Rosie Thomas, one of Shires’ Performance Riders, has declared that this season has been her top horse’s best season ever, culminating in 9th place at this year’s Burghley.
Rosie and Barry’s Best (Baz) were in 50th position after the dressage on the first day at Burghley and, with the new shortened format on the cross country, the phase where Baz traditionally excels, the pressure was certainly on Rosie on the Saturday: ‘Baz is a cross country machine, but with the shortened cross country, and after walking the course, I was a little worried as the time had been shortened, there were the same amount of jumps but, critically, the long gallop had been removed; the stretch where you can make up time if required,’ Rosie explains. However, once aboard Baz, all seemed to go to plan, ‘I was meeting all my minute markers on time and Baz was brilliant. We were one of five to finish inside the cross country time and this put us in to 11th place before show jumping.’ With all to play for on the last day, Rosie and Baz entered the show jumping arena and, after a super round, finished 9th overall. ‘Baz has been show jumping really well this year so I was hopeful, but finishing 9th was just brilliant, I was thrilled!’
After a brilliant season, Baz is having a bit of time off before he comes back into work and starts his dressage and showjumping training in the winter. As for next year well, as Rosie explains, there really is all to play for: ‘we’re aiming to go to Badminton for the third time and Burghley for the fourth. I think Burghley is my favourite event and we’re aiming for a finish within the top four next year!
To find out more about Rosie, see www.graftonfarm.co.uk. To find out more about Shires and the Performance Rider Programme, see www.shiresequestrian.com.