I can’t believe it’s been three years since we’ve last published these words, but here we are: it’s time for action at the return of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials!

Back for the first time since 2019 (global pandemics will do that to you), “Big, Bad Burghley” features some new scenery and new faces to take in. This includes the debut of new course designer Derek di Grazia, whose track we’ll take a look at in the coming days.

But first, it’s time to settle in for two days of dressage. I’ll be plugged in and watching alongside you each day, bringing you live updates here in this thread. Let me be clear, though, nothing can really bring you the experience from afar like a good live stream, and we know the team behind Burghley TV has been hard at work to bring you the best quality product out there. You can sign up for a one-time fee of about $23 USD or £20 GBP right here.

We’ll see the first 26 of the 52-combination field today in front of judges Andrew Bennie (NZL), Katrin Eichinger-Kniely (AUT), and Judy Hancock (GBR). You can view the full list of ride times and scores here.

Notable ride times for today (Thursday) include:

  • Tim Price and Bango – 9:45 a.m. BST / 4:45 a.m. EST – 29.8
  • Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On – 9:53 a.m. BST / 4:53 a.m. EST – 26.2
  • Woods Baughman and C’est la Vie 135 – 10:17 a.m. BST / 5:17 a.m. EST – 29.8
  • Cornelia Dorr and Daytona Beach 8 – 11:05 a.m. BST / 6:05 a.m. EST – 39.0
  • Piggy March and Vanir Kamira – 1:30 p.m. BST / 10:30 a.m. EST
  • Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent – 1:38 p.m. BST / 10:38 a.m. EST
  • Jonelle Price and Classic Moet – 2:10 p.m. BST / 11:10 a.m. EST
  • Emily Hamel and Corvett – 2:50 p.m. BST / 11:50 a.m. EST
  • Sarah Bullimore and Corouet – 2:58 p.m. BST / 11:58 a.m. EST
  • Zara Tindall and Class Affair – 3:30 p.m. BST / 12:30 p.m. EST

Of course, our “notable” list may have left off someone you’re keen to follow — you can check out Tilly’s incredible-as-always Form Guide to each combination competing this week to pick out your “must-watch” list. If you want more Burghley news delivered straight to your inbox, you can also sign up for our FREE Burghley Daily Digest email — full of updates, links, photos, and stories — here.

For now, pour some coffee and enjoy with me! I always love when people join in on the discussion, and I apologize that our comment section is a disaster — in lieu of commenting your play-by-plays on this post, head over to our Facebook page to comment there. Refresh this page periodically for more updates — the most recent can be found at the top, so if you want updates from the beginning scroll to the bottom.

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials: 
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7:22 a.m. EST: Quite the Jumping Masterclass here during the lunch break (featuring a celeb sighting: none other than World Championships-bound Tokyo gold medalist Laura Collett)!:

GIF via Burghley TV.

7:12 a.m. EST: Some additional study material for your dressage-viewing (I also use Tilly’s epic Form Guide to accompany these live updates with more context!):

7:05 a.m. EST: Burghley is doing an excellent job with their digital content this year — for example, we’re currently being treated to a front-row seat at the Yogi Breisner Jumping Masterclass happening during the lunch break. And if you’re hankering for a peek at cross country and Derek di Grazia’s debut as Burghley designer, you can watch the full course preview here and an interview with Derek here.

Still need a Burghley TV pass? You can sign up for a one-time fee of about $23 USD or £20 GBP right here.

7:03 a.m. EST: When you bring your pony to Burghley (JK, that’s a 5* horse, Sarah Bullimore’s Corouet!)…

It caused great amusement yesterday when William trotted up Carouet for Sarah Bullimore as she was unable to run.

Posted by Jackie Potts Equestrian Services on Thursday, September 1, 2022

6:53 a.m. EST: Angus scores a 33.7 — a cleverly ridden test, notes Bettina — with ESI Phoenix. We’ll now move into the lunch break at Burghley and will resume in about an hour and a half, at 8:30 a.m EST / 1:30 p.m. BST with Piggy March and her stalwart partner, Vanir Kamira. Here’s a look at the top scores as they stand following the first 13 pairs:

6:50 a.m. EST: Today I learned that ATM vans are evidently a thing?

6:48 a.m. EST: “Our weaknesses are our changes,” Francis Whittington comments on his test with DHI Purple Rain. “That was still showing in the test, but the rest of the work has come up.”

6:45 a.m. EST: Francis Whittington earns a 34.1 with “Prince” to go into seventh for now. Meanwhile, Andrew James was given a 36.4 with Celtic Morning Star. Next up are British pair Angus Smales and ESI Phoenix (Clover Echo – Catina), a 13-year-old Irish gelding owned by Diana Birch and Charlotte Straker.

