live Stream | Entries | Startlists and Scoring | EN’s Ultimate Guide | EN’s Form Guide | EN’s Coverage

EN’s coverage of the FEI European Championships for Eventing is brought to you with support from Kentucky Performance Products.

Michael Jung is in the lead with FischerChipmunk FRH going into cross country. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Michael Jung and FischerChipmunk FRH (GER*) – 19.4 – 1st

Leading after the dressage, Michael Jung is just one of the riders talking about the first water complex at 7abc.

“I think it’s a tough course, but it’s a nice course; it’s a good challenge for the European Championship, but it depends a bit on the ground. The first water is always the first challenge. It’s a tough combination with the big drop before as well. But I think it’s really nicely built, I think the mix is very good, and you have always in between the combinations a single fence to get confidence back. Hopefully, we’ll have good ground tomorrow.”

Badminton winners Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo are just under two points behind the dressage leaders. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo (GBR*) – 21.3 – 2nd

The ground is something that’s on all the riders’ minds, although the Brits have had a fair bit of wet weather practice already this season.

“It’s something that the Brits have had to cope with a lot this year, and so we’ve almost been able to override the talk on the ground and things like that. We’ve ridden in this going so many times that hopefully, we can stay in our own bubble and concentrate on our job. We’ve been very positive as a team so far about the course — our course walks have been extremely positive. There hasn’t been too much talk about the things we don’t like, or the ground that we don’t like, and I think that’s really good for team spirit. We feel prepared for the ground, and our course walks have been very positive, so we’ve got good team morale going into tomorrow.

I think the first water, obviously, is a very, very big drop in, so it’ll be interesting to see how they read that. And with Walter [Lordships Graffalo], we are still coming across questions that he hasn’t come across before because of his age [he’s an eleven-year-old], even though he’s done what he’s done already [like, winning Badminton and coming fourth at the World Championships!].

He tends to drift a bit more to the right, so little things like that, certainly, for my personal self, I have to walk the course very much thinking of Walter.

I think it’s more the undulations, the twists and turns that are going to create the challenges at the jumps. It looks very much like a short format, but obviously, you’ve got the length added on to it as well. So it will be mentally and physically quite challenging for the horses and I think that’s where the questions are going to lie. It’s like short format because of the twists and turns, and there aren’t many really long gallops like you’d get, say, at Badminton. There’s probably three where you’ve got a bit of breathing space to actually get down on the next and get the speed up. But when you think, the first three fences are basically on a 360 to a 180, it’s going to be very hard at the start of the course to get into the speed that you really want to be in – sSo I think it’s highly likely that by minute one, you are going to be down on the clock and then there’s going to be ground to make up, so I think it just depends on on if you can claw it back and stay inside the flags.”

Tom McEwen and JL Dublin (GBR) – 22 – 3rd

“I think whether we do have rain or not, it’s soft. I think a lot of it will be made, timewise, in the first few minutes, if I’m really honest. It’s a tough loop, and then you can get into a rhythm.

I think they’ve built a beautiful track – not what I was expecting, but a stunning track. If I wasn’t riding, I’d be quite happy to go and walk around the whole course!

We’ll have to be on it the whole way around. I mean, the corner into water doesn’t happen too often. There’s so many questions out there that you just need to stay on your game, feel where you’re going, and judge where you’re at.”

Laura Collett’s hoping the rain holds off and the umbrellas stay tucked away as London 52’s not too keen on them. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Laura Collett and London 52 (GBR*) – 22.4 – 4th

“I think it’s a proper, proper track, and more like a five-star than a four-star championship track. Dimensionally it’s very big and square – every fence is a big jumping effort. There’s no real letup for the horses, energy wise, and obviously the ground is going to play a massive part with the hills. It’s probably not what we were all expecting – coming to France, you’re expecting a twisty track, with lots of skinnies and arrowheads and angles, but it’s more like a Bramham or a Bicton [UK 4*s]. Hopefully our horses are used to those types of tracks and we can go out and do a good job.

From start to finish you’re going to have to be on your A game. The first water’s a serious test and comes very early, and with a twist – round and round – so you feel like you’re on a roller coaster, which might just confuse the horses a little bit, and never actually get going. So that’s going to be our job – to make sure they’re switched on.

The rain is going to have a huge effect. When we arrived here, the ground was seriously soft. It’s been dry all week, and we were hoping that it would continue to dry and we might have been okay. [Spoiler alert: it’s rained.] But I think it’s going to be a serious factor.”

World Champions Yas Ingham and Banzai du Loir did their dressage in the glorious sunshine on Thursday. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Yasmin Ingham and Banzai du Loir (GBR*) – 23.4 – 5th

“It’s a very interesting track – well-built and beautifully presented – so I’m really looking forward to riding round it. There are some serious questions and I think the ground is the same sort of ground we’ve been dealing with in England – they’ve had a lot of rain here so I’m really hoping that the next few days of dry weather will help with that.

I think there are questions throughout the whole course – which, obviously, at a Championship is what we expect. You definitely get a big shocker at fence 7! You’re jumping off quite a large step – sort of a Burghley Leaf Pit vibe – and then you’re rolling down the hill to quite a large drop into the water, on a nice distance to the skinny in the water. That’s quite an intense part of the course very early on. Once we get that behind us, we can really get going and get into a rhythm.

Pratoni [where Yasmin and Banzai du Loir became World Champions last year] was very, very undulating and twisty. I think this track brings similar sort of vibes to that. It’s undulating and twisty, but it’s very big and bold out there. There’s lots of quite big ditches and brushes and everything dimensionally is quite big, so I’m very lucky to be sat on an excellent jumping horse. That is definitely a good thing!”

Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift haven’t had a cross country penalty since 2019 – fingers crossed their form continues! Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift (GBR) – 25.7 – 6th

“I’m excited! I think it’s a really good course – I think it really suits him [Capels Hollow Drift], and his way of going. The ground is going to be a big factor, but it’s given me a bit of confidence knowing that he dealt with that quite well at Badminton earlier in the year.

I think the problems are generally quite spread out throughout the track – I think we’re going have to be careful with tired horses towards the end of the course – so that always means that anything is a factor, especially if this rain keeps going.” [It has.]

Kitty King and Vendredi Biats (GBR*) – 27.2 – 9th

“I’ve got a job to do going first for the team, and hopefully I’ll put in a good score to get us going and fill them with confidence.

It’s going to be a tough track. It’s very twisty and hilly and the ground’s obviously fairly soft, so it’s going to be a good stamina test, and there’s lots of questions right to the very end so you’re going to have to stay on your game. I’d say it’s kind of a cross between a Bramham and a Luhmühlen – Bramham dimensions and terrain and Luhmühlen twistiness. Froggy’s [Vendredi Biats, as he’s known to his buddies] done well at both [winning Bramham in 2019 and taking second at Luhmuhlen this season] so I’m hoping that will set us in good stead. It’s a great track and I’m looking forward to Saturday.”

Christoph Wahler and Carjatan S round out the top 10 going into cross country. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Christoph Wahler and Carjatan S (GER*) – 28.3 – 10th

“The course looks big – I think it’s a really proper test. So far it looks like we are now becoming more and more lucky with the weather, so the ground might be drying a little bit [this was earlier in the week – it took a downturn on Friday with a fair bit of rain falling]. That would make life much easier for the horses, but it’s still going to be very demanding on the fitness side with the hills and some big jumps – even until the end you have a good top spread. You have a proper cross country test on Saturday.”

He’s another rider who’s noted that fence 7abc is particularly tricky: “The first water is coming quite early in the course and it looks very big to me. Also, the step going downhill before the first water – I know that some horses had some issues there last year. If you can get through there, then it becomes more rhythmic with more flowing lines, and you also have more gallop stretches, but until the first water it’s going to be hard work keeping the horses focused.”

Andy Heffernan and Gideon (NED*) – 29 – 15th

As well as going as pathfinder for the Netherlands, Andy is also coach to the team, so he had two hats on (so to speak) when he walked the course.

“I love the track, actually. That’s the first thing – everybody, I think, is quite quick to be negative. I think it’s a really super championship track. I actually work in the UK with [course builders] Dom Moore and Jump 1 and they have done the job that I expected them to do, which is fantastic. Pierre has done an amazing job as a designer and he’s come up with some really unique and fun ideas. If you have a good ride ‘round it, it will be fun.

My concern is that it’s quite hilly and, although the weather is quite pleasant now, I think the damage to the ground has already been done and I don’t think it will dry out, so I think it’s going to ride quite holding and be tiring.”

Giovanni Ugolotti and Swirly Temptress (ITA*) – 30.6 – 18th

“She’s [Swirly Temptress] a very bold mare, but she’s probably never been to such an undulating kind of course. I think I need to be quite careful not to set off too quick and just see where we are after five or six minutes and then decide if I actually go a bit slower or a bit faster.”

Malin Hansen-Hotopp and Carlitos Quidditch K (GER*) – 31.5 – 20th=

And how does the European Championships track compare to last year’s Haras du Pin Nations Cup course?

Malin and Carlitos Quidditch K finished just outside the top 10 here last year and remembers the notorious first water well: “The first water [fence 7abc] was really tough then, and I think it’s the same this year.”

Lara de Liedekerke-Meier and Hermione d’Arville are hoping to help secure Team Belgium their Olympic spot this weekend. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Lara de Liedekerke-Meier and Hermione D’Arville (BEL*) – 31.9 – 24th

“I like the course because it’s really attacking. You really feel that it’s clear for the horses, there’s no nasty corner or angles to tricky things – I think it’s just really straightforward. But you need stamina; you need fit horses. I think the ground’s going to be quite loose – the sun is shining [it was then – now, not so much] but I don’t know how much it’s going to dry off.”

Joseph Murphy and Calmaro (IRE*) – 32.5 – 47=

Ireland’s Joseph Murphy is another rider contemplating the tricky water complex at 7abc. He told Irish Eventing Times:

“Fence 6 leads us down to the drop step at 7a. There’s a stride pattern of five strides down to the angled brush into the water with a very severe drop. I think the important thing here is to make sure your horses are balanced – it comes up very early, they’re still going to be fresh, they’re going to be looking around, there’s going to be big crowds. I think the important thing is, you come down here in a really good balance towards the middle of this fence – don’t make it too complicated at this stage. Just in the air then, you’re thinking about the red on c, landing, and moving to the skinny on three strides. This could be an influential fence, because it’s so early in the course, and there’s going to be a lot more water in there so it’s going to be exciting on Saturday morning.”

So it you’re crazy enough to be tempted to build something similar at home and have a go, that’s how you ride it! (Please don’t, unless you’re 100% sure it’s a good idea.)

And what does he think of the rest of the course?

“They’ve used a lot of brush this time, which I wasn’t expecting – that in itself makes everything bigger and the horses get higher. The course is beautifully built. It looks on the difficult side. The ground looks like it could be testing come the weekend, so that’ll play a big part in what happens on cross country day.”

The ground is something all the riders are talking about too. Joseph walked the course earlier in the week, but Haras du Pin has had some rain since then.

“You can walk round in a pair of trainers [AKA sneakers for our US readers] and you’re walking on top of it, but you can feel a sponge underneath you. From the little bit of work that we have done on our canter work in preparation over the last couple of days, it feels soft under foot. With a few days sun it’s going to help it every day, but we’ll probably need to be prepared for testing type conditions.

Definitely you’ll need a fit horse, also you need a horse with a very good attitude that wants to keep trying, because every time we turn a corner we have to travel up another hill – that tests the horse’s mentality and the rider’s mentality if they want to get to the end.

It’s going to be a great day of sport.”

We certainly don’t disagree there!

So, boots on and pony up – it’s time to kick on and allez eventing!

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

This little lady is bang on trend with her Barbie boots and Team GB shirt. Photo by Cheg Darlington.

It’s National Women’s Day today and this little lady (now not so little) is a young woman who inspires me every day.

