So obviously William Fox-Pitt was considered the best because he kind of won. And I will say, he did smashing, per usual... even if he does look a tad big on his horses. There were a few rides in each of the phases that really stood out to me, and I think if a rider had all three of these performances (and I was judging the dressage phase ha!) then you would've found a fabulous formula for a winner. I was rooting for Mary King, because I adore her, but on both of her horses in showjumping things went less-than-perfect. Darn shame about Kitty King's showjumping round. And one of my least favorite dressage tests was Boyd Martin's (that extended trot certainly could've been better...)
Anyway, my favorite dressage test was Sinead Halpin's on Manoir de Carneville. I think she could've gotten an even better score, BUT I am no judge. The horse looked content and moved with impulsion, and had great gaits and great training even for a "non-dressage" horse. Selle Francais are STILL nice horses haha! Sinead looked like she had done her job well, and they were just pleasurable to watch.
Boyd Martin and Neville Bardos (who had an amazing recovery after significant smoke inhalation from the Martins' horrible barn fire) had an explosive cross-country round. The Burghley cross-country course is by far the most challenging of the Grand Slam of eventing. It makes me tired just watching it, and you can tell most horses and riders are worn out by the end of course: throwing themselves over jumps, legs dragging across jumps, jumps being barely cleared, galloping slows, and I've even seen a select few riders throw two-point out the window, it's just too dang hard! But these two looked as fresh at the beginning as they did at the end. Neville was still neat and clean at the last fence, and Boyd was still doing just as well to the very end. That REALLY made me tired to watch, because you can only imagine the exertion and fitness-building that must have taken.
Mark Todd and Major Milestone had a pretty stellar cross-country round (had a wonky moment during one of the water combinations) but an icky dressage score (the canterwork was less than spectacular, I thought), so that brought him down to 21st place in the end. But this show jumping round was wonderful, and if he had done better in dressage, he probably would not be as low in the placings as he was.
What do y'all think? Who were your favorites?