Well, I can hardly believe I’m writing this, but “Louie” (Zero Flight) and myself have just finished 9th at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials! I had a fair bit of champagne last night, but I’m certain it wasn’t a dream.
Maybe I should start from the beginning. We trotted up at 9am yesterday morning, after getting to the stables nice and early at 5.30am to make sure Louie was alright. He looked fabulous, and obviously felt it too, as Kerry pointedly refused to lead him back to the stables without help as he was so excited.
I then walked the showjumping course and watched some of the competitors round it in the morning, as I wasn’t on until 2.53pm. It looked to be riding well and while some early combinations had time-penalties, the time didn’t prove overly tight.
Before I rode round it myself though, we had to do the parade of competitors. Louie found this all very exciting and couldn’t stop himself from shaking in anticipation. Unfortunately, the heavens had opened by this stage, so it was a very soggy affair. Not that Louie minded, he felt like a ticking time bomb the whole way round.
We then warmed up for our jumping round, which was muddy but not so much that it put either of us off. Louie jumped a stellar clear and moved up to overall 9th so that we also won the best under-25 prize!
The prize-giving was surreal, to be sandwiched between Boyd Martin and Zara Phillips was hilariously bizarre and to see my name in the top 10 at Burghley has still not sunk in. After the prize-giving, I was awarded my best under-25 prize and had an hour or so to celebrate before driving my superstar horse home.
So there we go… my dream had been to finish in the top 10 this year, but I thought with my broken wrist that was a ludicrous idea. Turns out even I don’t always know mine and my horse’s capabilities, although I think I have to mention that both me and Louie succeed only when we have the help and support of our behind the scenes team and everyone who gets behind us. It takes an army…
Watch Lauren’s Burghley rides
Don’t miss next week’s Horse & Hound (8 September) for our 10-page special Burghley magazine report including comments from course-designer Mark Phillips, analysis of every phase and the full leader board.
Find all H&H’s online Burghley coverage at www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghley2011