Have you ever been interested in what it's like to compete in the Burghley Young Event Horse Final? Or what it is like to qualify 6 four year olds for the class!
Read all about Ginnie Turnbull's preparations in the run up to the event and competing at the final.
I am so proud this year to have 6 lovely four year olds qualified for the final, two of which are homebred!
All of the babies came to be broken in at the end of 2021 and have changed so much as the year has progressed. They are very different characters, some “larger than life” and some more studious and cautious. They make us laugh with their different approaches to both training and competition!
I have been holding on to my neck strap at times and equally applied the old “pony club kick” at key moments!
Physically it is hard for them, so they have all had mini breaks through the season, whilst we try and work their education into more intense periods, mixed in with plenty of hacking and old-fashioned fieldwork with ditches and undulations.
We even painted one of our XC jumps into a “shiny, glossy, Mahogany” replica of the normal first xc jump. I have had several altercations with that particular jump so have developed an obsession with practising for it!!
The vague hope is not too much humiliation but more importantly a brilliant day, with wonderful, supportive owners and a truly gorgeous bunch of babies. I may need my parachute and definitely my sense of humour!
On the Day
This year, the BYEH organisers decided to change the timetable and put the 4-year-olds in the afternoon. Although I can recall them running in that order before, it is unusual. It also means that those lovely babies’ first experience of the occasion is with a packed-out crowd!
I was so lucky in the fact that I had qualified 6 really gorgeous babies, all of whom have now had some experience jumping at discovery level BS and also done their first ODE.
The one thing you never know is how much the atmosphere is going to affect them. As soon as you trot in, there are so many sights and sounds that they are unfamiliar with and that certainly affected them all. I was so thrilled with them and although one baby I retired for another day (just too much atmosphere for her), the others coped reasonably well, although were certainly very different to ride than they would normally be.
Each of these babies have such different characters. One a total supermodel, one a bit of a wide boy (!), one a “lady”, one a goofball, and one “jack the lad” who tends to be up for everything, although not necessarily being what’s asked of him! The final youngster is a complete “tomboy” who absolutely doesn’t know how to take a step backwards and would most certainly be first out of the trenches in the First World War!
I think I probably could have ridden them better, but honestly, the pride that Will and I have in them all and how attached we are to them is huge. We feel like hopefully they are now all ready to leave this “kindergarten” environment ready for the first year in “Prep School”, with their proper riders and that the foundations are now there. They all look amazing and are mentally confident and happy, having had regular learning breaks through the year.
Thankyou to the owners of these horses for trusting us with their development and generally making everything so much fun! Always a lot of laughter around - mainly aimed at Will!!!
A huge thank you to Allen & Page. All of my horses are fed on Allen & Page feeds which enables them to fill out, fatten up and develop slowly but whilst keeping their brain trainable and rideable. Over the years it has always been our GO TO feed and it's such good quality.