Burnham Market 11th May 2016
We made the journey from the South West to East Anglia for our first time at Burnham Market. Simmone and I decided that because we were only going with the two horses, Zagreb and Redpath Ransom, that we would take the children and manage the grooming ourselves. It would be a nice spring break during the girls Easter holidays.
We arrived late afternoon and set the children to work. The stable area was set up, horses put to bed and dinner was on in no time. Dream ‘Team Bragg’.
The ground was great and the course looked really well built. I was looking forward to the weekend, and contesting my first 3* for a while.
Redpath Ransom got quite tense in his dressage, and made a few mistakes which cost us dearly in our mark. Although this was very frustrating, as he warmed up really well, it was clear that I need to go home and work on my entry and centre line. If I could enter and halt more relaxed then this would give us a much better start.
I was very pleased with Zagreb, he produced a super test. Although a few things need polishing up, for our 2nd test of the season he was listening, and moving with great expression.
The show jumping time was catching a lot of people out. You needed to take efficient lines and keep a good rhythm to achieve it, but remain in balance to try and jump clear around an up to height course.
Redpath Ransom was first in and he started the course well, jumping with good power and concentration. He got a little excitable towards the end of the track approaching the combination, he jumped in very big and got a little close to the second element causing him to have this down. I needed to take a check after this, rebalance, then he jumped the final fences well. We did incur one time penalty, I think due to this break in rhythm along with our one pole, but I was over the moon with his effort back at this level.
Zagreb showed his class and skipped around the track for a super clear. He shortened when I needed him to, and kept a good rhythm throughout. Now I was getting more excited to have these big boys back in action.
The cross country going was near on perfect. The track was full of questions from start to finish. My plan was to pick up a nice rhythm, but not to harass the horses for the time. This event was our final preparation run before we go to Ireland for a CCI3* so it was essential to keep their confidence up and have them enjoy the experience.
Redpath Ransom was eager to get going. He is such a bold horse, and he was eating up the track. He was operating perfectly, and he was making the course feel easy. HAbout three quarters of the way around we jumped a double of corners very well, these were causing a few issues, but not for us. Shortly after, we approached the second water. This comprised of a large roll top which jumped you into the water. There was a decent drop the other side, then two strides to a narrom role top, then three strides up a slope out of the water over an angled roll top.
Redpath Ransom jumped the first roll top extremely boldly, with the drop on the other side it landed us a bit further out than we’d hoped. This made the distance to the narrow roll top quite short and as he took off he clipped his left knee. This twisted him in the air, and for a moment I thought we may be getting wet, hence the picture that starred in the Horse and Hound. He is such a powerful horse with immense core strength. One moment I was watching the water approaching, next he was taking me out of the complex and was jumping the roll top out. What a genuine horse!!
He jumped home well, and was full of gallop as I opened him up at the end of the course. We were clear!
Having had a good ride around already I left the start box full of confidence. Zagreb relaxed into a good rhythm and it felt like we back home training as he negotiated the course. He didn’t put a foot wrong throughout. He was also full of running at the end of the course and we cruised through the finish with plenty of petrol in the tank.
It felt great to have these two fantastic horses back, and to competing at a more serious level again. We shall leave for Ballindenisk, Ireland in a couple of weeks knowing the horses are fit and in great form for the long format 3*.
It was definitely worth the drive, and definitely a show we shall return to in the future.