GBR-Tom McEwen rides in the Burghley Young Event Horse Final. 2019 GBR-Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Friday 6 September. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

A slightly belated Gatcombe post so apologies… last Friday seems a while ago!

Living on site has both advantages and disadvantages as we have documented before but with 9 horses running over the weekend at least there was no spending hours in the truck! Star prize of the weekend goes to Lordships Graffalo ( Walter) who ran 3rd in the huge CI3*S section which caused plenty of problems with some really experienced advanced horses saying no thank you to the one stride drop into the water.  Walter scored a 31 on the flat and a double clear just adding 5.2 time was good enough for a podium finish. ( Not that there is actually a podium at Little Gatcombe!).  Hot on his heels came Brookfield Benjamin Bounce who has shown such consistency this season with a double clear adding just 8.4 time to his 31 dressage.  Bob Chaplin was just over a point behind him with just 10 time to add to his 30.7 dressage so it was a good McEwen representation in the top 10!  Having three double clears in that section was also really satisfying as after the cross country on Sunday morning the horses have a jog followed by the showjumping in the afternoon which is never the easiest thing to do.

MHS Pop Star ( Jack) may only be 5 but he already has a few novices under his belt and after sauntering around the Burghley Young Event Horse Class (See photo above)  he enjoyed a spin in his back paddock enormously. A 32, a rail in the spooky and buzzy showjumping arena ( not that Jack is afraid of anything!) and a steady round cross country was yet another tick in the box for this lovely young horse. Royal Spring (Ralph) was a total superstar and added nothing to his 27 dressage to end in 4th in a very competitive novice section and showed he is more than happy to compete on home soil!

The intermediates ran on the Friday and Figaro van het Broekxhof ( Fig) put up a good performance for a 29 and just 10 time added for 4th spot in his OI.  Dream Big ( Dreamy) scored a very respectable 33 in her OI but then added 8 jumping and a hesitation at the Leaf Pit drop ( a baby brother to the Burghley one!) which is quite the opposite of her usual form where she travels up the scoreboard after dressage!  Coilibri de Riverland and Cassiana de Riverland are both gaining experience at intermediate level this season and they posted similar scores with nice tests, a rail each and clear cross country rounds to finish 15th and 17th in their sections.

There are many things we will miss about Little Gatcombe…the showjumping arena, the beautiful setting, the friendly team that run it but I don’t think anyone will miss the intermediate water complex!  It simply never jumps well whether you are watching a young horse or a really experienced advanced horse.  It’s great that we will all be back next summer for the Magic Millions Festival of Eventing in the main bowl and good to know that Cirencester Park is stepping up to keep a local spring and autumn venue going for us all.  Many thanks to the Princess Royal who has so generously given us the run of her estate for so many years.