John, Liz, Nick and the Yeoman team love to hear about local riders heading to the top of their sport and here is one young event rider who is doing just that. If you read our news stories on the www.yeomanhaylage.uk website in the ‘News’ section and scroll back to November 2019, you will see Abbie Burbidge from North Devon was in the top prizes at Bicton International Horse Trials last October. Following on to more success since then, Abbie is off to compete at the Badminton Horse Trials this coming April and to say that Badminton isn’t for the feint-hearted is spot on. Abbie is now preparing for the Grassroots class and we hope she’s on the podium when the prizes are handed out. One thing is for sure, we are going to be following her progress.
Says Abbie “I have dreamed of qualifying for Grassroots (now called the Science Supplements Cup) for many years. Last year this dream came true when I competed at Bicton’s October event in the BE 3Day-100 class, with Castle Fantastic who is a 13-year-old ISH Gelding.
“We started the event in glorious sunshine for the Dressage day and was delighted with a score of 32. The weather then deteriorated into a mini storm! Onto the next phase – the cross-country – and we set off in driving rain and gusting wind, this didn’t stop Castle. He loves the softer going and we completed the course clear and inside the time. We were now sitting in 4th place after the first 2 phases.
“The final day was the show jumping which is run in reverse order of placing. The sun was shining while I watched the first half of the class. I went back to the lorry to change & gather my thoughts for my round. Time had arrived for me to warm Castle up for the challenge ahead. The course was full up to height and very technical in places and after what seemed like the blink of an eye we had finished. I was over the moon to go clear! What I hadn’t realised is that the other competitors above me had faults thus moving my position from 4th to 2nd!
“The realisation of competing at Badminton only really kicked in when Castle came back into work after his holiday in January this year. As I work as a freelance rider it allows me time to keep Castle’s fitness levels up and to get in some expert instruction and practice to assist with the technical aspects of jumping. We had a good placing in the Arena Eventing competition in January where we finished 5th.
“The road leading to Badminton has already started and Castle’s next one day event will be in March, followed by a selection of outings in the run up to Badminton!
“My ambition for this year is to compete at a 1* event with Castle, while also developing the two youngsters we have”.