6:42 a.m. EST: Bettina observes that DHI Purple Rain’s changes are “too quick in front”, which is what we’d typically call “late behind”. An interesting way to think of this, relating it more closely to riding the horse from back to front.

6:38 a.m. EST: I’ll update with Andrew’s score shortly — next in will be Francis Whittington with DHI Purple Rain (Arthos R x Wynona VWG’s, by Niveau), who was top-15 at Bicton in his debut at the level last year. This horse averages a mid-30s test in general, but more importantly his barn name is, indeed, Prince. Context (as if you needed it) below:

6:30 a.m. EST: Next to see will be Andrew James with Celtic Morning Star (Chilli Morning – Rebels Riches, by Rich Rebel) owned and bred by Michelle Harries. You’ll surely recognize Celtic Morning Star’s sire, 2015 Badminton winner and William Fox-Pitt partner Chilli Morning. This beloved British sire had much success in his breeding career, producing Bicton 5* winner Chilli Knight (Gemma Tattersall).

6:28 a.m. EST: An interesting range on some of Wills scores as he earns a 32.4, a new personal best at the 5* level. That’s good for sixth at the moment.

Wills gives Oughterard Cooley after his test, the first at the level for the 12-year-old gelding. GIF via Burghley TV.

6:26 a.m. EST: “I think it’s the best five-star in the world,” Rodolphe says of Burghley. “Every year, Burghley is like World Championships.”

6:20 a.m. EST: A 30.3 for Song du Magay, an excellent score for this pair that’s good for early fourth place. Next to see will be Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley (Puissance – Oughterard Sky Cruise, by Cruising), a 12-year-old Irish gelding making his 5* debut.

6:15 a.m. EST French rider Rodolphe Scherer — a very busy man these days as a rider and a coach, including for the Bromont Rising Program this year — brings forward the 16-year-old Selle Francais gelding Song du Magay (Summer Song x Indra, by Hand In Glove). This is a return to the level for Rodolphe, who last competed at Burghley in 2016. Be sure you’re following Tilly Berendt on Instagram for more behind the scenes from Burghley — she just posted a video of Rodolphe’s very chill warm-up, which seems to have paid off in the ring!

6:11 a.m. EST: “Diplomatic” is how Bettina describes Cornelia’s very tactful riding here. Daytona is certainly fit for the task ahead on Saturday, that much is sure! They score a 39.0 in their debut. I know Cornelia’ll be wanting for a better score as their partnership continues to grow, but a sub-40 in your 5* debut aboard a very spicy and fit mare is absolutely nothing to be displeased about and she looks pleased nonetheless! A nicely ridden test from this 24-year-old rising star.

6:08 a.m. EST: Rats, we’re definitely seeing the return of the dragon here so far in Cornelia’s test, with lots of tension manifesting in the trot work so far. Bettina notes how difficult it is to ride forward into the bridle when a horse is so tense. “Even these tense horses, you need to keep them enough in front of the leg so they’re not over-reacting to your hands. But it is not an easy ride in this arena,” Bettina says, recalling a time she chose to retire in the first phase here with the notoriously-fractious Lanfranco in 2013. Bettina also explains why she likes this test (5* test B) because of its testing of balance.

6:06 a.m. EST: Fun times! Bettina Hoy joins Nicole Brown in the commentary booth for this session, so we’re in for a treat. Bettina is well-known for her prowess and competitiveness in this phase, so we know she has some perspective to share. Cornelia enters with Daytona Beach 8. Another fun fact: both of our U.S. riders so far are supported by our friends at World Equestrian Brands!

6:02 a.m. EST: We’re preparing to get back underway with the second group of the day. Cornelia Dorr will make her long-awaited 5* debut aboard the stunning 12-year-old Oldenburg mare Daytona Beach 8 (Duke of Hearts x Sandance, by Santander H). Cornelia’s been based in the UK this year, working hard with Kevin McNab and seeing that hard work paying off in the mare’s dressage marks. Cornelia and Daytona finished top-10 at the Avenches Nations Cup leg earlier this year, and while I know this weekend will primarily be about experience I can’t help but be eager to see what polish Cornelia’s added in the intervening weeks.

5:38 a.m. EST: Tiger Mail earns a 38.9 in his Burghley debut for a tickled-looking Phoebe. Fun fact: Phoebe actually won an embryo transfer with Jaguar Mail as a prize for competing here at Burghley aboard Tiger Mail’s dam, Little Tiger. We’ll now go into a short break of about 20 minutes, after which we’ll resume with our next U.S. rider, Cornelia Dorr and Daytona Beach 8.

GIF via Burghley TV.

