Thursday, September 2, 2010

Burghley - The Trot Up and Thoughts on the XC Course by Michael Pollard

Will passed the vet inspection with flying colors yesterday, and our dressage is this afternoon. I rode him in the main arena following the inspection, and although he got a bit tense in a few moments, I believe he will come out well today. I also walked the cross country several times yesterday, and I think it is certainly big enough! I have walked the course in years past, but as most eventers know it always adds about six inches to every fence when you actually are going to ride. All in all, I feel Will and I are up to the challenge, but really every fence needs to be ridden well. I had the good fortune of going around the course once with Andrew Hoy, who made some interesting points. In particular, he pointed to the ground at every fence and how your line at Burghley can so easily distract you if get caught in the numerous humps and bumps in front of so many of the fences. He also talked about the "art" of using the terrain here, to go around quickly without completely exhausting the horse. I will probably need to walk around at least two more times, but at this point I believe I will plan to go straight at all the major fences. Obviously, this can be adjusted based on how the course is riding and how Will is feeling, but everything looks doable...albeit relentless.

The people here have been incredibly welcoming and Katie and I have met a few new friends. I am really looking forward to Nathalie's arrival this afternoon. I just hope she won't cry when she sees our is rather basic. Hope everyone at home is doing well...more to come later!

- Michael

Photo of Caroline Powell 2009 Burghley

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