Burnham Market International.

Burnham Market International.

The crew travelled up to Burnham Market on Thursday with 7 horses to stable on site and to work that afternoon.  Otis and Abel were also up for an away trip and for the first time in living memory it was sunny and warm in Norfolk in April. Burnham has no hook up for the trucks so cold is normally the real enemy here!

The only horse to compete on Thursday was Gurtera Jimmy Clover with Tim in the 3*S dressage.  Jimmy is not a flashy dressage pony but he is correct and hard working and a score of 31 in his first start at this level more than credible.  These are massive sections at Burnham with the International classes running alongside the National classes and Jimmy got to stand down on Friday and watch the other horses go as his jumping phases don’t start til Saturday.

Good Friday morning dawned misty and cool but the sun soon broke through and people were spotted wearing T shirts out on course.  T shirts rarely make an appearance on the Norfolk coast until early August with a short run through to the 15th August swiftly followed by winter.

The OI sections were first up and Tim and Happy Boy were on great form with a 27 dressage, a confident clear and after a sticky run through the first water a really classy cross country.  Happy is bold but careful and his run through the very tough corner to narrow angled brush over a gaping ditch (with a very open run off path to the right available to any combination that either didn’t make the distance or veered off line) was pure class and he galloped home looking every inch the future champion.  He picked up 8 time for 5th spot.

By the time Coup de Coeur Dudevin (Joker) had posted a 32 dressage and left all the poles in the cups showjumping it was becoming clear that the first water was quite the bogey fence.  The fence in the middle of the water was a raised box with a gap below and some rather garish green plastic plants on top.  It looked fairly innocuous but had very few smooth jumps throughout both sections!  Happy had rather backed up at it and the big striding Joker, who Tim was expecting to go on 4 suddenly chipped in for 5 and with a superhuman effort snapped his front legs in the air and helicoptered over the fence in the most unseating leap.  Tim, true to form, stayed put in the saddle and they jumped the C part out on the bank and both looked a tad bemused as to what had happened.  The rest of the round was as classy as Happy’s and with his big stride Joker effortlessly made the time Tim wasn’t chasing to finish on his dressage score for 3rd.

Jonelle described the advanced track as a genuinely proper pre Badminton track with good forward distances in some of the really decent combinations so therefore a big ask for the greener ones but with educational questions.  Faerie Magnifico (George) was tackling his third advanced track and his first of 2022.  His ability on the flat was marred by his decision to buck in both the walk to canter and the first change which left him on a score of 34.  He did showjumping incredibly well for a clear and Jonelle set off in positive mode cross country with George fully up for the challenge.  He added a clever stride to have no problems at the first water and Jonelle quite wisely optioned the massive question of the corner and skinny over the ditch as that could perhaps have been one forward distance too many for George on his learning curve.  They did pick up a technical 20 at the second water where Jonelle rode a forward stride in and then when George jumped in very boldly found herself on the wrong line to turn to the skinny out which came up a very quick three strides after the big drop.  She turned a circle to pick up the 20 and then they cruised home taking all the questions in their stride.

Killbunny Andy scored a 33 in his first advanced of the year and rolled a pole in the jumping.  They set out on course with Andy eating up the forward distances as you would expect as he is a big horse with a forward mindset.  Jonelle is never afraid to educate on track and she attempted the tough ask at the corner to the ditch and Andy just doubted himself at the last minute for a run out before being re presented at less of an angle to understand the question and come home comfortably over the rest of the track.  As Jonelle said, her two learnt allot from the course and she was happy with them both.

Tim and Xavier Faer ( Hugo) scored a 29 in their advanced and rolled their first pole of the season before heading out on their last pre Badminton run.  Hugo, with his massive stride, had no problems at the first water but then did do a bit of Hugo-Gawping and made Tim sit down and ride a bit!  It is no surprise…Fairhill was last October so a very long way from Hugo’s short term memory and it will have set him up beautifully for Badminton.

Ringwood Sky Boy is so super experienced that nothing really takes him by surprise these days. He has 17 five star starts under his belt plus an Olympic Games so nothing Alec Lahore’s team thought up at Burnham was going to phase him. A 28 and a clear round showjumping was followed by an effortless round cross country.  He still had to have his wits about him though and it was a perfect step up in size and distance before his 6th Badminton start in a couple of weeks.

Jimmy and Tim show jumped clear in their first International together and headed out cross country in the Saturday morning sunshine.  Jimmy jumped the first combination down the hill looking super smart and when he came around to the first water and saw the bogey flower box (yup, same fence for all classes!) he dropped back to trot.  Having had a variety of distances to and from the box Tim kept his leg on and his focus and Jimmy trotted to the base and then halted!  Jimmy then jumped it beautifully in canter and popped neatly around the rest of the tricky 3 star track without a bother.  As Tim says, he really wants to be an event horse!  The 3 star caused havoc with over a quarter of the field having jump faults which does mean that Jimmy learnt allot on his way around and he jumped all the difficult stuff with ease which bodes well for the future.

Half an Easter weekend off at least!  It’s been a busy time with Larkhill and South of England last week, squad Training at Hickstead with Trevor Breen and 10 horses between them on Wednesday and a trip to Norfolk.  It’s that crazy mad time of year but my oh my, it really does make it so much more fun when the sun shines.