With our entry confirmed for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, where we are drawn no. 97, preparations are now fully underway and have stepped up the fitness work with Last Touch that has incorporated regular visits to the gallops together with grid and pole work in the school, a fun and easy cross country school at Attington Stud and together with the dressage sessions with Tracie Robinson, where he has been working hard, are all good for his anaerobic fitness and while we are careful not to overwork him, he does need to be as fit as he can to cope with the famous Burghley undulations. We also adhere to the old motto ‘prevention is better than cure’ and have been taking Jack to use the ECB cold saltwater spa that relieves any potential joint swelling and stiffness, like many elite athletes who use an ice bath after strenuous exercise to aid their recovery.

I was asked to teach at the Heythrop Pony Club camp which I thoroughly enjoyed as not only is it satisfying to give something back to the younger generation, but I remember how much I got out of being at Pony Club camp and where the love of riding and learning stemmed from. In between my teaching I attended the wedding of Izzi Djivanovic to James Best, a National Hunt jockey. Izzi used to event and in fact I bought Billy Buzz from her, my first event horse after finishing on ponies. Billy Buzz gave me lots of experience at 2 star level and is now our foundation broodmare with a yearling filly by Cevin Z.

With Bicton Arena sadly cancelled, we headed to Aston le Walls with Jack and Cooley Enno, with Enno excelling himself by coming 2nd in a strong Intermediate section, posting a 28 dressage and a double clear – I could not have been more thrilled with him. The dressage lessons with Tracie are definitely paying off as Jack scored 25.2 in the OI class that put him in 4th position after dressage, without an annoying 4 penalties in the show jumping we would have finished in the top ten, as Jack was his usual super self cross-country.

Cosmos du Figuier stepped up to Novice with his first run at this level at West Wilts where he performed a lovely dressage test, just rolled a pole in the show jumping and although a little green in places on the cross-country course he was very honest and genuine and I could not be more thrilled with this exciting young horse.

Jack’s last prep run before Burghley was at Somerford Park, where along with Cooley Enno ran in the CIC**.

After Somerford, Jack had a few easy days to let him fully recover, before our final training sessions leading up to our departure for Burghley. Fingers crossed in my next blog I can write what an amazing experience our first CCI**** was!