I was sorting through my s**t show of a spare room when I came across this throwback photo, which dates back twenty years but is totally relevant today – with the European Eventing Championships trotting off this afternoon (I’ll be rooting for all the teams, but especially Team GB), and Barbie taking the world by storm, becoming the only movie solely directed by a woman to hit $1billion in the box office (notice the pink Barbie riding boots – this lil’ lass is clearly a girl ahead of her time).

EN will be bringing you ALL of the Euros action, so stay tuned as we saddle up for a team battle that sure looks set to be AWESOME!

Check out Tilly’s Ultimate Guide for everything you need to know and read up on the form in the Team Guide . Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for our team picks to see what the EN camp makes of the competition – coming soon!


The Mongol Derby rages on and I’m loving riding along with this awesome adventure. From the cowboy who keeps losing his horses, the leaderboard climb of ‘Team Pak’, and the tumbles and kicks, to the Mongolian culture and hospitality, it’s well worth a follow. Being partial to a pony (having stayed the size of a teenager), I’m so impressed by the little horses – they’re gutsy and tough and look like SUCH FUN!

Find out how to join the ride and catch up with race updates.

Fun fact of the week… ‘Giddyup’ in Mongolian is ‘choo choo’.

So, choo choo and go eventing!

U.S. Weekend Preview

Fair Hill International Recognized H.T. (Elkton, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Otter Creek Summer H.T. (Wheeler, WI) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

WindRidge Farm Summer H.T. (Mooresboro, NC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Woodside Summer H.T (Woodside, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Major International Events

#Euros2023: Website | Live Stream | Entries | Live Scores | EN’s Ultimate Guide | EN’s Coverage

Wednesday News & Reading

The end of August sees the eventing calendar getting very exciting – and you can be part of the action by volunteering at the American Eventing Championships. As well as getting up close and personal with all of the excitement of the event, you’ll also get a swag bag of goodies (including cookies for your equine friends), the chance to feature on the USEA website and have your hours count towards the Volunteer Incentive Program. [Mini Break in Lexington, Anyone?]

And on the other side of the Pond, Burghley has announced the official charity for this year’s event. Horatio’s Garden works with spinal injury centers to provide accessible gardens for patients and their families, making a huge impact on wellbeing and rehabilitation. Burghley Director, Martyn Johnson, acknowledges the importance of charities such as Horatio’s Garden in the riding community: “Rehabilitation after spinal injury is something all riders support, and Horatio’s Garden provides wonderful sanctuaries for patients to escape from the intensity of hospital life”. Follow @horatiosgarden to find out more about their work. [Supporting Spinal Injury]

Continuing our travels, how about a little je ne sais quoi à Paris? We know all eyes will be on the equestrian splendor on offer if you’re lucky enough to be traveling to France for next year’s Olympics, but when the horses aren’t on show, how about a little sightseeing in the City of Love? From the best places to stay, to the tastiest things to eat, FEI has pulled together the ultimate Paris travel guide especially for equestrians. [A Ride ‘Round Paris]

I’m a big fan of the smile (I once moved house because no one in my street ever smiled) – so I’m delighted to discover that horses appreciate this most friendly of facial expressions too. The bond between horse and rider is all important, we know that – particularly in eventing, it’s something we talk about all the time. But do you know how to reinforce that bond? As well as looking at training methods, this article considers a study which found that horses respond better to humans who smile more than they scowl. Horses were shown photos of humans and, upon meeting said humans a few hours later, clearly remembered which were smiling in the photo and which looked more menacing. So, turn those corners up and keep on smilin’. [Turn That Frown Upside Down]

AI meets equines in this playful and creative collection of colorful images. Photographer Rachel Hulin explains how she uses today’s technology to capture her love for horses in unusual ways – sometimes more unusual than she had in mind: “There are glitches that I edit out; a horse will have five legs, for example!”. A fifth leg would come in handy when you’re squirreling through a cross country combination, so perhaps the tech is onto something with that one. [Thoroughly Modern Horses]

From the ultra-modern to the prehistoric – the iconic Uffington chalk horse is shrinking and needs a little fattening up. The famous white horse has been a feature of the Oxfordshire countryside since at least 1380, but it’s been slowly shrinking since the 1980s. A team of archaeologists will be working on restoring this iconic equine to its former fatness in order to preserve it for many more centuries to come. Find out about all of Britain’s chalk horses in this archive article from Horse and Hound. [All The White Horses]

Sponsor Corner

A gorgeous custom home located on 12 acres, complete with a barn, just 20 minutes from WEC. What else could you need? This setup would be perfect for an equestrian who wants to combine luxurious living, while keeping their horses in their backyard.

Visit Ocala Horse Properties for more info.

Video Break

Talking of inspirational women…

Here’s a throwback to the European Championships in Avenches, 2021, when Great Britain’s women riders took the podium with a 1-2-3 for Nicola Wilson, Piggy March and Sarah Bullimore.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

The Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing gets underway on Friday for a special 40th anniversary edition.

Held in the grounds of Princess Anne’s house, this spectacular show always attracts a whole host of top riders and this year is no different. Last year’s winner Tim Price will be trying to retain his title, but with Piggy March, Pippa Funnell, Tom McEwen, Oliver Townend, Emily King, Zara Tindall and SO MANY MORE entered, it’ll be all to play for.

The big class at the event is the Magic Millions British Open Championship, which first ran in 1986 when Bruce Davidson and JJ Babu brought home the victory for the U.S.

You can follow all the action on H&C+ (with a subscription). Find out more here.

Festival of British Eventing [Website] [Entries] [Timetable] [Live Stream] [Live Scores]


The Mongol Derby is under starters orders and is kicking off today!

Find out how to ride along with this awesome event here.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Area VII Young Rider Benefit H.T. at Caber Farm (Onalaska, WA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Catalpa Corner Charity Horse Trials (Iowa City, IA) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

Cobblestone Farms H.T. II (Dexter, MI) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Early Bird Summer Event at Galway Downs (Temecula, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Hoosier Horse Trials (Edinburgh, IN) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Huntington Farm H.T. (South Strafford, VT) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

Olney Farm Horse Trials (Joppa, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

River Glen Summer H.T. (New Market, TN) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Spring Gulch H.T. (Highland, CO) [Website] [Volunteer]

Wednesday News and Reading

Elisa Wallace has a couple of great opportunities at her farm in Reddick, FL. She’s got on-site leases for two of her mustangs on offer as well as lessons in exchange for some part-time work. Both opportunities are beginner-friendly and quite frankly, I’m checking flights from the UK to Florida right now. [See You There]

Piggy March wants to know if anyone has a photo of her and Tilly taking a dip in Badminton Lake in 2018. Not our Tilly (which is what I first thought when I read the post and wondered just what goes on at the cocktail party) – Piggy’s Badminton and Burghley winner Vanir Kamira AKA Tilly Bean. [Did You Catch the Splash?]

Jessie Phoenix has shared the cutest news about what her Pam Am gold medalist and World Championships horse Pavarotti has been getting up to in his retirement. He’s completed his first cross rail class with a very lucky little rider. [Still On Song]

Someone’s Burghley dreams are about to come true… Applications are open to take part in a Yogi Breisner masterclass. A ride round the main arena at Burghley anyone? [Eventing Dreams]

Ooh la la! It’s less than a year ‘til Paris – and Team GB are on the hunt for mascots. Do you know an Olympic-crazy kid between the ages of 5 and 11? Find out how to apply for them to join Team GB at the Paris 2024 Games. [Mini Mascots]

For Sale: Dappled gray schoolmaster – very spooky. This is a for real auction prospect with a precautionary note included in the catalog: “The vendor’s [great] grandfather was a trance medium/ghost hunter in the 1940s, and the horse was used for séances”. OK, so it’s not an actual living horse (or is it?) but if you fancy a punt on this haunted rocking horse, you’ll probably want the Winchesters and Mystery Inc. on speed dial. [Something Strange]

What’s it like to be part of the eventing “tribe” as the owner of a top event horse? Most importantly, fun, according to Patricia Vos, one of the owners of Phillip Dutton’s 5*, Olympic and World Championships ride, Z. There have been ups and downs, celebrations and commiserations, but when you’re surrounded by an “odd little group of people singularly obsessed with this somewhat obscure sport of eventing”, you know you’re in for one hell of a ride. [Owner Spotlight]

Sponsor Corner

15 acres practically next door to WEC? Sign me up! This 15-acre Ocala horse farm features two barns, a riding arena, round pen, and Eurosizer.

Find out more.

Video Break

The dressage display at the Festival of British Eventing in 2018 included a rather unorthodox special guest – Wallace the mule.

Abandoned in Ireland and rescued by the Donkey Sanctuary, Wallace not only found a home when Christie Mclean took him on, but a career too – in dressage.

After some initial queries over his eligibility, Wallace is now fully registered with British Dressage.

Check him out strutting his stuff in the main arena at Gatcombe Park:

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

It’s National Ice Cream Month so here’s David Doel, a 5* eventer with a side hustle selling ice cream – just one of the titbits I fed my husband in his comprehensive guide to all things eventing/horses. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

My non-horsey husband’s summer break from work started on Saturday, which obviously called for a glass (or four) or something suitably celebratory, which inevitably led to me talking about horses for an hour (or four).

It’s no secret that I am unwillingly without horse and that I want one (or more) badly. (Definitely more.)

About halfway into my horsey musings, my husband asked, “When we actually do have horses, will this increase or decrease?”. I had to laugh at his naivety.

I’m yet to test out my husband on an actual horse.

He failed the cat test early on by claiming to be allergic, but then a stray moved in with us and seven cats later he’s a legitimate TikTok #catdad.

He can name more 5* eventers than I can name soccer players, reads almost everything I write for EN and does appear to listen when I get down and dirty with form and stats in my excitement during the lead-up to a big event – so there’s every hope that when I finally pull a horse out of the bag he’ll do OK.

After 20 years together it’ll be a real shame if I have to cut him loose – let’s hope he’s as allergic to horses as he is cats, otherwise it may be a case of ‘til horse do we part.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Millbrook H.T. (Millbrook, NY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Hunt Club Farms H.T. (Berryville, VA) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Major International Events

FEI Eventing European Championships for Ponies (Le Mans, France): [Definite Entries]

Burgham International (United Kingdom): [Website] [Entries/Timing/Scoring] [Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

Dive into the world of eventing breeding, specifically the Heraldik line – a horse who’s widely heralded as eventing’s greatest sire. With progeny including Michael Jung’s Olympic champion La Biosthetique – Sam and superstar Fischerchipmunk Frh, Ingrid Klimke’s team gold medalist Frh Butts Abraxxas and Tim Price’s Burghley third-placer Vitali, among many, many more, Heraldik is thought to be eventing’s most successful sire. Read up on his humble beginnings, his mixed bag of a career, and how he ended up as super-sire to the eventing world. [Who’s The Daddy?]

And talking of making babies, Kentucky 4* winner Hot Bobo is going to become a mom via embryo transfer. Karl Slezak and the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare were the only combination to finish on their dressage when they came home Kentucky 4*-S champions in the spring with the lowest finishing score in the history of the event. With international show jumper Combina as a sire, this Bobo baby is sure to be a hot prospect for its lucky owners. [Hot Bobo Baby]

When William Key, a former slave and self-trained vet, bred his rescued Arab mare with a Standardbred stallion, he was hoping for a racehorse – instead he got the smartest horse in the world. An unimpressive, sickly colt who was named after the town drunk, Jim began with opening the gate and stealing apples. But then he started learning tricks from the dog and his owner decided to see what else Jim could do. Seriously, this horse could spell, do math, tell time, use a phone, faint on command… the list goes on. And the most impressive thing – he was trained using only patience and kindness, no whip needed. [Get That Horse a Cookie]

And on the subject of training horses to do cool things – wouldn’t it be handy to know for sure whether your horse is feeling too hot or too cold? Well, the guessing game may be over as researchers have successfully trained horses to tell their owner whether they’re feeling a bit chilly and would appreciate a cozy blanket, or whether they’re good without right now. Being researchers, they didn’t stop at the training phase. They tested their theory in different conditions and found that when it was warm and sunny, all the horses asked for their blanket to be removed. Likewise, when it was damp and rainy, the horses chose to keep their blankets on. It was concluded that owners tend to over-blanket and that horses would prefer to go without more often than we let them. The team are now working on a study of turnout preferences. [Talking Horses]

Here’s a solution to the no more space in the barn dilemma. The Sims 4 now has a Horse Ranch add-on. As well as enjoying graphics inspired by the American West, you can fill your ranch with horses, mini goats and sheep. You get to muck stalls, harvest hay, and ride on down to the bar in town for a spot of line dancing. There’s even an equestrian park for training purposes. Oh, and there are foals! The project is a collaboration between The Sims team and sensitivity reader Stacey Parshall Jensen, who has ensured that all the details included in the game reflect elements of Native American culture authentically. [Pony Up and Play]

And finally, Harry Styles takes to horseback for his latest music video. After just 20 minutes in the saddle (in his entire life), Harry manages to look effortlessly stylish as he stares down the camera mid-rear. Of course he does. [Harry’s Stylish on Horseback] [Watch the Video]

Sponsor Corner

Excuse me while I wipe the drool off of my face after watching this reel from Ocala Horse Properties 🤤 Only 20 minutes away from WEC, this property features a 20 stall barn, 19 paddocks, and a jumping AND dressage arena. It’s an eventer’s dream!

