CHRIS BURTON EVENTING

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Saumur

I really don’t know what to say about this one. Sometimes you just have a dream run.

We arrived in Saumur with Holstein Park Leilani and Haruzac, both fitter than any horses I’ve ever prepared for a three day event. The local word was to watch for pine cones falling on your head in the pine forest on cross country, avoid the poisonous caterpillars in the grass whilst grazing and beware the biting midges. Those little bugs made the Wednesday very hard for me to work them on the flat. Come Haruzac’s dressage on Thursday, a little bit of rain and wind was enough to chase them all away and he did without a doubt the best test I’ve done on him to date. He had a little trip in the extended trot which was nobody’s fault but the only blemish in what, to my mind, was a harshly judged and close to perfect test. Lani came out the following afternoon and showed everyone how experienced she is, getting 8’s for her entry and halt and awesome flying changes. This beautiful mare really knows her job now.

It was so nice to have the fantastic support from my amazing owners. Jean and Herman were there to watch Leilani, and Alan and Cher alongside Haruzac. Their support was duly noted as everything I asked for got delivered. I was especially grateful for the rain that fell to wet down the heavy sand and made the going on cross country a little bit faster, especially up the long hills.

As event riders, our biggest fear that makes us nervous is stuffing up and ruining all that hard work we put in for this date. Luckily I had two dream runs. Haruzac went out early and held the fastest time of the day until the fire-breathing red head cross country machine, Leilani, got wind of it and put the boys in their place, going two seconds faster than Harry around a course that proved very difficult to make time. It is rare that you get such a good run but both horses pulled up fit, sound and blemish free which meant super groom Elena could have an early night and Lani and Harry had a good nights rest.

The rain continued to fall as we trotted up in a downpour on Sunday morning, which you would think I would be used to after the weather we have had in England lately. However, my very supportive owners made sure the rain stopped for the start of the 3* Jumping. Thanks again guys. The going at Saumur was very sandy and the ground held up all day. Haruzac jumped one of his beautiful clear rounds and because he was feeling so well, did it in spectacular style and kicked the sky in. Last to jump was Lani. She likes to find herself in this position these days. She jumped beautifully until I got too far off the combination at the end and had the vertical down on the way out. All my fault, sorry Princess.

I was not sure what this meant, couldn’t believe my eyes to see my name first and second on the score board as I finished the round.

I don’t really believe in superstitions but Alan, Harry’s owner, may have changed my mind with a seemingly powerful pink shirt. Alan has worn this shirt whilst watching Harry jump to victory in a number of three day events at pre novice, 1*, 2* and 3* level. Either that shirt means something, or Harry is just a bloody good horse. Whatever the answer I am very lucky to have both him and Lani, thanks guys!

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