Beware the Tides of March: Burnham Market from Behind the Lens

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class down the final centreline. #mudbanter

‘Another one bites the dust’, one might say – if there was any dust left to metaphorically bite on this floating island of mud. The first rule of journalism is that you should never talk about the weather; so far this season, it’s unfortunately the only story we keep being given to work with. After two days of cracking competition at Burnham Market International, the clouds well and truly threw their toys out of the pram and unleashed a tantrum across Norfolk. Within an hour of the end of competition yesterday the surrounding roads had begun to flood. It wasn’t looking promising, but the Musketeer, the team behind the event, weren’t prepared to go down without a fight.

To their eternal credit, they had done a marvellous job. The ground onsite was the best it could possibly be for such a difficult spring, and even the heavily trafficked warm-up areas still had some grass cover after two days of constant use. But when the weather breaks, it really breaks, and despite a long night of fence moving, reroping, and ground maintenance, the team had to make the difficult decision to abandon the rest of the competition early this morning. All eyes will now be on Belton in two weeks’ time, which will be the last chance for a CIC3* run for our Badminton-bound combinations.

It’s easy to get the blues when your horses are fit, well, and popping out personal bests between the boards, but eventers are a creative bunch, and many found alternative uses for their unplanned days off. Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift enjoyed a schooling session over part of the course…

Holly Woodhead resorted to bribery…

…and Emily King organised a spa day.

When the CIC*** at a show has been abandoned.. rolling in the mud is the only way forward..

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Instead of rueing what could have been, let’s embrace what was, with some shots from the ground from the last two days of competition.

Morning schooling sessions in the sunshine belied the precipitous turn to come. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Ben Hobday served what can only be described as a #LOOK as he schooled Shadow Man in the world’s most impractically fluffy jumper. If it works, it works, I suppose. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Meanwhile, Oliver Townend practiced his Blue Steel aboard Coldplay III. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Young rider Mollie Summerland and Charly Van Ter Heiden cruise through the OI water…

…and pop neatly over the cascade. Photos by Tilly Berendt.

Emma Hyslop-Webb and Ducati II in the Intermediate. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Dee Hankey and Chequers Playboy strut their stuff in their CIC3* test. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

A quiet moment whilst schooling. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Blyth Tait and Dassett Courage post a 36 in the CIC3*. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Alex Hua Tian and CIC2* entrant PSH Convivial. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Not just horses: Burnham Market featured varied crowd-pleasers, including a falconry display. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Sit tight: Bill Levett and This Ones On You take a stride out through the Intermediate water. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Ludwig Svennerstal gives Balham Mist a leg-stretch ahead of what should have been a Saturday CIC3* test. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Bill Levett and Badminton mount Alexander NJ complete their CIC3* test for a mark of 27.2. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

All smiles from Blyth Tait. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

American rider Christina Henriksen and Sierra warm up for their BE100 section. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Kevin McNab and Casperelli perform a smart test for 27.2 in the CIC3*. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Andrew Nicholson pilots Yacabo BK, his 2017 Le Lion CCI2* entrant, in the CIC3*. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Jonty Evans and CIC3* debutante Clara M. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Busy Izzy indeed – with 11 entered at the event, Izzy Taylor was seldom seen off a horse. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Tina Cook and Calvino II finish 7th in the Advanced. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Jonty Evans schools Cooley Rorkes Drift. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Izzy Taylor’s Direct Tullyoran Cruise practices some unconventional dance moves ahead of his test. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

A great test from Bulana leaves Nicola Wilson beaming. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

A plea to the weather: please, just sort it out. Until next time, folks – perhaps we’ll see a competition through yet this season!