We took Evento, owned by Sarah Arrowsmith to Burghley Horse trials which has always been one of my favourite events. However, this was one of the toughest Burghleys we’ve had in many years. He competed in his first 4* in such a big atmosphere and managed to hold his own. Evento performed very well in the dressage, and went on to jump a perfect clear round. Unfortunately – due to my own attempts to change plans mid combination, we jumped an additional fence which resulted in us being eliminated. Of course, this was extremely disappointing for me and the whole team, but I like to focus on what we can take away from the weekend. Evento is a cracking 5* horse and I look forward to continuing his career next year.

After Burghley we headed to Blenheim with Margaret Smith’s Fiktor Nita and Purple Rain owned by Ro Audley along with the Drummond family.

Purple Rain who stepped up to this level was great in his dressage and cruised around the XC in his first CCI4*L so we were excited to go into the showjumping. Unfortunately, stage fright got the better of him in the first half of the round resulting in a number of fences down. Although he settled and finished jumping very well we know what we have to work on this winter. After a short break he is already out continuing his education ready for next year.

Fiktor Nota performed well in his debut 4*short level. I was pleased with his dressage, his showjumping round was impeccable and he grew confidence as he went around the XC course. This was a great way to finish 2019 and he is a very exciting prospect for the future.

This winter I am heading out to the Stuttgart Masters in Germany to ride Vicky Matthews’ horse Nimrod in the arena eventing trial (class?). It’ll be my first time and I’m more than a little excited!! I love a new challenge!

Once again, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors, Saracen Horse Feeds. Their detailed knowledge of nutrition allows us to keep the horses looking and performing as they do. Nothing is ever too much trouble, and I’d be lost without their time on the phone and trusted advice.

francis whittington Nov Blog 2 francis whittington Nov blog

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