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Posted on Sep 6, 2019 in Articles, Competing

Cheshire Rider Micheal Owen Completes the Dressage at Burghley 2019

Cheshire Rider Micheal Owen Completes the Dressage at Burghley 2019

Images by Lucy Hall Photography- all rights reserved and are subject to copyright


Thursday Dressage with Bradeley Law


First horse into the big arena at Burghley for Michael was Bradeley Law – a lovely looking horse who moves very correctly. It was an early morning test so the crowds hadn’t quiet built up which I am sure helped this horse.  He got a much better start to his test than at Badminton earlier this year and the test looked much improved from what we have previously seen from this combination. It was the most supple and relaxed that we have seen Bradeley Law and a much more consistent test was produced which reflected in their score of 38.9%, a huge improvement on their last performance at this level. Last year Bradeley Law and Michael finished 15th after their cross country and showjumping skills saw them move up the leaderboard from 65th place after the dressage so this is certainly a combination to watch. They were sitting in joint 25th place after the first day of dressage  but dropped to joint 51st place after Fridays Dressage


Talk me through your test? How was the atmosphere in the dressage arena?

My test overall was very pleasing. He was much more relaxed from the start, and was very rideable in his lateral movements. He made one costly mistake which is abit frustrating but overall I am happy. The atmosphere was quiet compared to what is it like on a Friday afternoon, which is what he has had to do in his last two CCI5*L.


You must be pleased with that test a much improved performance from his last five star event it looked much more consistent – a huge improvement ?
 I am really pleased with Crocky today. It was a massive improvement. I might get a sub 30 by the time he is 25
bradeley law
Michael Owen and Bradeley Law @ Burghley 2019

Have you had a more in depth look at the cross country course yet? what combinations do you think will pose a question for your horse?

I have walked the Xc twice already and wheeled it this afternoon. I think that Joules at the Maltings is a serious combination. You’ll need a very scopey and rideable horse if you want to do the straight routes. There are many narrow, accuracy questions throughout so any slip of concentration you will certainly pay for it!! If Bradeley Law is on his A game, nothing should cause us any problems as long as luck is on your side!

Who do you walk the course with and why?

 I walk all my courses by myself. I know my horses and what their strengths and weaknesses are, so I try and keep it as simple as possible. Too many conflicting ideas aren’t good.

Will you watch others ride the cross country before you ?

As I am on 2nd XC on Bradeley Law, I won’t be able to watch anyone, but they will certainly be watching me to see how it rides. I will watch a few good riders go around before I take Jim.
 Do you have any lucky superstitions i.e lucky socks etc?
 No superstitions. But I always say a little prayer to my sister who died 10years ago to keep us safe.
Jim is on quite late tomorrow so what have you got planned from now till then?
I am going to have a lesson on Jim with my dressage trainer Stephanie Appleton and then arena familiarise him after that. I will then ride Crocky again in the morning. Jim doesn’t need riding as much as Crocky because he naturally is a relaxed horse. After Jim’s test I will forget about the dressage and then go into XC mode!!
Friday Dressage with Jims Pal

Jims Pal and Micheal looked to have a lovely partnership and though not a huge mover Jims Pal has lots of elasticity and energy with a very correct way of going. Considering it was Jims Pal’s first time in the Dressage arena at Burghley they did a very consistent test and demonstrated some very well established work with just a few mistakes here and there  – it seemed to be the flying changes that lost the combinations some marks and an unfortunate loss of contact and frame in the rein back, but the first half the test saw lots of 7’s across the board and the transition from Walk to Canter was just effortless and smooth and they got some great marks for the lovely Extended Canter .

Overall it was a lovely test and beautifully ridden,  Jims Pal was certainly eye catching and showed lots of potential and even made the crowd smile at the end when he demonstrated how relaxed he was sneaking a bit of Burghley Dressage arena grass  when Michael let him have a long rein!! He certainly has a likeable and relateable character to many horses out there!!

jims pal

image courtesy of Julian Portch Photography – all rights reserved and is subject to copyright

They finished with a score of 36.2 a great score for their debut especially as we can see there is lots more to come in the Dressage from these to. Jims Pal currently sits 42nd going forward to the cross country tomorrow

 We caught up with Michael to get his thoughts on his test….

That looked a lovely test you must be pleased? , How was the atmosphere in the dressage arena? How did Jims Pal feel riding into the arena at Burghley for the first time? Talk me through your test

I was really pleased with Jim today. He coped with the large atmosphere extremely well. He did some great work he just needs to be more established in his changes. But they will come, and it is very promising for the future. He has a trainable attitude and is always willing to please. For a first 5* test I am very pleased.

What combinations do you think will pose a question for your Jims Pal? How do you think the undulations and terrain will affect Jims Pal and how is the ground/going? will it suit your horses?

The ground will be absolutely perfect tomorrow. Jim has got plenty of gallop and stamina and I don’t see the terrain being a problem. The combinations such as the trout hatchery and joules at the Maltings will be a big test for him. It’s hard to know what to expect and how he is going to react to it all. I’ve got a plan A and a plan B.

We wish Michael and his two rides the very best of luck for the cross country tomorrow and look forward to seeing how they get on

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