Well it’s a case of mission accomplished — our first four-star and we have finished inside the top 20. I feel honoured to have been part of what other riders have called ‘a vintage Burghley’.
When the roads and tracks and steeplechase were removed for the sport I was gutted, but in hindsight there is no way that a horse like Sky [Star Prospect] would have the stamina to have competed in long-format at four-star level. The change has opened the sport up at the highest level to different types of horses, which in my opinion is a good thing.
Unfortunately Sky was a bit sore this morning after yesterday’s efforts and so I felt a bit nervous before the trot up. She got held, which wasn’t a nice feeling, and it was a huge relief when we made it through. You don’t want to go out at this stage after getting round yesterday.
She didn’t jump brilliantly in the show jumping. She wasn’t really listening and was a bit on her forehand. It is her weakest phase and I’ve got to learn to put in to practise what I’ve been working on with Matt Lanni. It’s something we need to improve on for next season, but before that she is going to enjoy a well deserved holiday!
It was great jumping in the afternoon session with all the atmosphere and crowds in the arena. And taking part in the final presentation was amazing; that’s when you know you have really made it as a rider!
Looking ahead I’m hoping that we will be able to get into Badminton in the spring. If not we will probably go to Luhmuhlen instead. Next year Sky will be 15 and I definitely want to repeat my four-star experience while she is still fit and able. Competing at four-star has always been my dream and now I’ve tasted it once, I want to do it again.
Before I go I’d just like to say to any amateurs who share my four-star ambition: anything is possible if you are committed and have the right horse — this result is proof of that.