Video Break

So this is something…

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

No, it’s not April. Yes, this is a real thing.

Horse Lovers Math brought this crazy/hilarious/weird/ingenious service to my attention this week.

How much more fun will vacation time be if you know that every time someone emails you while you’re ‘out of office’, a horse taps out a response on a giant keyboard on your behalf?

Seriously, this is a real thing.

And you get to pick which horse best suits your PA needs.

Are you after a fast typer who’s likely to nap on the job?
Or perhaps an assertive, efficient worker with shiny hair?
Maybe you require a friendly sort who’s trained in corporate buzzwords.

Take your pick. Like I said, this is real.

As well as obviously being fun, behind the initiative there’s a serious message about work-life balance and truly switching off from the office whilst you’re on vacation.

So, ‘OutHorse Your Email’ and relax in the comfort of knowing an Icelandic pony is trotting out those out of office replies on a giant keyboard for you while you indulge in whatever vacation shenanigans take your fancy.

Seriously, I am so tempted to set this up not just for vacation time, but as my automatic response.

Want to find out how to ‘OutHorse’ your email?
Pick your pony here.

Just how do you train a horse to type? And how big does the keyboard have to be? Satisfy your curiosity with this short video:

U.S. Weekend Preview

The Event at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, MT) [Website] [Entries/Times/Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Applewood Farm YEH & Mini Event (Califon, NJ) [Website] [YEH Ride Times] [Mini Ride Times]

Course Brook Farm Summer H.T. (Sherborn, MA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Full Moon Farms H.T. (Finksburg, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials II (Allentown, NJ) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

Silverwood Farm Summer H.T. (Trevor, WI) [Website] [Scoring]

Major International Events

CCIO4*-NC-S (Nations Cup) (Avenches, Switzerland) [Website] [Entries] [Program] [Live Stream]

Wednesday News and Reading

We all know it’s red on the right, white on the left – but what about the other markers on course? When they’re flashing past you at gallop-speed, it’s really important you’re totally on it with what’s what. Refresh your flag knowledge with this reminder from USEA. [Insanity in the Middle]

I would hack 1000 miles, and I would hack 1000 more… Not only has this rider taken on the Man V Horse race this year, he’s also hacked 1000 miles. Fitting in riding around his 12-hour work shifts, Mike Mills has managed to squeeze in 236 hours and 19 minutes of hacking to complete the #Hack1000Miles challenge. And who better to spend all that time with than your best friend? [Meet Mike and his Best Mate Bali]

Extinct in the wild since the 1960s, takhi horses once more roam the Mongolian steppes, but are they truly the wild horses they once were? This short TED-Ed animation takes a look at the complex story surrounding the takhi horse project, exploring questions about conservation, zoos and whether today’s takhi horses are truly takhis. [The Bigger Picture]

Did you know that playing country music to your horse increases the amount of time they spend eating? Jazz, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. For today’s science supplement, we’re taking a look at the effect of sound on horses. We all know horses are super sensitive to sudden loud noises, but life on the farm can produce a cacophony of sounds – some of which humans can’t hear but horses are all too aware of. Research suggests that sound is certainly something we should be looking at when it comes to welfare. [Sound Therapy]

Learn all about helping your horse deal with spooky things, and the all important emergency stop. This clearly explained five-step technique focuses on turning your horse’s fear into curiosity. Horses are going to notice the ghost in the bushes, it’s hardwired into their DNA, and it’s our job as riders to learn how to help our horses out when they’re spooked. This step-by-step guide shows you exactly what to do when your horse spots a spook, so that you can help him deal with his fear in a healthier way than running away. And if the all-out bolt does happen, there’s also clear instructions for how to perform an emergency stop. [It’s a G-G-G-Ghost]

You’re not a ‘real rider’ until you’ve fallen off x amount of times. That’s what I was told when I was starting out, and, taking this advice literally, I had a good go at adding to my tally at every possible opportunity. I even had a dog-eared list detailing what happened, when and why – the last entry resulting in a broken shoulder and a wing-shaped bruise stretching from my eyebrow to my heel. We’ve all heard the saying about getting back on the horse, but in some cases, it’s easier said than done. I did get back on – with a lead line and my arm in a sling, I gingerly walked round the field. Then I got off and went back to my trusty pony, who was infinitely more naughty than the OTTB I’d fallen off, but I knew him and loved him and so felt safe. We all have our own ways of dealing with confidence crises, here are some that Heels Down Mag has collected. [Back in the Saddle]

Sponsor Corner

When 5* rider Sara Kozumplik started farm shopping with Ocala Horse Properties, what was on her must-have list? Number one: a peaceful setting.

“The number one thing was a good property for the horses, a peaceful property, not on a busy road,” Sara said.

Read more 👉 Creating a Peaceful Home for Horses with Sara Kosumplik.

Video Break

It’s just over six weeks ‘til Burghley (cue my crazy Burgley’s coming dance)!

In this teaser reel (we can’t wait for the full film!), Piggy March and Vanir Kamira take a trip along Winner’s Avenue and discover a very special plaque.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

The final leg of the Baton of Hope tour took place in London last weekend and event riders were in the saddle showing their support.

Olympic gold medalist Oliver Townend, 5* rider and mental health advocate Mollie Summerland and Eventing Performance Manager Richard Waygood rode from Wellington Arch to Horse Guards Parade with The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment as they carried the baton towards its final destination of the Houses of Parliament.

Baton of Hope is intended to “encourage necessary, open conversations” about suicide awareness and prevention. Riders Minds, an online resource dedicated to supporting the mental health and well-being of equestrians, is a partner to the Baton of Hope, and played a major part in the ridden leg of the London route.

Mollie Summerland has shared her own stories of mental health via her social media channels; she told British Equestrian: “It’s really important that we’re here today, and to be able to talk about a topic that needs to be raised, have more awareness of and be spoken about more. To be able to ride through the streets of London and play a small part in helping suicide prevention – I hope it shows that even in the darkest times, there is hope and they are not alone.”

Find out more about Baton of Hope and Riders Minds, and read the full story here.

U.S. Weekend Preview

Champagne Run at the Park H.T. (Lexington, KY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Larkin Hill H.T. (North Chatham, NY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

The Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy Farm (Adamstown, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Major International Events

Haras de Jardy (FEI Nations Cup) (France): [Website] [Timing & Scoring] [Schedule]

Wednesday News and Reading

For the first time in ten years (!!), Horses Inside Out is coming to the US. Using painted horses, the lecture-demo will teach you all about musculoskeletal anatomy, posture, and the effects of saddlery and riders on our horses. It’s perfect for equine pros and amateurs alike, and it starts today at Morven Park. [Don’t Miss Out]

Aiming for the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships? Then US Eventing wants your story! Between August 29th and September 3rd, Kentucky Horse Park will host divisions from Beginner Novice right through to Advanced, and US Eventing will be warming us up with stories of some of the competitors. Fancy being part of the action? Send your 800-1200 word stories to [email protected] before Friday July 21st. [In Your Own Words]

Science and stats meet eventing as proposals are put forward to increase safety in our high-risk sport. Research into cross country falls, fence and course design and overall risk factors has concluded in four evidence-based recommendations for how eventing can be made safer for both horses and riders. Covering qualification criteria, risk-profiling of horses and courses, and a disqualification limit on dressage scores, the proposals are said to be “actionable and achievable interventions” that will “improve welfare, whilst also helping to protect the social license to operate for the sport”. [Safety In Numbers]

They say ‘a change is as good as a rest’ (or ‘a spell’ if you’re Aussie, apparently) and it turns out this is true for horses too. We’ve all hit a plateau in our gym work (or perhaps have heard that that’s a thing if you’re not of the gym-going variety). Progress seems to stall, which is frustrating, and boredom lurks just around the corner. But did you know that a repetitive routine for horses can also lead to tiny injuries accumulating? Yes, repetition is important when we’re training horses, but too much of something – no matter how good it may be – is generally a bad thing (for sure this is true for tequila and chocolate cake). So, is the answer a rest day? Not necessarily. Here are some useful ideas for how to engage your horse in ‘active rest’ (think body builder taking a day off the weights to enjoy a little yoga, for example). [Changing Things Up]

Ah, Pony Club Camp – do I have some tales to tell..! My camp experiences happened in Kenya as part of the Nairobi Pony Club. They involve horses being spooked by waterbuck, galloping alongside zebra, and long-drop toilets you should definitely never look down. Horse and Hound have gathered together some of their best memories and want you to share yours too. [What Happens at Pony Camp…]

And finally, a farewell to the planet’s biggest rocking horse. The 5,500 pound giant has been tethered in Innisfil, Ontario since 2008, but the land it stands on is being used for road development and the enormous cost of moving the wooden equine means that its destined to be demolished. [Rock-a-Bye]

Sponsor Corner

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C, owned by Ocala Horse Properties and Debby Palmer, had a fantastic run at CHIO Aachen that helped Team USA secure a silver medal in the SAP Cup. Relive the moment with this video from Liz’s Instagram.

Video Break

Inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2022, Lipizzaner horses date all the way back to 1580.

Lipica, in Slovenia, is the largest Lipizzaner stud in the world, and is home to more than 300 of these gorgeous white horses.

Fun fact: Lipizzaners are born dark and lose their color as they mature.

Learn more about these awesome horses, the people who care for them, and the riders who work with them on their impressive repertoire of skills in today’s video break, and read all about this historical stud here.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Maryland International Horse Trials gets underway this week and Equestly is offering spectators the chance to walk Ian Stark’s 4*-S course with international 5* event rider, Ema Klugman.

Not only that, if you let them know you’re going by commenting on the Instagram post above, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a $100 Equestly gift card. For added temptation we’ve included a link to their range of riding clothing here.

The course walk is meeting at the start box at 6pm local time on Friday July 7th.

Ema, who’s based in Maryland and rides for Australia, will be piloting RF Redfern round the 4*-S, and rides Slieve Callan Alpha in the 3*-S. A truly international rider, Ema’s riding journey began in Nairobi, Kenya, as did my own. Being considerably longer in the tooth than Ema, our paths won’t have crossed, but it’s cool to think that a future professional eventer followed my pony’s hoofprints as she hacked through the tea and coffee plantations.

