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Posted on Aug 31, 2018 in Articles

Bill Levett in the Top Ten after Dressage at Burghley 2018 #LRBHT

Bill Levett in the Top Ten after Dressage at Burghley 2018 #LRBHT

Image above kindly provided by Fiona Scott-Maxwell – All rights reserved

Bill Levett and Improvise are in the top ten after the dressage phase of Burghley Horse Trials, it was delightful test to watch as it always is with Bill. He rides with such elegance and looks so relaxed as does his horses.

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Image courtesy of Fiona Scott-Maxwell – All rights reserved

Bill and Improvise are only four penalties behind the overnight leaders Mark Todd and Kiltubrid Rhapsody. The cross country time will be crucial tomorrow but back in 2016 Bill was lying 5th after the cross country so we know he can get a good round out of  Improvise.


Image Courtesy of NJT Photography – All rights reserved

We saw you running through the test in the warm up arena before you went in is that something you normally do before you go in for your test?

It is because I don’t ride him in the morning, he just gets a couple of lunges, because if you ride him too much he gets a bit cranky and goes like ‘I don’t want to do dressage all the time’ so he has a couple of short lunges so then I just want to remind him of the pattern before i go in without creating too much anticipation

Your scores appeared very consistent and very good out there, were you happy with the test?

Yes I was, it was a solid test, sometimes he can be a bit tight. He is not naturally a big loose horse, but he was allowing me to do the movements without coming against me too much, and he let me do the set up for the changes without getting tighter and anticipating so all those things were good.

What can you tell me about the cross country ahead of you tomorrow?

You have to attack it, and you will have to go right from the off and I plan to then see what I have got then. He normally lets me ride him for 4 to 5 minutes, I have to ride him with enough feel and not get his adrenalin too hooked in because then if you over ride him then his adrenalin really kicks in and he just goes and thats what I have to try and avoid, it’s a hard balance because if you under ride them round a track like this they start questioning you as the rider then

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Wednesdays Horse Inspection – Picture Courtesy of Fiona Scott-Maxwell – All rights reserved


With WEG coming up so soon after Burghley do you have any nerves about riding here tomorrow?

Well there is plenty of nerves yeah but what do you do! I have made the decision and I have just got to get on with it. I am obviously hoping I don’t fall or hurt myself and I can get on the ferry Monday morning and head to Belgium

You have been a regular competitor here at Burghley since 1994, does Burghley still hold a special value to you?

Yeah, the challenge of it does yeah. It is something that is a big challenge, to even get around, You walk it and think well you have to ride well to get around this and you have to have the right horse of course as well so yeah its still a big thing.

bill groom nt

Image Courtesy of NJT Photography – All rights reserved



Image courtesy of Poppy Team Levett’s groom , to the left is Joshua (Bill’s son) and Frankie behind to the right who is Pippa Funnell’s head groom

levett groom poppy

Poppy watching Bill and Improvise warming up. Image courtesy of NJT Photography

I have to say these grooms work so hard to get these horses looking immaculate for the dressage test but they do get to have some fun !

Bill levett and Improvise will go cross country tomorrow at 15:27 and we wish them every bit of luck out there on course.



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