September 5th and 6th: Goodbye to Burghley   Leave a comment

Before I move on, I’d like to talk a little more about the last day of Burghley, show jumping day. It was rainy and our seats were in the second row of the grandstand, right next to the hard strip where they do the trotting up. Which I thought would be advantageous, and it would have been, but for the rain driving in upon us. If the grandstand roof had a two-foot overhang on it, we would have stayed dry; but it did not, and the rain made the first row actually uninhabitable except by people in comprehensive rain gear, and the second row pretty uncomfortable. However, we soldiered on!

This day started with the inspection of competitor horses, or the ‘trotting up’. Each horse was presented for inspection and trotted up and down a hard strip of ground (might even have been pavement) in front of a panel of three or four inspecting judges. This was to ensure that they had come through the cross country phase the day before without injury and were in good order for the show jumping.

It was heartening to see how many of the horses came out with fire in their bellies, even after such a run as they had the day before. Some pranced and fairly dragged their riders (the riders presented the horses) up and down the trotting strip. The crowd loved this and gave them a big hand of applause for their condition and overall sassiness. Others did their job quietly but well, and there were two that trotted too quietly. I couldn’t see any outright lameness, but the judges held those two horses for re-inspection, and only one was allowed to go on – so there was one elimination at the trotting-up.

The riders, presenting their horses, generally wore pretty smart clothes – the men in jackets and ties, the women in pantsuits or (believe it or not) dresses and heels. How they could run alongside their horses in that gear, I can’t comprehend. But they did it, and there were no wardrobe malfunctions.

On to the showjumping!

I have photos and video, and once I get it dumped off the camera, I’ll put it up here. There were few clear rounds at all. Some of the rider/horse combos that I expected to do well, had enough faults to keep them out of the running. The ground was very soft because of the rain, and several horses slipped on turns, but none went down. No rider falls or unanticipated dismounts. William Fox-Pitt was in the lead position going in, so the only way anyone else could win, even if they were perfect, was if he had any faults – but he had none; he and his horse, as I said, magically jumped the course clear (by over-jumping each element by almost a foot!) and within time, for a perfect double clear and a historic win. Fox-Pitt is the only person to have won Burghley six times, beating out Mark Todd, the only other competitor who has also had five wins at this venue.

We wound up our day by watching the young Event Pony trials – ponies aged 6 and under are shown first in dressage, then they instantly go from there into a showjumping ring, which has a series of three cross country jumps tacked on to the end – so they are shown in all three phases in a matter of minutes. These were probably the best-conformed, most gorgeous ponies I’d ever seen. It’s extremely good marketing to get your pony seen here, and if they win this, their price will jump considerably; so there’s a lot at stake. Junior riders compete the ponies and they ride extremely well – some of the green ponies really are not confirmed in the jumping and they need lots of guidance, and these kids are able to do the job. It was very impressive.

Right before departing the grounds, we took a picture with our fellow guests and new friends, Karen and Nick, in front of Jump 33.

The following day, September 6th, our kind hosts Jilly and Michael took us to Barnack Church before dropping us off at the Peterborough train station.

Church of John the Baptist, Barnack, Lincolnshire

Anglo Saxon door detail

Church interior

Wall memorial, dated 1012

Detail of date

It was really lovely, and very, very old – and still in continual use. That is amazing to me, that an Anglo-Saxon building dating from 1012 (1012! Not a typo!) is still in use, and not roped off as a historical artifact. Au contraire, by the door is a cork board with all kinds of bulletins and announcements; this be a living kirk.

Full of fantastic wood carving and the smartest organ I’ve ever seen!


After a look at this venerable place, we said our goodbyes to Jilly and Michael and got on the train to King’s Cross. Once there, we caught a taxi to our hotel for the last night in the UK: the Cardiff Hotel, near Paddington Station.

That night we had a fantastic dinner of dim sum at Pearl Liang, which is north of Paddington and St. Mary’s Hospital. It was exquisite and a great send-off.

The next morning, the shuttle came to pick us up and took us to Heathrow….the start of a long trip. Lisbeth and I each watched two or three movies during the flight, dozed a little, and so on. Luckily, our travel was uneventful in the extreme – perfect! So we arrived tired but not ruffled, in Kansas City – very glad to be home.


A most lovely ceiling

Angel mosaics, in lovely shape

All the wood was OAK, OAK, OAK



Posted September 10, 2011 by Evelyn in Uncategorized

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