Here at EN, there are few things we love more than a Harveywetdog video. It doesn’t get much more comprehensive, really – you get to see every rider, and you get to see multiple angles and several different approaches at every fence. For me, as an eventer in the UK, his back-catalogue is a unique and useful way for me to pick new courses to run at, and it’s also a great – and totally free! – way to learn from the comfort of my sofa.
So when David and I crossed paths in the media centre at the NAF International Hartpury Horse Trials, I was delighted – the stage was set for a hard-fought competition over a relentlessly tough course, and I welcomed the opportunity to be able to analyse it more closely after the fact.
Now that we’ve well and truly closed the book on Hartpury, we know how it all played out – and to no one’s surprise, it was hugely influential. Hartpury may ‘only’ be a CCI4*-S, but it’s very much designed with a certain autumn five-star in mind, and course designer Eric Winter ensures that horses and riders are thinking positively from the word go. Like Burghley, it’s a test of stamina and balance, making use of the undulations of the Gloucestershire countryside, and like Burghley, it doesn’t shy away from using maximum dimensions to really get horses in the air. Many of the horses we saw tackle it are entered for major long formats in the coming month or so, and so it provided an invaluable opportunity to watch them run and get an idea of their form as we head into autumn.
But it would be rude of me not to share the wealth, wouldn’t it? So pour yourself a glass of wine, settle in, and check out some of the world’s best horses over one of the summer’s beefiest four-stars. (And yes, you’ll get to see that fence – and you’ll get to see some of our chosen riders jump it, too!) Don’t forget to give David’s Facebook page a ‘like’, particularly if you’re based outside of the UK and want an incomparable insight into what we get up to on these shores.