CHRIS BURTON EVENTING

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Boekelo

In apprehension of catching the 5 o’clock ferry to Boekelo, I found myself lying in bed trying to sleep. We have already had a mammoth day getting everything ready, and I have left poor Elena, my wonder Groom, to finish packing the truck at 10:00 at night so I could try and get some sleep. The alarm goes off at 1:30am and I haven’t slept a wink. It’s a 4 ½ hour drive to the ferry at Dover and I did manage to catch some Z’s when we got on. We did have to do some people smuggling though, as Elena was so run into the ground that she forgot her Passport.

Boekelo is sponsored by Grouls and the Dutch really do know how to turn it on. There were parties for the riders, grooms, and owners every night with free food and drink being a plus. Everywhere we went the organizers were very accommodating, especially towards the riders.

Underdiscussion drew first to go of our horses on the Thursday and didn’t disappoint to shoot into the lead on a 43. I do believe that if my top boots and saddle weren’t quite so slippery due to the torrent of rain that fell on us during the warmup, I could have been able to better sit the trot, hence not have skipped in that medium trot and been able to ride for more in the extended trot.  Whilst I was happy with him, I know this horse can do a much better test.

Harry warmed up beautifully for his test and just as we finished our trot work in the ring the heavens opened and it bucketed on us.  He rightfully turned his bum into the rain at the halt, and to show that he was equally disappointed in the weather as I was, he shook his head and squealed all through the canter work, costing us valuable marks, so unlucky.

Although Mel had a few little problems on course, his gallop and endurance were quite outstanding on the 10 minute 30 sec track through mud.  He finished the course full of running and when we pulled up he wouldn’t have been able to blow a candle out.

Haruzac’s bad luck with the weather continued, this time with rain and hail in the warm up. In fact, as I galloped towards fence 2 I couldn’t even see where I was going. Luckily Harry had seen it and by chance there was a distance there. This horse/machine made light work of Sue Benson’s stupid cross country questions and finished the course 3 seconds inside the time, although on screen people commented that he looked as if he wasn’t going fast at all.

Elena was very pleased with my day’s work as both horse pulled up unscathed and needed minimal treatment on cross-country night.

Mel had a beautiful show jumping round showing everyone how careful and clever he is. We did pick up a few time penalties for jumping a flowing controlled round, something I believe should be abolished in our sport as they have already demonstrated their speed the day before.

Biggest disappointment of the weekend came when Haruzac had two verticals down in the show jumping. This is so devastating on such a careful jumper after he worked so hard to gain a good position after cross-country.  All I can say is I’m sorry and wish it hadn’t had happened. I do firmly believe that these two superstars will get their moment of glory.

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