The Maryland International + Horse Trials (Adamstown, MD) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

U.S. Weekend Preview

Arrowhead H.T. (Billings, MT) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Huntington Farm H.T. (South Strafford, VT) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

Genesee Valley Hunt H.T. (Geneseo, NY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Masterson Equestrian Trust YEH/NEH Qualifier (Lexington, KY) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Redefined Equestrian Horse Trials (Fort Collins, CO) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Summer Coconino HT and Western Underground, Inc. TR,N,BN 3 Day Event (Flagstaff, AZ) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

Also joining the Aachen retirement party, HH Azur is stepping back from show jumping. McLain Ward has paid tribute to his superstar 17-year-old mare, ‘Annie’, in a touching post shared on his social media. [Hope Your Tissues are Handy]

Meet MSJ Glamourstyle – you’re thinking that name rings a bell, right? Charlotte Dujardin and Lottie Fry’s dressage rides – Mount St John Freestyle and Glamourdale – have had a baby! The little filly was born in April via embryo transfer, and if genes have anything to do with it, in a few years she’ll be piaffing across the ring just like her mom and dad. [When I Grow Up…]

It’s the 40th anniversary of the Festival of British Eventing this year and the organizers are looking for stories to include in the special edition program. When choosing a wedding date, my main concern was that it would be something I would be unlikely to forget in the years that followed, to prevent my husband from ever getting one up on me in the marriage game. So I chose the date I got my first pony, Barnaby. It’s relevant then (to me), that the Festival of BE chose a throwback shot of Pippa Funnell (then Nolan) riding Sir Barnaby in 1990 for their recent social media post calling for fans to take part in their anniversary celebrations. We haven’t made it to 40 years yet, but because of Barnaby I’ve never forgotten to get my husband a card. [Tell Your Gatcombe Tales]

We hear the phrase ‘fit to compete’ a lot during a horse inspection, but what does it actually mean? Turns out, it’s not so clear even to vets. Researchers in Austria have concluded that, worryingly, the phrase is as vague to vets as it is to us, and have suggested that a clearer definition of what it really means for competition horses is needed. In a study of 172 equine vets, it was noted that ‘Over 20% of the study participants indicated that situations where owners presented competition horses with low-grade lameness occurred often or very often’. It certainly seems like clearer guidance is needed to get everyone on the same page. [Sound, or Fit to Compete?]

Jockey Hollie Doyle rode three winners at Royal Ascot a couple of weeks ago – but in the early days not everyone wanted “this little girl” to ride for them. Attitudes to women is something I’ve been acutely aware of ever since I was kneehigh to a pony and scrapping it out amongst five male siblings. It’s bad enough being excluded from a game of garden football because of your sex, but when it extends to the workplace, that’s a whole other ball game. Trainer Archie Watson explains why he’s glad he didn’t share the same mindset as the owners who moved their horses because they weren’t happy with the sex of his stable jockey. [I Informed You Thusly]

OTTBs show up in all sorts of disciplines once they leave the track, but how do you tell which career will suit which horse? Danielle Montgomery has been matching Thoroughbreds to second careers for the past eight years, and knows all about tapping into a horse’s potential. From looking at the physical body, to all the nuances of a horse’s brain, Danielle explains her process in this interesting write-up from the Retired Racehorse Project. [Careers Advice]

Sponsor Corner

Why start from scratch when you can purchase a property that’s already producing income? This 42 acre Ocala property features a total of 40 stalls, 17 RV hook-ups, and a brand new jumping arena.

Click here to find out more.

Video Break

As well as Ludger Beerbaum’s surprise announcement, and the retirement of McLain Ward’s HH Azur, Aachen held a special retirement ceremony for one of eventings greats, where Hale Bob OLD was given the star treatment he so richly deserves.

Take a trip with Ingrid and Bobby round the the European Eventing Championships in Avenches in 2021 where, as well as getting all gooey over those pricked ears, we get a lesson in everything from keeping up with your minute markers, picking the best bits of ground, preparing for turns, lining up the fences and dealing with what happens in the moment, to riding with feel.

It’s a masterclass in cross country riding from Ingrid, and a beautiful demonstration of Bobby’s joy for the sport.

Danke schön Bobby, for all the joy you’ve brought us, and danke Ingrid for sharing his gorgeous ears with us in all the hat-cams.

Read about Bobby’s numerous high points here.
And Tilly’s tribute here.

Bring Your A Game – “It’s Possibly Harder than Ever”! – Riders React to Aachen Cross Country

A view of the cross country course at Aachen CCIO4*-S.

As we anticipate the final phase of the eventing competition in Aachen, we’re taking a look at what the horses and riders will be facing as they set out onto the notoriously technical 4*-S track.

Breaking up the 3,990 meters are 25 numbered fences, comprising of 39 jumping efforts. The optimum time is 6 minutes and 55 seconds – that works out at an average speed of 570 meters per minute. You can get a bit of a view of the track here

The course designer is Rüdiger Schwarz, assisted by Kai-Steffen Meier.

Word on the ground is that Rüdiger always builds a tough track, but this year is looking particularly tough. It’s intensely technical and twisty, and there’s lots to do. It’s got a different vibe to it than in other years, brought about by the way the intensity ebbs and flows – for one minute you’re galloping along with just one fence in your way, then in another minute you’ve got seven or eight questions to navigate – it’s being widely described as a 5*-S.

It all kicks off at 10am local time / 4am EST / 9am BST when German rider Libussa Lübbeke and Caramia 34 get underway.

The first US rider to leave the start box will be Dan Kreitl and Carmango, riding as individuals. They go at 10:24am / 4:24 am EST / 9:24am BST.

The British individual, Hector Payne will set off on Dynasty at 10:35am / 4:35am EST / 9:35am BST.

Team USA get underway at 11:03am / 5:03am EST / 10:03am BST when the vastly experienced Phillip Dutton will be aiming to climb the leaderboard with his longtime partner Z.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C go at 11:31am / 5:31am EST / 10:31am BST.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum are the penultimate combination for the USA. They set out at 11:59am / 5:59am EST / 10:59am BST.

Anchorman for the US, Will Coleman riding Off the Record, wraps things up for Team USA at 12:34pm / 6:34am EST / 11:34am BST.

Pathfinders for the Brits are Gemma Stevens and Flash Cooley. They get Team GBs campaign underway at 11:13am / 5:13am EST / 10:13am BST.

Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI go at 11:41am / 5:41am EST / 10:41am BST.

Current World Champions Yasmin Ingham and Banzai du Loir head out onto the track at 12:10pm / 6:10am EST / 11:10am BST.

And it’s our current leader – Tom McEwen riding JL Dublin – who will finish off cross country day – and the competition – as the last combination to leave the start box. They set out at 12:46pm / 6:46am EST / 11:46am BST.

If you’re following World No. 1 Tim Price with Falco, they go at 12:38pm / 6:38am EST / 11:38am BST.

So, how is the course looking?

Intense is a word that’s popped up more often than not. The consensus is that you won’t be able to make up time at the end, so you’ll have to be up on your minute markers – easier said than done, for sure, and the time is something the riders think will be truly influential tomorrow. There’s also lots of scope for silly errors – they’ll have to have everything turned on for the whole seven minutes (actually, just a smidge – five seconds – less, we hope).

How will today’s events fit with the form? Follow along with EN’s Form Guide here.

Keep up to date with the live leaderboard here.

If you just can’t wait to see what the course is like, here’s the course map and the CrossCountryApp preview can be found here.

Tilly’s got boots on the Aachen ground and will be bringing you ALL the details of the day’s sport. Make sure you’re following @goeventing and keep it locked onto EN.

In most countries, you’ll want to grab a subscription to ClipMyHorse.TV to be able to view the action both live and on-demand. FYI, your USEF account connection to ClipMyHorse.TV will not grant you access to Aachen live streaming – you must have a separate subscription to CMH (monthly or annual). Click here to see ClipMyHorse.TV subscription options.

Sally will be delivering a minute-by-minute account of all the happenings out on course on our Live Updates stream, so you don’t have to miss a thing.

According to Tilly, horses do their PhD over the 4*-S track in Aachen. Who’ll struggle to keep up? Who’ll be graduating with honors? And who’ll be valedictorian? We’ll soon find out!

EN’s Coverage of CHIO Aachen is brought to you with support from Kentucky Performance Products and Ocala Horse Properties.

CHIO Aachen: [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Timing & Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Form Guide] [EN’s Coverage]

Team USA:

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Kentucky Champions Tamie Smith and Mai Baum – go into the cross country in 9th on 30.9.

Her plan – “Just don’t mess up” – is simpler than the course:

“There’s tons of combinations – very technical. The time is going to be hard to make. You’ve got to be on your A game and really be paying attention.”

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Also on the podium at Kentucky – in 3rd place, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C – who lie in 14th on 32.1.

“It is very intense, especially after the first water. You don’t really have any other fence before you get to the big stuff down at the corner. It’s a lot of full intensity.

I think it always rides like a five-star short here. There’s some good areas to gallop, which is great because I think the last portion of the course will be quite slow. So that’s going to be my hope – to get up on the time before you get to those last few combinations or you just won’t make it. It’ll be good to go out and put the pedal down and go for it – I’ll see what kind of adjustability I have. He’ll come away. bigger, better horse for sure.”

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Seven time Olympian, Phillip Dutton rides Z and is currently in 18th on 32.8.

“It’s an interesting track. There are galloping patches, but then there’s quite intense patches where the time is going to be very influential. A lot of the events, you just stay on your minute markers – whereas this course, some of them you’re going to be way up on your minute markers but some minutes you’re going to be way down. It’s going to be interesting and you need a horse that’s really adjustable but fast, and obviously brave. We haven’t seen what’s in the arena yet, but the challenges keep going right through to the end.”

Will Coleman and Off The Record. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Also representing Team USA is Will Coleman and Off the Record, currently occupying 5th place on the leaderboard with 28.1. Unfortunately we don’t have his take on tomorrow’s course – we can only assume that he’s out there walking as we speak…

Word from the British Camp:

Tom McEwen and JL Dublin. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Kentucky Runner-up Tom McEwan and JL Dublin are currently leading the competition on 24.3.

First place is going out on course last, so we’ve got a bit of a wait to see what actually transpires, but here’s Tom’s take on things after a stroll – or two, three, four – around the track:

“There’s two very long straights – from the first water up to the mound – whatever it is – [according to CrossCountryApp it’s a Normandy Bank at 11A], then an awful long stretch all the way back to the trakehner [at 15]. Obviously last year had that very influential fence on the way back to the trakehner.

At the first water you circle under the driving bridge. There’s quite a lot to do in there – it’s quite something to be able to keep up your canter in there.

I think it’s going to be possibly harder than ever… Possibly. But it’s quite hard to tell. You’ve just got to go and find your flow and find your way around. It’s five-star short. The time always has a massive influence, and I’m looking forward to finding out a little bit more.”

Tom’s referring to getting to know his relatively new ride, JL Dublin – Nicola Wilson’s former ride.

“In some way we came here as a learning experience, knowing that we can be very competitive at the same time – so it’s just putting those two together.”

Yasmin Ingham and Banzai du Loir. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

And what does Current World Champion Yasmin Ingham and Banzai du Loir – lying in 3rd place on 25.5 – think of what lies ahead?

“I think there’s absolutely no catching up to be done at the end of the course – you really need to be up on those minutes early on – time will be of the essence tomorrow.

There’s some tricky technical questions scattered around the course, but I like how, in the main field, there’s two quite big opportunities to have a good gallop and ride away from your fences quickly, and make up a bit of time there. I’m very lucky to be sat on a big rangy, galloping horse, so I’m going to try and make the most of those big stretches, and then hopefully we’ll be there or there abouts with the time.”

Pathfinder for the Brits, Gemma Stevens and Flash Cooley are currently sitting just outside the top 20 on a two-phase score of 35.

“It’s Aachan. There’s always enough to jump here. There’s always a bit of a trick – there’s always an angle – angles, let’s say. I think the double of corners off the bank near the end before the last water is a real question. I think it would be easy to make a silly mistake. There’s no room for error at all – you’ve got to be so accurate.

I think the question just before the arena as well [a combination comprising of a solid fence to a double of angled brushes in the shape of tractors], there’s always a question there. When you’re thinking about the clock, you’ve got to just jump those fences.

For sure there’s enough to jump.”

Fourth team member for Britain, Kirsty Chabert with Classic VI – currently sitting in 11th on 31 – was unavailable for comment – perhaps she’s walking the course with Will…

Tim Price and Falco. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

And what does the World No. 1 think?

