Burghley — Good & Bad

So the good was the dressage. It certainly could have been a much better test (it was veeeery windy, so we had a lot of spooks from the moving flowers), but what we did well we did very well. The judges gave us good marks and we ended in 7th place (out of 90) after dressage… not too shabby.
The not so good was the Cross Country. Arthur actually felt great and improved in many ways. He galloped much better than usual. I had to give him a good kick off the leaf pit (which everyone had to do), but he jumped down and locked onto the house at the bottom quite well. At Discovery Valley, the most influential question of the day, I tried to take the not so direct, direct route. The direct route was causing tons of problems, and Amy and Buck were successful at jumping the smaller ditch on the left hand side with a very tight right turn to the brush and then onto the last chest. So I gave that a crack too. It seemed like a much safer route that wouldn’t cost as much time as the proper long route. I was concerned about making the tight right hand turn after the ditch so I thought I would let him jump the ditch as quietly as I could get away with in order to make the turn easier. This plan backfired as he ended up getting behind my leg and giving me a good hard spook at the ditch. We did make the right hand turn, but he stopped at the brush!!! Argghh! Not the sort of lead up you want going into the trout hatchery. I had to ride him quite hard into the Trout Hatchery (the water jump), he did jump in and then jumped through the rest of the waters just fine. He then did a number of very difficult jumps quite well, but when we got to the Dairy Mound, he gave me a huge spook at an ornamental white goose on the way to the first corner causing us to loose our line. He never actually looked at the corner, just ran past it… serious bummer. We then popped around the long route there easily and continued on. He was very good at Capability’s Cutting, and we had a great ride at the GINORMO (my name for it) white oxer at the bottom of the hill. We then went onto the next series of jumps and he slammed on the brakes two strides away from The Cascades (a ditch and wall which also is a water fall). He honestly had never seen anything like it and it scared the crap out of him. He did not register that it was a jump at all. Everyone says that at that stage in the game the horses don’t think anything of it and they pop right over it — Arthur thought a lot of it. I took my time to keep walking past it until he would walk next to it, but it really freaked him out. So that was three stops and we were eliminated. A serious bummer and bad way to end the day. Fortunately, he was not tired (it was not like he stopped because he was exhausted), he is very sound and he didn’t come back to the barn with his feelings hurt. He was not over faced in anyway and he didn’t jump any fences in a way that would scare him, so I am certain he did not lose any confidence today. I do know that I learned a ton about my horse and that I know what it is like to ride at Burghley. I am disappointed that I didn’t ride harder in the beginning of the course, because I feel like it is inexcusable to have allowed us to get a 20 at the Discovery Valley. I am a bit disappointed that the only times he bahaved spooky on course, cost us dearly. I really do feel like he was much better galloping today and overall a much less spooky horse than what he has been in the past, however, the few times he did spook just ended up being not good at all. I know I have a top horse. He is not easy, but I believe in him and know that his best is yet to come. I need to keep exposing him to these situations and make the results in these situations better ones.


  1. Hey Springer- the things worth working for are never easy…. as you’ve so reminded me many times. I am so proud of you and Arthur – you’ll be back to fight another day. -carrie

  2. That course sounds brutal!! I can’t imagine jumping a water fall. Tell Arthur I don’t blame him for spooking. Seriously, really sorry to hear about the troubles, but can say that an experience at that level is so important for his development and maturity facing all kinds of different situations. Proud of you for your courage and confidence in your great horse and your ability to make it all happen!!. Keep up the good work. You have a huge fan club back home! Love, Barb

  3. Al, I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was look up how things were going in England. I’m sorry to hear about XC. You two are exceptional and will continue to grow and become the best that the world has ever seen. Keep up the good work and give Arthur a kiss on the muzzle for me! xoxox.

  4. So glad to get the news and know you and Arthur are in good form for another day.

  5. Well done today at Blenheim! Wish I were still there to celebrate with you. When you get back and have time, do a little digging on the anatomy/placement of the horse’s eye as it relates to inherent “spookiness,” when the 180 vision is affected. I’m not sure how much merit it has, but when we were chatting on Thursday at Burghley I did notice his [big beautiful] eyes seem to be set a little forward/toward the front of his head. I will try to find a reference for the studies. I’m such a geek like that.

  6. Hi Allison! First of all, Great Job in the dressage!! You must be really proud to have finished 7th there, especially on such a nasty day. Sorry about the bad timing on the spooking, but can’t blame him on the waterfall/wall! Sounds like you have both come out of it no worse for wear – Much better luck at Blenheim and I pray for no more waterfalls! Take care & enjoy yourself. C