CHRIS BURTON EVENTING

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The Tomtom said 34 minutes…

With Graf Liberty the only horse on the big truck (lorry), we shot off to discover our most local event. Anyone who knows Dorset will know there’s a few hills round the place that aren’t suitable for HGV’s and anyone who has followed the instructions of a Tomtom before will know they are very insistent upon taking you down the narrowest country lanes they can find. Tomtom and I were getting on well until he faced us at a lane we simply couldn’t fit down and when I pulled over to scratch my head the gentleman in the car behind knew I was looking for the Portman One Day Event. Little did I know that the gentleman was not gentlemanly at all and in actual fact had quite a sick sense of humor as he gave us directions for the back entrance of the event.

This landed my large truck stuck, smack bang in the middle of the cross country course. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t been parked in the middle of combination 12a and b and holding the start of the cross country up. The ground staff were very helpful and jumped to attention after it was announced on the loud speaker, ‘Could the large red lorry please vacate the cross country course.’ We then had to do a drive of shame down past the show jumping and get a gate unlocked to get into the truck park.

Fortunately Graf Liberty ( Danny) picked my day up quite alot and scored a 26 in his first novice and had a silly rail down show jumping. I then looked even sillier when I decided to run cross country early and beat the imposing rain storm. Danny didn’t appreciate the hail one little bit but luckily the course was put on hold, not lucky for my underpants though which ended up soaking wet. He gave me a sensational ride on course, finished four seconds inside the time and I dismounted just as the sun came out.

The humor didn’t stop there as my listening skills failed me when I asked local navigator big Sam Griffiths for directions home. I ended up taking my 18 tonne truck down the aptly named zigzag hill which I’d just been told to avoid. When I got there I realized why I was meant to avoid it as I had to do 3 point turns in every corner and ended up with a line of cars behind me ten miles long. Fortunately the first car in the queue was a very patient old lady who must have admired my manoeuvre abilities and blew me a kiss when I could finally let her past.

Let’s hope my trip to Weston this weekend, some 4 hours away, is not quite as disastrous.

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