Tim Price is sitting in 4th on 26. Speaking of coming back for a third go round Aachen with Falco, Tim remembers:

“The first time it blew his mind; the second time, it was a little better – but we got stuck on the keyhole on cross-country – so we’ll see!

The course has been stiffened up this year – it’s bigger, and there’s a couple of places with proper questions that have to be ridden in a certain way. It’s always nice to have a contingency plan B and C, but there’s a couple here where there’s really only one way to make it work well – though I’m sure we’ll see a few versions! The Kiwis are good at being underdogs, so I’m sure we’ll go out and give it a good go.”

A total test, then.
It’s going to be a good one, that’s for sure!

Go eventing!

EN’s Coverage of CHIO Aachen is brought to you with support from Kentucky Performance Products and Ocala Horse Properties.

CHIO Aachen: [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Timing & Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

Aachen is on!

The vaulters have had their turn, the show jumpers are underway, and the drivers, dressage riders and eventers are waiting in the wings.

Well, the eventing wait is almost over as it all trots off tomorrow (Thursday) with the first horse inspection at 5pm German time – that’s 11am EST / 4pm BST.

Flying the flag for the US in the 4*-S are Will Coleman and Off the Record, Phillip Dutton and Z, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C, and Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Dan Kreitl and Carmango go as the US individual combination.

For team GB we have Yasmin Ingham and Banzai du Loir, Tom McEwan and JL Dublin, Gemma Stevens and Flash Cooley, and Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI. Riding as an individual for Great Britain is Hector Payne with Dynasty.

The center line sees the action start on Friday at 8:30am / 2:30am EST / 7:30am BST, when the teams will be aiming for the lowest possible score to start off their Aachen campaigns. How low can they go? With such quality across the field, it’ll be an exciting start, that’s for sure.

After a morning of dressage, the competitors will be back in the ring on Friday evening for the show jumping phase, which starts at 5:45pm / 11:45am EST / 4:45pm BST. There may well be a shake up of the standings as the combinations strive to leave the colored poles in their cups. Who will keep their cool? It’ll be all to play for at this point.

And Saturday is – as it mostly always is – cross country day, with the first horse leaving the start box at 10am / 4am EST / 9am BST. Coming as the third phase in this 4*-S competition, we’re guaranteed a thrilling morning of cross country action as the teams battle it out to take home the spoils – which they’ll do at the prize giving which starts at 3pm / 9am EST / 2pm BST

If you need just a bit more Aachen eventing after all that, you’re in luck as you can catch the Combined Eventing Jumping and Driving competition on Saturday evening from 9:30pm / 3:30pm EST / 8:30pm BST. Keep your eyes peeled for some familiar eventing faces and tails.

EN has Tilly’s boots on the Aachen ground, where she’ll bring us ALL the news from the event. Keep up with the EN coverage and follow @goeventing for all the ins and outs of the show.

Over the course of the week, Aachen will host over 300 participants from 32 countries and 1,000 horses. In case you’re wondering what kind of resources are needed to keep all those people and equines content – it includes 18,000 kg of hay and 34kg of ketchup.

Go eventing!

CHIO Aachen: [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Timing & Scoring] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

U.S. Weekend Preview

Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (Fairburn, GA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Inavale Farm HT (Philomath, OR) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Summer Coconino H.T. I (Anthem, AZ) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Twin Rivers Summer H.T. (Paso Robles, CA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

Attention all college students! Do you love social media? Athletux is on the hunt for a social media intern! This is an incredible opportunity to work remotely for one of the longest running, most established marketing firms in the equine industry! Gain valuable hands-on experience, boast your resume, and even obtain school credit where applicable! Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected] along with a sample social media reel!

It’s horseshoes for the stars on this Walk of Fame. Take a trip along Aachen’s Walk of Fame where tributes to some of the world’s most famous horses are embedded in front of the CHIO Aachen offices – “Thus it is clear to every Aachen visitor that the red carpet will be rolled out for horses first”. From dressage stars Valegro and Bella Rose, to show jumping’s Big Star and eventing master Hale Bob OLD, this sure is a who’s who of the horse world. [Star Studded]

How do you stop distractions from keeping you from your goals? Try turning your phone off. As a vintage Nokia kind of girl, I very much don’t get notifications on my phone. I also only answer calls or messages when I want to – just because a phone’s ringing, it doesn’t mean you have to answer it. Here’s why this busy amateur rider keeps her barn time phone free. [Call Waiting]

A comprehensive guide to the fascinating world of breeding horses. Whether you’re broody for a baby horse but not sure you’ve got the know-how for homebreds, or an experienced foal momma who’s thirsty to delve deeper, Jeanette Gower’s guide is for you. Written with the benefit of more than 50 years’ experience in the horse breeding industry, there’s everything you need to know and then some. ‘The Thinking Horse Breeder – A comprehensive guide to successful horse breeding’ is available from June 30th. [What to Expect When You’re Expecting]

A jockey shares his story of the accident that changed his life, and the twist of fate he’s come to see it as. It was ‘another day at the office’ for Jacob Pritchard Webb. He’d been stuck in traffic on the way to work, but made it just in time – something he sees as lucky one day, unlucky the next. When he was legged up onto his ride before the race, he had no idea that his day would end in a French hospital. Or that he would be at the beginning of a long and painful journey. This candid piece explains. [The Life I Now Have]

Do you have an eventing #CobsCan in your barn? Super cob Star X’s display at the Badminton Grassroots Championships has inspired British Eventing to put out a call for eventing cob owners to share photos of their own super cobs doing their thing. [Hairies Go Eventing]

In other news… Glastonbury festival happened over here in the UK last weekend, incidentally coinciding with National Camping Month. Scrolling through the media from the event, I came across this guy’s answer to a stiff back in the morning. So if you see a large IKEA box balanced precariously over a wheelbarrow being ferried across the carpark towards the campsite at Badminton next year, you know what I’m up to. [Bed Head]

Sponsor Corner

Photo courtesy of Ocala Horse Properties.

Brick. Circles. 1960’s.

That summarizes everything you need to know about this listing on Ocala Horse Properties. Join me on a ‘60s-themed field trip to the world of Dream Horse Farm.

Click here to find out more.

Video Break

Here’s a taste of some of the vaulting action that’s been happening in Aachen where Team Germany 1 were victorious in the grand final.

Wednesday News & Notes from Ocala Horse Properties

It’s midsummer’s day today and I can’t help but reflect on the fact that the eventing season is galloping along far too quickly for my liking. Four of the seven 5*s are in the rearview – Shane Rose has won his third Adelaide, Tamie Smith has become the first woman in 15 years to take Kentucky, Ros Canter defeated the Badminton mud to lead the event from start to finish, and Laura Collett has just made Luhmuhlen her third 5* win with her Olympic team gold medal winning partner, London 52.

What a season it’s been so far, and, although I wish it would slow down some so I can hold off the long winter without eventing for a while longer, there’s still plenty of excitement left to be had before I hunker down to watch re-runs until we start all over again.

For one, CHIO Aachen – which starts on Friday – will be offering a bonanza of equestrian events to cover the needs of most die-hard horse sport fans.There’s dressage, show jumping, eventing, driving and vaulting all going on at the World Equestrian Festival.

Flying the flag for the US in the 4*-S are Will Coleman and Off the Record, Phillip Dutton and Z, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C, and Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Dan Kreitl and Carmango go as the US individual combination.

For team GB we have Yasmin Ingham and Banzai du Loir, Tom McEwan and JL Dublin, Gemma Stevens and Flash Cooley, and Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI. Riding as an individual for Great Britain is Hector Payne with Dynasty.

Gemma Stevens will also compete in the Ride and Drive with Santiago Bay, and Australian eventer Bill Levett’s daughter, will represent Britain in Vaulting.

EN will have boots on the Aachen ground, where Tilly will be bringing us ALL the news from the event. Keep up with the EN coverage and follow @goeventing for all the content you can handle.

CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival (Germany) [Website] [Schedule] [Starters and Results] [EN’s Coverage] [Live Stream]

Major International Events

LOTTO Strzegom H.T. / FEI Eventing Nations Cup (Poland): [Website] [Entries] [Live Stream] [Timetable] [Scoring]

U.S. Weekend Preview

Bucks County Horse Park H.T. Revere, (PA) [Website] [Entries / Ride Times / Scoring]

Fox River Valley Pony Club H.T. (Barrington Hills, IL) [Entries] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Loudoun Hunt Pony Club Summer H.T. (Leesburg, VA) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Midsouth Pony Club H.T. (Lexington, KY) [Website] [Volunteer] [Entries / Ride Times / Scoring]

Round Top H.T. (Castle Rock, CO) [Volunteer]

Stable View Summer H.T. (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Volunteer]

Valinor Farm H.T. (Plymouth, MA) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Volunteer] [Scoring]

Woodloch Stable Young Event Horse Qualifier (Hugo, MN) [Website] [Ride Times] [Scoring]

Wednesday News and Reading

There’s royal approval for the Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare in King Charles’ Birthday Honors. Roly Owers has been awarded an OBE for his services to equine welfare. He says, “What I find inspiring is that recognition at this level demonstrates the continued relevance of horses to society and the part we all play in protecting their welfare for future generations.” Here, here. [Royal Approval]

And on the subject of kings and horses… King Charles took to horseback for the Trooping of the Colour at the weekend – the first time a monarch has been mounted at the event since 1986, when the late Queen rode her 18-year-old mare, Burmese, at the spectacle. [All the King’s Horses]

Popular opinion in the barn is that this exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York looks rather tasty. Proof that anyone with a hay barn is a modern artist, or a social critique? I have it on good authority from an artist friend that this particular stack of hay bales is “a comment on how we value everything – the raw materials are cheap, but call it art and it’s worth a fortune. In the hay stack there’s a real gold needle with golden thread, however it’s impossible to find, representing the human condition of ignoring the value of what’s right in front of you”. I’d argue on the cheapness of hay – it depends on how many horses you’ve got, right? [Needle in a Haystack]

Whilst we’re in the art zone, check out these totally moody horse photos. The MMX Gallery in London has brought together the stunning work of the late John Reardon in ‘Whistlejacket’, an exhibition of his glorious horse photography. [Say Neigh]

Researchers in France have discovered that horse poop could be an extremely valuable resource. Turns out, that what you toss in the wheelbarrow when you’re mucking stalls is a valid prospect for biofuel and your muck heap may well be the energy source of the future. [Not Just Good for your Roses]

It’s International Yoga Day today so here’s a fun yoga class designed especially for equestrians. As well as a lovely stretch, this video comes with a healthy dose of Yoga With Adriene’s usual sense of humor, and her pupper Benji comes along for the ride. 108 sun salutations it is not, a fun frolic through some horsey poses it is. You can even sub the namaste for a yee-haw if you like! [Stirrup Posture and Horsey Lips]

Sponsor Corner

Liz Halliday Sharp and Miks Master C. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

What is it like to take a lesson from THE Liz Halliday-Sharp as an amateur? Ocala Horse Properties made it possible for this amateur rider to find out.

Click here to read all about the lesson of a lifetime.

Video Break

While we were living it large in Luhmuhlen, back in England Bolesworth International Horse show was happening and Guy Williams was winning the Puissance (again) with Mr Blue Sky UK. There is just something about this gorgeous, enormous gray that takes my breath away. Here he is clearing 2.15 meters of big red wall at London International Horse Show just before Christmas last year.

‘The Skinniest Skinnies I’ve Seen!’: Riders React to Luhmühlen’s ‘Academic’ CCI5* Course

There’s a rail-fronted hedge to pop at 22 – a mainstay here at Luhmühlen.

It’s nearly time for our favorite kind of Saturday here at EN – 5* cross country day. The Longines Luhmühlen course has been walked, the riders have studied their maps – then studied them again… and again. They’ve put their thinking caps on – and secured them with super glue – and got their feet wet. Plans A, B and C have been discussed and decided, with plans D, E, and F written up their arms just in case. But what do they think of the Luhmuhlen 5* track?

