After a weekend of excitement watching Great Britain take Team Silver at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy we’re anticipating further 4-star fun at Burghley this week.
We’ve viewed the cross-country course, gasped at the combinations and made ourselves familiar with the big questions but whilst we’re looking forward to it there’s definitely the sense that something’s missing.
And indeed there is. This year owing to bad luck and injury our favourite horse and riders will not be competing.
Bad luck and injury for Caroline Powell on Cameron Crawford’s horse Onwards and Upwards.
For the past few years we’ve supported the Eventing efforts of local rider Emily Galbraith and her horse Timing, and our very good friend Cameron ‘Choppy’ Crawford and his horse Onwards and Upwards, ridden by Olympic medalist Caroline Powell.
When our friends do well it’s wonderful to have played even a small part in their success and this year when Caroline and Choppy’s horse were selected to compete in the World Equestrian Games excitement was running high. Badminton had been a disappointment – carnage for a lot of riders – but the goal had always been selection for WEG and that goal had been preserved.
Sadly, without warning Onwards and Upwards stepped off unsound during a dressage training session earlier in the summer and that was it the end of any hope of competing in the games.
It was devastating news for Caroline and Choppy but with horses the risk is always there, in all our conversations with Choppy his hopes for his horse are always peppered with references to the very real possibility of injury at any moment. With horses you just don’t know. It’s grueling sport when you get the chance to compete and it’s a punishing sport when you are denied the opportunity to even have a go.
Hard ground puts paid to Emily’s Burghley hopes.
The story may be slightly different for Emily Galbraith, who has in many ways had a successful season with five wins and eighteen, Top 10 finishes but her success has been with her younger horses competing at a lower level.
Despite a long hard winter with her new trainer John Hill, Emily’s 4-star season has failed to take off. She had a difficult and disappointing start at Badminton and the hard ground caused by a dry summer has continued to put paid to her ambition.
Her horse Timing does not enjoy hard ground and this has severely limited Emily’s ability to compete on her horse over the summer months. In order to compete at 4-star level a horse should be in peak condition and competition ready. So although Emily had qualified for Burghley as the event approached Emily faced a very difficult decision and decided in the end to withdraw from competition.
After Badminton Emily simply didn’t feel she could risk another negative and disappointing 4-star experience for her horse. As long as the winter will be it is a better prospect and given the age of horse (11) and rider (26) Emily is playing the long game.
After a disappointing withdrawal in the World Equestrian Games Aussie Bill Levett is on for Burghley.
Despite the disappointing news for Emily, Caroline and Choppy there’s still Bill. Our loyal customer and Aussie chum Bill Levett who we had the pleasure of dressing for the Badminton Trot Up 2014.
Bill is fresh from the WEG in Normandy where his dream of competing for his country came to a rather abrupt end when he had to withdraw his horse Shannondale Titan ahead of the show jumping. It must have been a big blow but as ever Bill takes a philosophical approach in his blog: Sad News.
And already he’s bouncing back and looking forward to competing on Improvise, his 10-year-old bay gelding that he’ll be riding in Rio in 2016.
So still plenty of excitement to look forward to. Good luck Bill!
Please show your continued support for Caroline, Emily and Choppy by ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ this post.