Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Oliver Townend and Carousel Quest Take Burghley

Oliver Townend did what many of us dream of - put in a great dressage ride, and rode his pants off to a clear cross country and stadium round, securing his win at the Land Rover Burghley 4* Horse Trials.

This guy is on top of the world right now. Back in May Ollie won the Mitsubishi Badminton 4* Horse Trials on Flint Curtis. It is an amazing feat to complete a 4*, let alone win. Badminton and Burghley are the by far the highest ranked in the world, and Ollie has conquered both of them like it was a walk in the park. Perhaps the most exciting thing about his big win, is the fact that he has secured 2 of the 3 legs of the Rolex Grand Slam.
The Grand Slam has only been won once, back in 2003 by my eventing hero - Pippa Funnel. That was back when the long format was still around. That feat will never again be repeated - unless by some miracle they bring back the long format. Andrew Hoy came close, and had a very disappointing miss, when he won the Rolex and Badminton, and was in the lead at Burghley, only to fall into second place.

Carousel Quest was also the highest placed British bred horse, winning his breeder Joan Hood a prize. His sire is Carousel, a Holsteiner from Hampshire.

There is a big discussion going on on CoTH right now about the Americans performance at Burghley. Some people think they did not put on a good showing, while others think they did great. personally, I think part of the problem is continually looking at them as "The Americans", and not individuals. This was not a team event, and although it is nice to think in terms of having team mates, and being there for each other, these riders are individuals and deserve to be spot lighted that way.

Phillip Dutton and Truluck finished a very admirable fourth place. Buck Davidson also had a
good finish in eleventh. I can't understand why there is so much banter about the "Americans". Some of the horses should not have been there maybe, maybe some of the riders too. However, you can't criticize these entries in a collective bases based on their nationality. This is the whole problem with American eventing. It's all about the TEAM, the name, the representation...and not enough about the individuals and their mounts.

I say Burghley was another successful event this year. There were no serious injuries, and all the horses made it back to the barn for their carrots and hugs. It is a sad thought that this is what eventing has come to, but alas - it is the reality. Looking forward to the Rolex next year, to see if Ollie can make it a Grand Slam!

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