The consensus is that there’s no real bogey fence and there could be problems everywhere – little blips and slip ups due to a momentary lack of concentration or a slightly dodgy line. Riders will need to have their sat navs at the ready if they’re to navigate the twists and turns without getting lost. Also, the skinnies are the skinniest of skinnies. It’s been described as a Championship-style track – oh, and the time is going to be tight, of course.

The course this year is designed by Mike Etherington-Smith. The 5* track is 6350 meters with an optimum time of 11 minutes and 8 seconds. There are 28 numbered fences with 46 jumping efforts. There are three serious water questions on course, each of them with A, B and C elements, and the double at the penultimate fence will make sure that riders keep working right up until the end.

On how he approaches course building, Mike says, “We’ve all got a responsibility to look after horses, and so what I try to do with any course I produce has always been the same: if a rider makes a mistake or an error, the horse has a way to get out of it. We work very closely with the riders and we have open dialogue all the time”.

And has that open dialogue meant concerns about the course being voiced by the riders? In a word, no. So they all seem pretty happy to take it on.

But they’re all unanimous on the time being difficult to get. That’s something that Mike’s got planned – “I try and keep horses slower over a longer distance, if possible. But the guys are so good now – they get into a rhythm and they’re quick away from a fence. You watch the good guys – it’s all very smooth and seamless – they’re in a groove and so they make the time”.

Who’ll get their groove on as they gallop their way round this twisty track? Just how skinny are the skinnies? Who’ll be the biggest movers and who will be right up there at the end of the day? It’s all to play for at Luhmuhlen!

Tilly’s walked the course for us – here’s what she has to say. You can also get a better visual of the track in our preview reel here, as well as the course preview video below:

How will today’s events fit with the form? Follow along with EN’s Form Guide here.

Keep up to date with the live scores here.

Tilly’s got boots on the Luhmuhlen ground and will be bringing you all the content you can handle. Make sure you’re following @goeventing and keep it locked onto EN for all the ins and outs of the show.

You can follow along with the live stream on H&C+ with a subscription or a one-time viewing pass. If you choose to purchase an annual H&C+ subscription, you can save 15% if you use the code EVENTINGNATION15.

Sally will be delivering a minute-by-minute account of all the happenings out on course on our Live Updates stream, so you don’t have to miss a thing.

Let’s go eventing!

Longines Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entries] [Times and Scoring] [How to Watch] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Here’s what the riders have to say about the 5* cross country course…

Laura Collett heads out in the lead on 20.3 with London 52. Photo by Alex Jeffery.

Laura Collett and London 52 – 1st – 20.3 / Dacapo – 6th – 29.7 (GBR)

“First impressions: first of all, hope the sat nav works!

There’s lots of twists and turns and lots of different tracks that you need to choose about when to go down. There’s loads of opportunities to have a blip somewhere.

I wouldn’t say there’s any one fence in particular that particularly stands out. I think the first water comes out of nowhere. I’d say the first few fences, you think ‘this is nice, this is okay’, and then [the water] hits you. I think that will come up very, very quickly. There’s not really a margin for error when there’s only three strides. It’s a big old fence into the water so you’ve got to make sure you get in first and then try and steer to the corner and kick a bit to get out!

I think it’s a really well built track and they always do such a good job of building nice fences here, so hopefully the horses lock on and understand the questions.

The first part is pretty meaty and there’s just no margin for error. All the distances are on three strides which you’ve got to get right. There’s no kind of adding or changing your mind – once you’re in you’ve got to just make it happen.”

Kitty King and Vendredi Biats are currently in third place. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Kitty King and Vendredi Biats – 3rd – 26.8 (GBR)

Kitty and Froggy contested the the European Championships over the 4*-L course in Luhmuhlen in 2019, finishing 7th and best of the Brits. Her thoughts on returning for the 5*…

“It really suited him I when I first brought him here. I didn’t really think twisty courses would be his thing. He’s quite tricky in his mouth, so I thought that maybe this wouldn’t be the best track for him. But he was really good here, and then he was really good at Avenches, where it’s really twisty, so I think perhaps, it’s all in my head!

[The 5* track is] obviously going a different route than the Europeans, and it’s a little bit longer, but at the end of the day, it’s got a very similar feel – lots of skinnies and angles, and you’ve got to stay on your game the whole way. The first part of it is very twisty – like a CIC [short format] – and they have a few more galloping stretches towards the end. You’re just going have to keep on it, and their brains working and our brains working.”

Current World Champion Yasmin Ingham is lying in 4th with Rehy DJ after the dressage. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Yasmin Ingham and Rehy DJ – 4th – 27.5 (GBR)

“I definitely think the big first kind of eye opener comes at 13A, the big drop into the water. That’s seriously substantial, and on a tight line on three strides to a corner, so that’s definitely one to watch. I think the step up as well at 15 – that’s definitely one I’d be making sure that I’m not cutting any corners – I need to ride it properly. But I’d say the whole way through there’s questions, so it’s going to be really interesting to ride, but it’ll be nice to get the first water out of the way.”

Emily King and Valmy Biats stepped up into 5th place in the first phase. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Emily King and Valmy Biats – 5th – 28.4 (GBR)

“It’s all very much there. Obviously completely different to Badminton and the whole feel of it. It’ll be interesting to see how he goes. He was really good at Pau, which would be more this feeling.

I think it’d be really annoying to have a silly something. Lots of the lines need real respect and real accuracy. And I think the time is going to be super tight because you’re zooming around the bushes, moving up on your time, but then giving them enough time on those fiddly questions to really know what’s happening. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds. I think the time will be tight and then we have to be really on it on those accuracy questions.

The first and the second water there’s enough to do. The second water to that last skinny – I mean, it’s tiny. Really, it all stems from how you jump in and how the whole thing goes. If you do everything smooth, you’ll be good to the last one. You might waste a bit of time there.

And then there’s a little corner – 19 – it just pops up, but I think someone like him, that’s so bold and brave, I need to really respect something like that because you could just zoom over it.”

Jerome Robiné and Black Ice delivered a smart test for =8th on 30.1. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Jerome Robine and Black Ice – =8th – 30.1 (GER)

“In the end, it’s long – it’s eleven minutes long. You always have to try to focus. I think that’s the hardest thing because you have these long galloping stretches with just single fences where you can start breathing, and then you have to come back – OK, so now we have to concentrate again. I think that it will be hard for me to really focus.”

And which fences did he walk an extra time, or two, or three?

“There are a few things. The first water, the coffin, the Meßmer water – they’re the biggest questions on the course. You should go there once to watch! But really, every fence maybe we will run out.”

Boyd Martin and Luke 140 float their way into =8th. Photo by Alex Jeffery.

Boyd Martin and Luke 140 – =8th – 30.1 / Tsetserleg TSF – 13th – 31.1 / Fedarman B – 17th – 32.4 (USA)

Boyd posted his thoughts on the track on his Facebook page – “My first impression of the course is that there is a heck of a lot of narrows and corners out there. It’s beautifully designed by Mike Etherington-Smith. I really think the biggest test he’s trying to give is the adjustability and rideability of the horses. I feel like he lets you into the course nicely with four or five nice big galloping fences before he sticks it right to you with a number of combinations that have narrow fences with related distances. There is not one combination or jump that is really really tough, but it’s a course of accumulation and I think the horses and riders are going to have to be really really focused in the second half of the course when time comes into play.”

And then he spoke to us too! A double dose of Boyd wisdom, what a treat!

“I’m still just trying to get a feel for the track – it’s very twisty, and with lots of accuracy questions – narrows and corners – so I’ve got to make sure I go as fast as I can, but really have them balanced and thinking when they need to slow down and turn at those corners and narrows. I think it’ll be an accumulation – there’s not one jump where I’m sick to my stomach, but it’s a bit relentless where it’s combination after combination after combination. I think the last three jumps look nice – if I get to there, I’ll just be holding them together and trying to finish the job well!”

Bill Levett and Huberthus AC are also =8th. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Bill Levett and Hubertus AC – =8th – 30.1 (AUS)

“It’s very technical, and it’s more like a Championship course. There are so many places you could have twenty.

But I come to these five stars, and have done over the years, and I never look at them and think they’re easy. I think, ‘Wow! You’ve got to ride well, and the horse has got to be well after it’. That’s the challenge and that’s why we love five-stars, or I do – for the challenge of trying to get your horse, produce it, and to be able to come here and put yourself up against the five-star track.

I love Mike Etherington-Smith’s courses. I think it’s a lovely track, but there’s a heap out there to do. You could easily have a 20. It’s quite twisty so the time will be difficult.

It’s a quality field, so it’s nice to put yourself up into a quality field and see how you’re getting along.”

Harry Meade and Tenareze are just a smidge behind the top ten on 30.7. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Harry Meade and Tenareze – 11th – 30.7 (GBR)

“I think the overall picture is it’s a continental, Championship style. The course is very different – it’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from the other five-stars.

There’s plenty of places you could just have a little whoopsie, but there’s nothing which is particularly likely to be so problematic in terms of being completely on the same page. You could easily just have a very slight lack of concentration, or a horse doesn’t quite read the questions, or you could just nudge a flag or something.

Never say never because we’re at a five-star, and these are horses – we’re dealing with humans and horses and human and equine error and everything else.

There’s lots of fiddly fences. It’s obviously a twisty turny course – I think one of the questions is going to be being able to keep that galloping speed up around those fiddly questions.”

Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California go out onto the cross country course in 15th place. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Tamra Smith and Solaguayre California – 15th – 31.9 (USA)

“It looks good. The first water is huge – I think that’s very tough. And obviously, the time looks like it’s going to be very difficult to make. And the skinnies are the skinniest I’ve seen, so you have to be very accurate and precise, but quick. The water and the arena – it shows big scope and bravery. But I think it’s a really great course for her. This will be her first five-star – she has done Morven Park in the United States, which is a big gallopy track, and then she’s also done Boekelo, so she’s been around twisty, kind of similar tracks to this. You never know when you first bring them to their first five-star, but I think she’s ready.”

Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire are currently on 37.8. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire – 31st – 37.8 (USA)

“I love it! It looks great.”

And how many times did she get lost while walking the course?

“Oh my gosh! I had a good friend with me – she had the map open and I think I only took like two wrong turns. So that’s pretty good!

I think the course looks great. I think it’ll be very testing on time, and so we just have to be strategic on where we can go fast and put in tight turns. I think it’ll be great, great fun. I will say for this horse, it’s always the water – always the first water – and that is quite a big ask to jump in that first one. So that’s always on my mind, no matter if it’s a three-star or five-star with this horse.”

And there you have it – straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak!

Go eventing!

Longines Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entries] [Timing & Scoring] [How to Watch] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] [EN’s Form Guide]

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Day Two at Luhmühlen: Live Updates from CCI5* Dressage

Photo by Thomas Ix, courtesy of Luhmühlen.

We’re into the second and final day of dressage at Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials, where we’ll see the final bunch of CCI5* riders this afternoon (if you’re in Germany) to close out the first phase of competition. This morning, we saw Great Britain’s Mollie Summerland and Charly van ter Heiden (also former 5* winners here) take the CCI4*-S lead on a score of 24.8. You can watch their test on the Horse & Country replay here.

Leading after yesterday’s competition in the 5* are Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street on a score of 23.1. Will anyone topple them from the top of the leaderboard – we’ll have to wait and see!

[Click here to catch up on scores]
[Click here to watch the H&C+ live stream]

We’ll be kicking off with the first competitor – Great Britain’s Will Rawlin and The Partner – at 1:45pm local time – that’s 7:45am EDT / 12:45pm.

If you’re following the US contingent, the first from the American camp today will be Tamie Smith with Solaguayre California at 8:52am EDT / 1:52pm BST. They’re the last combination before the coffee break.

Other Americans going today are Matthew Flynn and Wizzerd at 9:30am EDT / 2:30pm BST, and Boyd Martin will be closing the two days of dressage with Luke 140 at 10:42am EDT / 3:42pm BST.