5:32 a.m. EST: Next in will be British rider Phoebe Buckley with the 12-year-old Tiger Mail (Jaguar Mail – Little Tiger, by Java Tiger) making his Burghley debut. This is a homebred of Phoebe’s, who at 14.3 hands tall gives off major pocket rocket vibes.

5:28 a.m. EST: HHS Noble Call makes his third 5* start this weekend at Burghley, and while his marks here aren’t going to make a threat to the top of the board, he’s one you can anticipate turning in a quick clear come Saturday. “Ben” is a former 1.30m show jumper, so we imagine his taste for dressage ranges from “lukewarm” to “no thanks”. He’s a genuine type of guy, though, and he and Padraig earn a 39.0, improving on their most recent 5* score at Badminton (41.4).

5:23 a.m. EST: Next up will be Irish Olympian Padraig McCarthy, making his Burghley debut (how is that even possible?) with the 11-year-old HHS Noble Call (Fortunas – Noblina, by Cavalier Royale).

5:22 a.m. EST: The biggest cheer of the early going and a 29.8 for Woods and C’est la Vie 135. He’ll tie Tim Price and Bango for early second.

GIF via Burghley TV.

5:18 a.m. EST: Woods has Contendro in a nice, forward rhythm, really trusting him to ride into the bridle despite some evident exuberance. This spring at Kentucky, Woods had a near-miss with another horse in the warm-up just before his test, and there was..much tension in their debut test. Woods will be determined to show what he knows he and this horse can accomplish today. They earn a 9 from one judge on their extended walk.

5:15 a.m. EST: Next up will be our first rider from the U.S., current 4* National Champion Woods Baughman with C’est la Vie 135 (Contendro I – Anette), contesting their second 5* this weekend after making their debut at Kentucky this spring. Woods had quite the adventure getting over to England, enduring several canceled flights for both himself and “Contendro”, but they made it by the skin of their teeth. Woods gets help this weekend from longtime coach Sharon White as well as German Olympian Bettina Hoy, and this is one pair we can anticipate a competitive mark from on their day.

5:14 a.m. EST: 7s across the board for Harry’s Harmony mark, and he scores a 31.8 — his best at the level so far. Well done!

5:12 a.m. EST: Pro tip from Tina Cook: if your horse has a good walk, show it off! The walk is a gait we often overlook, especially in eventing when our horses might be that much more tense from fitness. But a walk score is a healthy portion of your final mark!

5:10 a.m. EST: At 25, this is Harry’s first time at Burghley competing, though he and HD Bronze have completed Badminton as well as the Bicton one-off 5*. Beneficiaries of training with Pippa Funnell as part of the Wesko Equestrian Foundation, this is an exciting young rider on a self-produced horse.

5:07 a.m. EST: Emma and her 19-year-old partner, Waldo III, earn a 37.5 and look pleased with their ride. This is an improvement off their 5* debut score of 44.0. Next in will be another Brit, Harry Mutch with the 16-year-old Irish gelding HD Bronze (Limmerick – Northern Madera, by Toca Madera).

5:00 a.m. EST: Next to see will be Emma Hyslop-Webb with Waldo III (Faldo – Naomi, by Henzo), who return to this level here for the first time since Badminton in 2019.

4:58 a.m. EST: A lovely, rhythmic test turned in for Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On. They should slip ahead of Tim into the early-days lead, scoring two 8.5s on their Collective Mark for Harmony. And they do! They score a 26.3, improving on their last Burghley score of 29.9 but not quite hitting the Bicton mark of 23.9.

4:53 a.m. EST: Second to see will be British Grand Slam winner and most recent Burghley winner Pippa Funnell with the 13-year-old gelding out of her and husband William’s Billy Stud program. Billy Walk On (Billy Mexico – Shannon Line, by Golden Bash) very nearly won the “pop-up” 5* at Bicton in 2021, finishing second there after winning the dressage, but has historically struggled to collect clear jumping phases.

4:50 a.m. EST: Tina Cook has joined John Kyle in the booth for this first session, and she shares some really useful thoughts on riding the horse you have to its skill level and level of training. She reminds us that we aren’t suddenly going to teach our horses a new skill in the ring, and that we have to remember to ride what we have and show it in the best way possible. She uses Tim’s halt and rein-back as an example of keeping a lid on and riding the horse on the day. Tim and Bango earned a 29.8, just a tick over his 29.6 earned at Burghley in 2019.

4:46 a.m. EST: And we’re underway! Tim Price is the first to see today with Bango (Garrison Royal – No Sale, by Don Tristan) after the withdrawal of drawn trailblazers Oliver Townend and As Is. “Uno” won’t be one to win the dressage, but he will put in a solid mid-20s to low-30s score based on historic averages.

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