Monday, September 5, 2011
Big Burghley Over: A Sigh of Relief and a Sense of Satisfaction
Well, I must say, I had a great experience on my first trip to the Mecca of Eventing. First and foremost I must pay tribute to my old friend Neville.
This was the perfect event for him. First, getting to England with him a week before the event was ideal because I had nothing to think about except the competition and spending as much time with him as I needed. It was the first time I have really focused on a competition since the WEG last year. The actual competition suited him great: a long, hard, brutal x-country that sorted out the horses from the show ponies. It was also a great feeling having a fresh, sound horse on Sunday afternoon.
It was a great sense of satisfaction finishing competitively after the most distracting preparation in history. 12 weeks to the day of the event Neville cheated death, escaping the barn fire. In the past I have been known to 'hype' stories up to impress people for a laugh. To be honest, thinking about it, I think I have been quite humble talking about what happened that night, and the state and condition of Nev as it is something that is so tragic, and something that haunts me. It was a true testament to the horse only to get fit and ready for this event in 8 weeks. Remember Nev was on stall rest from a shoulder injury he got at Red Hills in March and not really in work when the fire struck on Memorial Day. I always knew he could do this and he just started feeling stronger & stronger every day. It was almost like, the more I galloped him the stronger & fresher he felt!
I also knew if something went wrong with Nev galloping around Burghley I would suddenly become the most hated person in eventing. I suppose after over a decade of competing at this level, you learn to listen to your horse. The fine art of horsemanship!
As I sit here on the plane on the way home, I must admit that I could not have pulled this off alone. Firstly to my old man Rossco, I promised this one for you when we said goodbye; Phillip Dutton, the guiding hand as a friend and the ultimate coach; Kev Keane, the man that kept checking and rechecking Nev's health through the recovery & event preparation; Silva, best looking dressage coach and loving wife, Lindsey, Caitlin, Lil & Sara the hardest working group of gals through hurdles and setbacks; Doug Neilson, best farrier in the world who is happy to shoe Nev at 1 am in the morning; The Neville Bardos Syndicate, 10 super fun, super supportive people and couples who have ridden the highs and lows with Nev this year; Bruce Jackson, The Fair Hill Therapy Center's Hyperbaric chamber became Nev's home for two weeks straight; Michael Dickinson, who allowed me to do Neville's gallops on his amazing Tepida track while the ground was so hard; Land Rover for their grant that went towards the huge traveling expense of this event, and every single person in the world that has helped out donating to any of the fire funds: without your financial support I absolutely would not have been able to pull this one off!!
Posted by Amber Heintzberger at 11:50 AM