In this session we have the World Champion, Great Britain’s Yaz Ingham, who comes forward with Rehy DJ at 9:37am EDT / 2:37 BST; Olympic team gold medal and Badminton 2022 winners Laura Collett and London 52 go at 10:07am EDT / 3:07pm BST, and last year’s Luhmuhlen champs Felix Vogg and Colero will be getting their 2023 campaign underway at 10am EST / 3pm BST.

Wow! What a dressage day we have in store for us!

Who will be leading the field as we go into cross country tomorrow? We can’t wait to see! Keep this live thread bookmarked and refreshed, and watch this space!

Want to follow along with the form of all the horses and riders cantering down the center line for the 5* this afternoon? Check out EN’s Form Guide for all the inside info and keep it locked onto EN for all the news from lovely Luhmuhlen – you’ll find all our coverage here. Don’t forget to follow @goeventing to see what Tilly’s sharing from Germany!

Looking for the live stream? You can watch live on Horse & Country all weekend with your H&C+ subscription (you can save 15% off the cost of an annual subscription with code EVENTINGNATION15) or a one-time Luhmühlen-only pass. Click here to see our How to Watch guide, complete with links to the live stream.

Longines Luhmühlen: [Website] [Entries] [Timing & Scoring] [How to Watch] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

EN’s coverage of Longines Luhmühlen is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products and Ocala Horse Properties.

10:30 And that’s a wrap!

That brings us to the end of the 5* dressage at Luhmuhlen Horse Trials. What a day! What a two days! Wow!

It’s a British 1, 2, 3 on the leaderboard going into the cross country.
In the lead is Laura Collett with London 52 on 20.3.
Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street are second on 23.1.
Kitty King and Vendredi Biats are third on 26.8.

The best of the Americans is Boyd Martin with Luke 140 – they’re in 9th on 30.1

Will they stay there? How much shuffling will take place? It’s all to play for at Luhmuhlen!

Thanks to everyone who’s followed along – it’s been a blast!

If you’re reading this after the event, scroll to the bottom and read up!

We’ll be back with live updates from the cross country tomorrow at around 9:15am local time – that’s 3:15am EDT / 8:15am BST. Keep it locked onto EN for the full dressage report – coming soon!

Go eventing!

10:27 Boyd Martin and Luke 140 score 30.6.

10:26 There’s been a lot to like in this test. There’s a good pat for Luke who looks pleased with himself. A clear round.

10:25 Luke’s showing off a lovely big canter in the extended and Boyd rides forward bravely. The changes are clean. It’s so impressive how they’ve managed to put the couple of little blips firmly behind them very quickly.

10:24 Luke’s very vocal at the beginning of the walk work – perhaps he spotted his mate Thomas. He walks on nicely after that though – a bit of tension but not too much.

10:23 Oh dear, there’s a break in the trot but Boyd gets Luke back quickly and they continue as though nothing happened – very professional.

10:22 We’re expecting sub-30 in this phase…

10:21 And finally, last but most certainly not least, we have the USA’s Boyd Martin and Luke 140 wrapping up the dressage phase.

Hot form! 🌶️ Boyd won the 2*-L, 3*-L and 4*-S at Bromont a couple weeks ago!

‘Luke’ has been to Luhmuhlen before – in the 1* with Malin Peterson in 2018. He was 2nd that year, completing on a very impressive 25.9.

5* first timer! Luke, not Boyd…!

10:20 Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs score 31.7.

10:19 Oliver’s done a great job recovering from the problems in the walk. The canter is much better and the final halt is square.

10:18 Things look more settled now they’re cantering. Oliver’s brave in the canter across the diagonal and the following change is clean.

10:17 There’s some tension going on today for Swallow Springs. A brief halt at C and a hurried rein back. The excitement’s really coming out in the walk. Oliver will be glad to get into canter.

10:16 Ooo, Swallow Springs shuffles off the center line in the halt. He’s off into his trot work now though and looking to be listening to Oliver and producing some lovely movement.

10:15 Swallow Springs has pulled out some very smart dressage tests. Regularly in the low 20s – they scored 23.2 at Badminton in this phase – this could be one fighting for a place at the top of the leaderboard.

10:14 Our penultimate combination is Great Britain’s Oliver Townend with the former Andrew Nicholson ride Swallow Springs.

Swallow Springs has been 5th (with Andrew Nicholson) and 3rd (with Oliver) at 5* – will he improve on that in Luhmuhlen?

Family connection – Oliver’s Dad also competed in eventing.

10:13 And it’s into the lead for Laura Collett and London 52 with a score of 20.3!

10:12 A great test and a huge cheer from the crowd. Laura’s delighted.

10:11 A brave extended canter and Dan very clearly comes back and delivers a brilliant change. This is truly lovely to watch – so expressive and accurate. They create a very happy picture of a horse and rider working together as one.

10:10 They’re trending sub-20.

10:09 That’s got to be a great score for the extended. Another square halt at C and a very accurate rein back. The walk is nice but Dan could take his neck out a little – Laura’s encouraging him and he’s listening.

10:08 Of course Dan starts with a beautiful square halt. He’s flicking his toes in the trot and they’re creating a lovely picture.

10:07 They won the 4*-S at Bicton a couple of weeks ago with a 19.8 in the first phase. They posted a 19.3 in the dressage at the World Championships in Pratoni. Will it be sub-20 today? All eyes on Laura and London!

10:06 Olympic team gold medalist, Great Britain’s Laura Collett comes forward next with Badminton 2022 winner London 52.

Royal approval! 👑 Laura was awarded an MBE from the Queen of England for her services to equestrianism.

In the barn… London 52 is known as ‘Dan’.

Laura was unable to defend her Badminton title when Dan picked up a slight injury in the lead-up so we’re super happy to see him here at Luhmuhlen.

Tough cookie! 🍪 In 2013 Laura had a terrible fall which left her in a coma for a week and caused her to lose the sight in one eye. 7 weeks later she won her first class back.

10:05 Felix Vogg and Colero score 33.3.

10:04 So many positives and highlights but quite a few wobbles today. Colero jogs off after the halt. He’s clearly very fit and excited for the competition.

10:02 There’s a lot of wriggle going on in the walk. Felix is brave in the canter across the diagonal but pays for it in the corner. Colero’s very perky today. There are beautiful movements but you can feel the bubbling excitement underneath.

10:01 Colero clearly knows he’s a good looking lad – he’s totally showing off. There’s definitely some fizzle going on, but Felix is doing a great job of keeping it under wraps. Lots of expression in the extended but a bit of a tense moment in the rein back. Colero’s fit and ready to run cross country.

10:00 Colero is a truly beautiful horse – so impressive and expressive – a total joy to watch.

9:59 Colero is very capable of pulling out a competitive score in this first phase. Last year, they finished on their dressage of 29 to win, but they’ve scored as low as 21.7 at 3* and posted 24.2 at Pau last year.

9:58 Next, for Switzerland, it’s Olympian and last year’s winners Felix Vogg and Colero.

Top class treat! This pairing have competed at the World Championships and the Olympics.

Felix was actually born in Germany. His main mentor is Michael Jung, but he also works closely with Bettina Hoy on his dressage – so we’ll be watching for some of that German brilliance shining through in this phase.

Hot form! 🥇 Felix and Colero won here last year – on Felix’s birthday 🎂 – will they hold onto their title?

9:57 Jerome Robine and Black Ice score 30.1.

9:56 The start of this test was truly lovely, but things got a bit tense in the middle. Black Ice settles towards the end though and they end in a square halt. Jerome really rode well. There’s a big cheer from his home crowd.

9:55 A very positive ride in the medium canter results in a bit of bother in the corner. Black Ice is a little lit up but Jerome pushes for the extended canter and they get the change this time.

9:53 There’s a lot of expression in the extended and medium trot. He’s very secure in the halt at C. There’s a bit of a break in the rhythm of the walk but Black Ice looks relaxed enough until he starts anticipating the canter transition.

9:52 Black Ice and Jerome look very smart as they canter up the center line. They’re very positive and punchy in the early trot work.

9:51 We’re looking at a mid to high-20s score here – add to that the fact that, with Jerome, the gelding’s never had a cross country jumping penalty and this could be one to watch.

9:50 Now we have German rider Jerome Robine with Black Ice.

Rookie alert! It’s a first-time 5* for both Jerome and Black Ice.

They came to Luhmuhlen for the 4*-S (The German National Championship) last year and finished 5th, winning the U25 title. 🥇

9:49 Cedric Lyard and Unum de’Or score 35.

9:48 There’s not a whole lot of stretch in the canter circle, but everything’s accurate. Overall not the most expressive test, but very clean and safe on the whole.

9:47 The canter’s a bit conservative but Cedric’s being very clever in his riding – both changes have been very clean.

9:46 The halt at C is brief and the rein back is a bit wobbly. There’s a spook in the corner. Cedric’s working hard to encourage the gelding to relax in the walk.

9:45 Unum de’Or’s trotting out nicely and everything looks balanced and strong. He’s a lovely big rangy horse.

9:44 They’ve been as low as 31.6 at 5* – that came at Pau in 2021, the horse’s first time at the level. It was a 33.6 at Burghley last year. What will it be at Luhmuhlen?

9:43 It’s the turn of French rider Cedric Lyard next, riding Unum de’Or.

Medal alert! Cedric won a team silver medal at the World Championships in 2002 and was part of the Olympic gold medal winning French team in 2004. 🥇🥈

In another life… Cedric would love to have been a rock and roll singer! 🧑‍🎤🤘🎸 Will he be on song here today?

9:42 Yasmin Ingham and Rehy DJ score 27.5 and go into 3rd.

9:41 They finish up with a lovely square halt and Piglet gets a big pat from Yaz.

9:40 Piglet anticipates the canter a bit but he settles once he gets going. Yaz is riding really positively and accurately – her bravery is impressive.

9:39 A square halt but then they lost the diagonal pairs a bit in the rein back. The walk’s nice and Piglet’s showing a good overtrack.

9:38 Piglet is looking absolutely beautiful. What a lovely partnership this pair have – they create a very pleasing picture.

9:37 Generally this pair are mid-20s to low-30s in this phase. They scored 28.7 at Pau in 2020, the gelding’s only other 5* run. They’ve been as low as 23.7 at 4*.

9:36 World Champion Yasmin Ingham will be next to come forward for Great Britain with Rehy DJ.

Yas was just 25 when she became World Champion with Banzai du Loir. 🏆

In the barn… Rehy DJ is affectionately known as piglet. 🐷

Cute story! When she was a kiddo, Yas would build show jumping courses and then jump round them on foot. Maybe that’s why she was so good at hurdles and high jump at school!

Eventing idol… Yas was offered the ride on Imperial Cavalier when he retired from top level eventing. The gelding had won Olympic silver and World gold with Mary King.

Top trivia! Yas was the youngest ever podium place of Kentucky 5*.

9:35 Matthew Flynn and Wizzerd score 34.2.

9:34 A few tense moments, Matt will be breathing a sigh of relief. Wizzerd looks happy with himself though.

9:33 The tension continues in the canter work but Matt’s doing a great job of sitting quiet and not panicking. Wizzerd’s chomping at the bit – he wants to go cross country… now!

9:32 A good rein back but an extra step. There’s a bit of tension in the walk which is affecting the rhythm a bit. And now the tension’s bubbled over in the transition to canter. He’s back with Matt quickly though.

9:30 So far, so good for Wizzerd. He’s working accurately and is in balance. There’s a bit of tail swishing going on, but overall this is an attractive test thus far.

9:29 Typically in this phase they’re low to mid-30s, but they’ve squeaked sub-30 a few times – will this be one of those times?

9:28 Coming into the dressage arena next, we have Matthew Flynn and Wizzerd for the USA.

Wizzerd is the first horse that Matt’s kept long enough to compete at 5*.

Matt’s trained with Karen and David O’Connor, Phillip Dutton and Mara DuPuy.

Will Wizzerd work some magic in the ring today? 🪄

9:22 News… New Zealand’s Tim Price has withdrawn Happy Boy. Happy Boy didn’t feel 100% so Tim’s decided not to go here.

9:20 Bill Levett and Hubertus AC score 30.1.

