This week was all about competing at Burnham Market

Final Preparations:

Both horses had their last gallop before their competition at Burnham Market on Monday  - this gave them enough time to recover before they ran xc at the weekend. They both felt in good shape and Vinnie worked particularly well and Conquer did once he settled.  Conquer always takes a while to warm up and work correctly on the gallops. Tuesday was spent collecting everything together to put into the lorry on Wednesday - wish we had packed the lorry on Tuesday as it was a dry day and Wednesday turned out to be ANOTHER horrifically wet day.  Martyn Richardson came to shoe Vinnie on Wednesday, check Conquers and shoe a couple of others.


Vinnie was feeling the best he has felt - and having not competed for a while due to injury I weirdly felt no pressure considering neither of us had competed at this level before. It was a big ask to go straight in to an advanced competition and there aren’t many horses you can do that with - it wasn’t our first choice but Lincoln had been cancelled and sometimes you gotta do what you’ve gotta do!!! And the calculated decision paid off with a fresh dressage and double clear which Vinnie gave me the most amazing run and made it feel  like child's play. A great start - he has come out of it well and now we look forward to 3* at Belton in two weeks.

The weekend was made easier by having great friends and family who had come over to support which always creates a lot of banter and distraction from getting nervous.  Mum Dad and Missy had the luxury of a hotel while I froze in the lorry with the dogs - however the dogs made quite good hot water bottles and luckily didn’t move around much!!!!

It’s always great to share these competitions with everyone.

Kate did a great job of looking after the horses while we were away and we are very grateful for that.

Lesson Learnt/Lows

Don’t turn up to a competition in the dark unless you have to!!!! I had decided to ride all 6 horses  before we left and therefore left later than originally planned and in the process got soaked to the skin - which feels the norm for this winter.  We had not got in any extra help during the day which definitely backfired!!!! As we left late we hit all the traffic and a 31/2 hour journey took us 5 hours.  We arrived at Burnham Market at 8.30 pm and then had to unload the horses and settle them in - the stables were temporary stables and therefore the lighting was non - existent!! Beds had to be put down and then settle them in and take all the necessary kit to the stables.  By this time it was 10.30pm and supper still to be had!!! At 11.30pm we had had enough - shut the door on the back of the lorry and planned to get up early to sort the chaos - which we did.

When  dressage warm ups don’t go to plan - sometimes you have to stop trying to be correct in everything you are doing and just ride. This happened with Conquer who just didn’t want to play at his first event and I couldn’t get him to relax through correct working  - we were heading for a disastrous test and even contemplated withdrawing. However, I managed to rescue the situation at the 11th hour and somehow managed to get a ½ decent test. Never give up.

The real disappointment was that Conquers competition was then abandoned on his SJ and XC day due to the hours of torrential rain the night before.  This leaves him in April still not having had a run - We have decided to do a horse change at Larkhill so that he at least might get a novice run before the 2* at Belton - if the weather lets us!!!


Easter Day

Funnily enough - this is a normal day with horses!!! - All were ridden and some felt fresher than others having had a couple of days off!!! I find that with most horses it does them no harm to have more than 1 day off at a time occasionally and quite often they feel much better for it.  As poor compensation for not running at Burnham Conquer had a good canter at the gallops to celebrate Easter Day!!!


As well as going to the gym on my own I have booked in for some extra sessions with Adam to make sure I keep on the right track as I feel there is still more work to be done. - I definitely felt much more balanced SJ and Xc  at the weekend which is very encouraging.


Lindsey Hopkinson