Burghley gets underway with first horse inspection
Sarah Carless reports ….
The Burghley Land Rover Horse Trials got underway this afternoon with the first horse inspection.
Seventy-one horse and rider combinations from nine nations were presented to the ground jury of Sue Baxter (President), David Lee and Anne-Mette Binder in front of a packed grandstand to ensure they were ready fit and ready to compete. A number of riders withdrew horses prior to the first inspection including Flying Finish (Caroline Powell, NZL), Chequers Playboy (Dee Hankey, GBR), Quality Purdey (Lauren Shannon, GBR), Qwanza (Andrew Nicholson, NZL) and MJI Mount Echo (Angus Smales, GBR).
Three horses were sent to the holding box during the first inspection – British riders Roo Fox and Fleet Street and Stacey Shimmons and Orions Promise, and American Holly Payne and Never Outfoxed – but all were accepted upon being checked by the veterinary delegate and represented to the ground jury.
Despite the Olympic Games, this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has attracted the world’s leading riders to take on the challenge of one of the most prestigious three day events.
The event could see a totally new face heading the podium. But five time winner Andrew Nicholson returns to Burghley after missing last year due to injury, and his chances to reclaim the trophy will come from Nereo.
The entry list includes many former winners; Oliver Townend has three chances with Dromgurrihy Blue, Samuel Thomas II and MHS King Joules, while Andrew Hoy brings Rutherglen and The Blue Frontier. Pippa Funnell is back from the 2016 Games riding Second Supreme, while Caroline Powell is entered on Onwards & Upwards.
Strong challenges are also likely from antipodean riders such as Christopher Burton who brings Nobilis 18, Shane Rose who has entered Shanghai Joe and Virgil and Paul Tapner who brings Up In The Air and Vanir Kamira.
The event also sees a number of first time combinations including British rider Imogen Gloag, who at 21 years is the youngest rider entered. With Arthur Duffort and Becky Woolven crowned this years best dress and man and woman.
Dressage will start tomorrow and the field will be led off by Tom Crisp and Coolys Luxury. Emilie Chandler will ride the guinea pig test.
Photographs courtesy of Lorraine Porter