9:19 Bill offers the rein in the stretch circle and Bart does take it but could have done a bit more with it. He struggles to come back to trot for a few strides, but a square halt to finish. All good for Bart overall – accurate and clean.

9:18 Bill’s really brave in the medium canter and there’s a clean change following. Another brave attempt from Bill in the extended canter followed by another clean change. A clear round so far for Bart.

9:17 The extended trot is lovely and Bart does a square halt and clean rein back. Bill has to kick a little to get Bart going in the walk but surely that’s preferable to trying to keep a lid on it!

9:16 A lovely square halt to start. Bart looks happy in his work and everything’s balanced and clean in the trot work.

9:15 Bart’s scores can be a bit inconsistent in this phase – from the very low-30s to the very low-40s. At Badminton he posted a 32.5. What will it be here?

9:14 Here’s a name eventing fans will be familiar with – Australia’s Bill Levett is getting us back underway with Huberthus AC.

At 60, Bill’s one of the most experienced riders in the field and is a double World Championships rider.

Bill and ‘Bart’ have re-routed from Badminton – the horse’s first 5* – where they retired on course. Before starting out, Bill’s intention was to see how this young horse coped with the difficult ground conditions at Badminton and pull up if he wasn’t happy.

8:59 No change at the top of the leaderboard as we go into coffee break. We’ll be back with the action at 9:15 am EDT / 2:15pm BST when Australia’s Bill Levett will take to the arena with Hubertus AC.

8:58 Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California score 31.9 and go into 9th place.

8:57 This test has really been lovely. Just a couple of blips in the changes, but it’s good to have something to work on. The tension crept in a bit as the test went on, but it started brilliantly and Tammy, of course, did a great job on a relatively inexperienced horse.

8:56 Whoops, a bit of a short change. But Tammy’s brave in the extended.

8:55 The walk is expressive and active and the mare is obedient and relaxed. A clean strike off gets them going into the canter work.

8:54 There’s such balance and cadence in the trot work. It really is a picture. Very clear steps in the rein back.

8:53 A beautiful halt to begin – Tammy’s off to a great start!

8:52 There’s a very good chance that we’ll see a sub-30 test here. They scored 25.2 last time out in Mill Spring a few weeks ago.

8:51 Newly-crowned Kentucky champion and World No 5, the USA’s Tamie Smith comes forward as our last competitor before the coffee break with Solaguayre California.

5* first-timer! Solaguayre California’s following in Mai Baum’s hoofprints as she makes her debut at the top level.

Trivia time! Tamie’s Starucks order is hot chocolate. Yum! ☕

It’s all in the genes… Tamie’s daughter, Kawlawna Smith-Cook, is also competes in eventing.

8:50 Emma Brussau and Dark Desire score 32.9.

8:49 A lovely halt to finish but Dark Desire’s still looking round. Lots of pats for the mare.

8:48 Dark Desire’s a bit spooky but Emma’s doing a good job of reassuring her. The next change is clean and the stretch circle is nice, but then there’s a spook across the arena.

8:47 A lovely square halt is followed by clean steps in the rein back. Emma’s working hard to encourage Dark Desire to step out in the walk work. She’s brave in the canter but the change is a bit wobbly.

8:45 Emma’s riding positively and accurately. Dark Desire is being a bit looky looking – let’s hope the umbrellas don’t bother her too much as it’s bucketing down in Luhmuhlen.

8:43 Generally, this pair are low to mid-30s in the first phase, although they can definitely can – and may today – go sub-30. They’ve have been as low as 24.6 at the 4*-S level.

8:42 Germany’s Emma Brüssau with Dark Desire GS are next between the white boards.
Rookie alert! It’s a first-time 5* for both Emma and ‘Desi’.

Emma and Dark Desire have been together since Emma was a teenager.

🥇 They won individual gold at the Young Riders European Eventing Championships in 2019.

8:41 Emily King and Valmy Biats score 28.4.

8:40 Ah, so close to a square halt but there’s a little step off the line. Some lovely moments in this test.

8:39 There’s some tension creeping in but Emily’s very brave in the extended canter. The second change is better than the first. Despite the tension, Valmy stretches in the circle nicely and produces a lovely change.

8:38 There’s an extra stride in the rein back but the walk is nice and active and Valmy stretches in the extended. It’s just started to rain in Luhmuhlen.

8:37 Valmy Biats is lovely and bouncy in his trot work – he’s uphill and everything looks very polished. All very active and expressive.

8:36 This pair could potentially give us another dressage in the 20s. They scored 31.3 at Badminton but they’re well capable of mid to high-20s – they posted a 25.5 at Pau last year. Let’s see how they show up today.

8:35 Coming forward next we have Great Britain’s Emily King and Valmy Biats.

They come here from Badminton after Emily decided ‘Valmy’ wasn’t enjoying the muddy ground. Before that, they won the 4*-S at Thoresby Park.

Live the dream… Valmy Biats is part owned by the Event Horse Owners Syndicate – you can buy a tiny part of him for £95!

Hot to trot! 👟 Emily must be pretty fit – she ran the London Marathon a few weeks ago and, along with her partner, fellow eventer Sam Ecroyd, raised money for The Brain and Spine Foundation.

Fun / random fact! Emily lives in North Wales, not too far from me!

8:34 46.6 for Nicolas Wettstein and Meyer’s Happy.

8:33 There’s a change on the center line too. Nicolas did a great job keeping calm there. Shout out for Meyer’s Happy’s groom though – his braids are beautiful. Apparently he has hair extensions in his tail too.

8:32 There’s a blip in the corner before first change and Nicolas has to bring him back and does get the change. He misses the second one also. It’s a shame. Meyer’s Happy has got quite tense and isn’t playing ball. He’s back on track for the stretch circle though.

8:31 Meyer’s Happy looks very happy in his trot work. He’s a little wobbly in the contact sometimes, and he opens his mouth throughout the rein back, but he’s into a lovely walk and seems to be with Nicolas.

8:30 They’ve scored as low as 32 in the first phase at 4*. They’ve also been as high as 41.1. What will it be today?

8:29 Here’s Nicolas Wettstein and Meyer’s Happy for Ecuador.

Nicolas represented Ecuador at two Olympics (Tokyo and Rio), two World Championships (2014 and 2018) and two Pan-Am Games (2015 and 2019).

Meyer’s Happy was Nicolas’ World Championships mount for Tryon.

Origin story… Nicolas was actually born in Switzerland. As a junior he represented France, later changing to Switzerland, and now he rides for Ecuador.

Polyglot extraordinaire! Nicolas speaks five languages!

In his other life… Nicolas is the director of a pharmaceutical company.

8:28 Apologies for missing the first few horses live. Chinch has been frantically scribbling notes though – here’s what we missed…

8:22 We have 22-year-old Belgian rider Seppe Vilain and Kawa de la Cour Z coming up next.

Rookie alert! This is Seppe and Kawa de la Cour Z’s first 5*.

Seppe made his senior team debut in the Nations Cup at Boekelo in 2021.

Their 4*-L run this season saw them post a 35.1 in the first phase. What will it be here?

Kawa de la Cour Z is working nicely for Seppe at the beginning of their test. There are a couple of wobbles in the lateral work but overall it’s clean.

Their long-time partnership is evident – they’re clearly on the same page and it’s lovely to watch them working together.

They finish up with a lovely halt and big pats.

Seppe Vilain and Kawa de la Cour Z score 34.9.

8:15 And now for Ireland we have Susie Berry and Monbeg by Design for the gelding’s first 5* attempt.

Susie was one of only three in the first cohort of Young Eventers in the Wesko Equestrian Foundation for Young Eventers.

Susie’s represented Ireland at six European Championships from Ponies to Young Riders.

We’re looking around the mid-30s mark for this combination, potentially high-30s for their first 5*. They scored 38 in this phase in the World Championships at Pratoni.

Their test starts off tidy. Monbeg by Design drops to the forehand occasionally but there are no major mistakes.

The walk’s quiet and the gelding hollows slightly in the transition to canter.

The first change is very neat and Susie’s brave in the extended canter. That leads to a bit of a loss of rhythm at the end and Monbeg by Design dives the change. He enjoys the stretch circle though. The next change is a bit muddled and the final one is late behind, but they finish with a lovely square halt.

Susannah Berry and Monbeg by Design score 38.9.

8:07 Next in front of the judges is Great Britain’s Harry Meade with Tenareze.

Fun fact! Tenareze is one of only two stallions competing in the 5*.

He comes here after Harry opted to withdraw before the cross country at Badminton. There’ll be no problems with muddy ground here in Luhmuhlen though.

Hot form 🔥 Harry is currently sitting in second place for cross country jump clears in British eventing – 51 out of 55 runs this year.

Not just an event rider… Harry delivered his son at home when baby Charlie refused to wait for the ambulance to arrive. If he decides to hang up his riding boots, perhaps there’s a career as a midwife waiting for him! 🍼

They scored 26.9 in the dressage at Badminton. What will it be today?

This test is all looking as accurate as we’d expect from Harry – very neat and tidy.

Harry’s very brave in the extended trot.

Tenareze drags his legs a bit in the rein back but he’s relaxed in the walk. The extended walk is particularly good. Tenareze anticipates the changes a bit but they’re clean and the stretch circle is a good as the extended walk.

There’s lots to like here, but a couple of tiny blips. Harry’s riding the horse that’s underneath him and using all his experience to get the best out of the horse on the day. Lots of pats for Tenareze at the end.

Harry Meade and Tenareze score 31.

8:00 Austrian Olympian Lea Siegl will canter up the center line next with her Olympic and World Championship partner, DSP Fighting Line.

Olympic result! Lea and ‘Fighty’ finished 15th individually at Tokyo 2020, where she was the youngest competitor.

In the genes – Lea’s dad also competed at the Olympics in eventing.

They’ve started off this season in fabulous form, winning the 4*-S at Montelibretti with a dressage of 24.5. Will this great form continue here?

Oh oh… Fighty waves at the judges rather than halting and saluting. He is looking hot, hot, hot.

Lea does a superb job at keeping her cool – for such a young rider she’s riding very maturely in a difficult situation. She gets him back quickly and he relaxes better in the trot – she’s even brave enough to push for the extended.

The excitement’s back for the walk. Lea keeps him together though. He’s very ready to get into canter but she gets him back again.

Phew! A beautiful square halt to finish what’s been a difficult test for Lea. Fighty’s still living it up after he’s left the arena. He’s totally full of himself and is certainly fit and ready for cross country.

Lea Siegl and DSP Fighting Line score 39.9.

7:52 French rider Florian Ganneval and Blue Bird de Beaufour are next up for France.

Florian’s an amateur rider and full-time farrier.

Did you know? Blue Bird de Beaufour is a stallion.

This is the pair’s third 5* together, and their first outside France.

They posted a 36.1 at Pau lat year. What will it be at Luhmuhlen?

Blue Bird de Beaufour is clean and accurate in the trot work and delivers a lovely square halt at C.

This horse is, according to Florian, a bit lazy by nature and we can see that in the walk work. It’s clean but could he be more in front of the leg.

There’s a bit of a stumble in the corner which affects the first change, but the second change is better.

Oh no! Florian’s forgotten the stretch circle. He goes back and corrects himself but misses the change afterwards. The final change is better though.

Florian Ganneval and Blue Bird de Beaufour score 36.3.

7:45 First into the ring is Great Britain’s Will Rawlin whose partner is The Partner.

Rookie alert! This is a first 5* for both Will and his partner.

Did you know? You can be a parter of The Partner through the Event Horse Owners Syndicate.

In the barn… Contrary to his name, The Partner prefers to go it alone and would much rather he didn’t have a neighbor in the stall next door.

They’ve scored everything from 30.7 to 37.4 at 4* – where will they slot in at 5*?

The Partner’s a bit fragile in the bridle sometimes. He misses the first change but Will gets him back quickly. The next change is better.

The Partner really enjoys the stretch circle.

Overall this test isn’t without mistakes, but there is some lovely work on show.

Will Rawlin and The Partner score 36.5.