Horse-cation Planning

Turns out that writing posts about goals or stuff I wanna do is a dangerous game to play when I have a little bit of time on my hands. On the 1st I wrote that this year I really want to make it a point to get back to Europe, to look at some stallions and some breeding stuff, and maybe even attend a big event. And then I had 2 days off work where the weather was disgusting and I had nothing better to do than fall waaaaaaay down that particular rabbit hole. Y’all, I spiraled. Hard.

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me, when I have an idea

It started innocently enough, I was just kind of exploring possible options. The first thing was to narrow it down to what time of year would be best. Breeding/foaling season runs through June-ish, as does the largest portion of our show season, and then fall show season picks up again by early October. That left an ideal gap between July and September.

There are plenty of awesome things going on in Europe that time of year, so it’s not like I was lacking options. But if the goal was to combine as many awesome things into one trip as possible, and get the absolute most bang for our buck, one beautiful shining possibility made it’s way to the forefront.

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Burghley is in early September, in England. It has always been my favorite of the top level events to watch online, with the gorgeous Burghley House in the background, typical rolling English countryside, and so many truly iconic fences. Like Cottesmore Leap, and The Leaf Pit, and Lion Bridge, and Discovery Valley.

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Cottesmore Leap
The Leaf Pit

Not only is it a 5* (it still feels weird calling them that since they’ve been 4*’s forever, but I guess I better get used to it), but they also hold a Young Horse Championships in conjunction with Burghley. These baby horse classes are becoming a bit of a thing of mine, seeing as how we’ve already been to the US YEH championships at Fair Hill and Germany’s Bundeschampionate (their version). The difference between how they do things and the horses and seeing all the different bloodlines is kind of like a kid in a candy store type feeling for me. Honestly, I find it to be just as interesting as the 5* competition. Especially because they also have a stallion parade during the show. So I can go to one venue and get a 5* event, a young horse championships, AND a stallion show.

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A couple of very interesting stallions stand in the UK that I want to go look at – Leprince des Bois (a 4* horse himself) and Royaldik (his dam is Heraldik’s full sister). And let’s not forget how easy it is to take the Chunnel train from London to Paris. And let’s also not forget all of the unfinished business I have in northern France, with all the stallions that I didn’t have time to see when we were there last time. Namely, Mighty Magic, Presto’s sire.

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did I write a Harry Potter stop into the itinerary? maybe…

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don’t mind me, just mapping stallion locations like a stalker

So it’s possible that typing up that innocent little goal here on the 1st maaaaay have led to hours of obsessive research that resulted in a rough itinerary, a booking of an apartment rental for Burghley, an intimate knowledge of the rail system and schedule, pricing for the Chunnel train, a list of “must see” stallions organized by location, and a watch on plane ticket prices. All by the the 2nd. Did I mention that there’s now a direct flight from Austin to London for pretty cheap? Yeah that’s a thing too. I can fly to London for like $100 more than I could fly to the east coast somewhere. It’s like the universe wants this to happen.

I haven’t yet tackled the France side of the itinerary, but that’s slightly less complicated and can be free-wheeled a little more. There’s plenty of time for that. The Burghley stuff was more pressing since it’s already getting difficult to find lodging nearby. Still though, I have a rough idea of what the plan might be in France.

Here’s to Burghley 2019! And baby horses. And France. And Mighty Magic…

28 thoughts on “Horse-cation Planning

  1. You are mad (but in a good way)! Go see the inlaws in England I dare you 🙂 Sounds like a plan. I can’t wait to read all about it! PS Do not expect any trains in England to actually be on time or get you there on time 🙂 HA

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  2. Soooo jealous! Sounds like an awesome trip. Also, any chance you’ll have time to swing by College View Stud and sweet talk Cobra’s owner into providing semen to the US? (wink wink)

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  3. Wow…that was fast!
    Also, can I just mention how questionable I find it to name a stud Royaldik? Or is it just my mind in the gutter?

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  4. I know nothing about breeding, but could you write more sometime about what goes into visiting a stallion? Are you there to get a sense for temperament? Do the people at the stud farm bring the horse and give you the lowdown on him? I’d be interested in knowing more about the whole thing.

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    1. It depends on where you go. We’ve been to about a dozen different farms now across France, Belgium, and Germany, and they’re all a bit different. Some we had fortuitous timing and got to see some of the stallions ridden. Others pulled them out of their stalls so we could get a closer look and say hi. Others we just walked through the barn and saw them in their stalls. Some we got to see some offspring as well, and speak to the riders/barn staff about the stallions and their offspring. Most people aren’t going to arrange their whole days to accommodate you, so sometimes it just kind of depends on what’s going on when you’re there. You can see so much more, and learn so much more, in person than you can just from watching videos online!

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  5. Ah, free time can be a dangerous thing! Nice planning!
    Also I find the new FEI ratings so stupid. So, if you’ve done a 4* are you now a 5* rider, even though you’ve never done one? It’s too much thinking for me

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  6. Allow an hour or more at Kings Cross for the HP thing. They actually have a staffer running it (and you have to pay) with a line going almost all the time and it can be a bit of a wait to get your photo op.

    Sounds like an awesome trip! I’d love to go to Blenheim, I’ve toured the grounds and castle and am dying to return.

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  7. Sounds like an awesome trip! Word of warning… that flight to London is BRUTAL. Tiny seats and the plane is always packed to the gills. I strongly recommend bringing your own food and some sort of sleeping aid. Also if there’s any way to avoid renting a car to get out of London to Tetbury, you might try that, because driving on the wrong side of the road when you’re jetlagged AF is uhm, exciting. 😀

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  8. SO FUN! when i was based out of london in 2015 i went to badminton. I found out I got the position and that night bought badminton tickets… I told some of the people at my UK riding school I was driving out and they were all “are you mad?? youre driving?? all by yourself??”

    dude, I’m in the UK once in a never of course I’m going to badminton and I will move several mountains to do so!!

    If you like the harry potter movies 15/10 would recommend the studio tour. They said “allow 3 hours to see everything” and I spent 6 there… and they had the biggest gift shop harry potter gift shop I’ve ever seen.

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  9. You’re killing me. Steal me something Harry Potter-y and touch all the stallions. Maybe pack around a frozen tank and gather some straws. And crash in the Burghley house.

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  10. This sounds AH-mazing. Super jealous, of course!! And I second the HP Studio Tour if you have time. It’s an all-day affair, for sure. My daughter loved every second, spent the 3 hours and was heartbroken to leave after only that short a time. She said she could have spent TWO days there!

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  11. Omg, if you come to Burghley, I’m totally coming to say hi! It’s weird seeing “Stamford” on your list, since I live there on the outskirts (and my ponies!). 🤪

    It’s a great event, just don’t expect to get a really good deal on any shopping as you have to be really nifty to get a good deal on anything. They also have the eventing pony classes which is pretty adorable to watch. Cross country day is my favourite there :))

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  12. And you keep saying I have a problem… Haha! Nice work though, looks like it’s all coming together nicely. Are you going by yourself?
    The Harry Potter stop is obviously a must for the itinerary.

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