This is what this year has been all about –taking Tigga (Fleet Street) to the biggest and best Event in the world. Sorry Badminton, but since you insist on 3* placings for horses who won’t stay calm in the dressage, you have to be relegated to second place though I might change my mind if you let us in next year.
So, as usual, Team Fox have had a stunning preparation. The programme was Aston Advanced,
followed by Hartpury CIC3* and because of a split hoof we missed the first and only went as far as the water at the second. Performance was par for the course; beautiful warm-up for the dressage, all changes nailed, applause by the collecting ring spectators and complete and hideous fright at the first potted plant in the arena resulting in a tense 65 with the walk barely maintained. No surprises then and onto the show jumping where a rusty jockey missed a combination with brave horse ploughing through for 8 penalties. There was a pin repair on the cross country so we were held at the start. Have you ever sat on a horse trembling from head to toe in excitement for twenty minutes? It was like sitting on one of those road pounders that continually jigger up and down. I had a stitch; he must have had one too. Then onto the course and wow, in our element, we flew everything. Stopping after the water at fence 7, the judge asked us why since he said and I quote “That is the best we have seen all day”.
Mother, with her notable lack of sympathy, showed me the Burghley course walk on YouTube. If she imagines that two blokes jumping over and through the fences makes me feel any better, she has misunderstood me for the past 29 years. So I went back to getting the qualifications for the Juniors on their way to Osberton. It gives great satisfaction and a good deal of confidence to jump four clears at the favourite West Wilts with a rather wild bunch of hooligans though Herself was ensconced in Scoring (and didn’t knock off the occasional pole) the first day and was at a BE board meeting the next. She wouldn’t even tell me about the general view on our results in Rio, although I am sure you all feel as disappointed as I do. A massive well done to Charlotte and the dressage team and I simply adore Nick Skelton. I noticed a lot of stallions in the show jumping and I have to say that my lad Friendly Game, who popped neatly round the 1* at Hartpury deserves a lot of credit too.
So back to Burghley in the new lorry which has finally arrived in a stunning black with mega storage and a large fridge to store the required beverages and the odd snack. I plan to go up on Tuesday afternoon, which probably means late Wednesday morning, loaded up with all my Global herbs products, a stunning trot-up outfit from Beatrice von Treskow and the amazing Greg from Total Foot Care is coming to take care of the hoof if necessary on Saturday evening. I am planning to avoid arena familiarisation so Tigga doesn’t anticipate – this worked in Romania where he scored a special 49. I shall endlessly walk the cross country choosing the best route for both of us and since I am 12th in the running order, I won’t have time to change my mind. If all goes well, I will convince myself that the show jumps are definitely lower than the 1.25m class at Summerhouse and bingo Burghley completed.
Wish me luck ….