Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An American at Burghley: Arrival Day by Michael Pollard

Burghley arrival:

I have finally made it to Burghley 2010 after quite a journey. Though my season and trip have not gone fully to plan thus far, I am happy to report that Wonderful Will has arrived here in good health and form. As the only American competing here this week any blog reports had only to come from me, and in an election with one contestant I can usually come out on top. So, I will be sending along some commentary to PRO, and I hope that it will be enjoyable and filled with great news!!

It has always been a dream to compete at Burghley, and although it was not foreseen in the beginning of my trip to Europe to compete here, I am nonetheless thrilled to have the opportunity. My biggest goal is to produce three good days of competition this week. If I can achieve this I should be competitive. Will and I have been helped immensely by Bettina Hoy, who graciously helped keep Will in work while I went back and forth home to America, and I hope to be able to produce the results of that work while here. Thank you for your support back home, see you all soon.

Trip and arrival:

Will has been stabled at the German equivalent to the USET headquarters in Warendorf following his abcess on the Saturday of Luhmuhlen. The trip from there to Burghley I thought would take about seven hours on the continent, two on ferry, and five once on the British side. I left at 5 pm on Sunday with the hope to limit the amount of traffic I would face. The drive was uneventful until the ferry crossing.

The company who I had booked with would not take me across because they said it was too rough for horses. I have to admit here that the wind was perhaps blowing...a bit. It was suggested to try the other agency, as they are more "relaxed". I was not 100 percent sure that this was the description I wanted associated with the boat that would take me across the channel...in the middle of the night... in a significant wind storm, but I am nothing if not adventurous (stupid).
The new ferry company agreed to take us, but only if we understood that they had no liability. I am not exactly sure how this agreement would have helped either party had we sunk, but I told them that I believed Will would be fine and so we boarded.

The sea was very rough. We were sIx stories up, and the spray from waves were still regularly soaking the deck. The boat was swaying to the point that it was not possible to stand, and although I was not sick, there were more than a few green faces. Safely on land two hours later, roughly 1 am local time, I began the drive up to Stamford. This took considerably less time than predicted, presumably because of a lack of traffic, and I only drove on the incorrect side of the road once (I considered this a decent attempt due to the fact I was driving a left hand drive car).

When I arrived at Burghley it was quite unfortunate that all the gates were locked. Will and I caught some sleep for a little less than two hours until the morning staff started to arrive. We acted like we knew where we were going and they let us in without too many questions. Proceeded to get Will taken care of (luckily he is a pretty chill dude and handled the whole experience quite easily) and went to sleep (7am). We went for a hack at around four that afternoon, and after another good night sleep, I think we are both feeling pretty good. Our groom, Katie Thornton, gets in shortly, so I need to run, but will keep you updated as things progress.


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