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An egg-head, tummy muscles and ‘the purest form of our sport’ – 18 super quotes from Burghley 2019


  • This week we are missing the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, one of many events cancelled this year due to Covid-19.

    To help satisfy your Burghley cravings, we bring you the story of last year’s event, in the riders’ own words…

    “It’s absolutely surreal. It’s just been an incredible two weeks. It just shows how fortunes can change” – Pippa Funnell on her fortnight at the European Championships, where she contributed to team silver, and Burghley, where she won (pictured top on MGH Grafton Street)

    “She likes a bit of drama” — the winner’s husband William on her plunge through the planks at fence eight in the showjumping

    “It’s real big. I’d like to see Mark’s measuring tape” — US rider Buck Davidson on Mark Phillips’ cross-country track

    “I value this event above all others. It’s the purest form of our sport that is left” — fellow US starter Will Coleman

    “When she hit the first fence with her front and back legs, I thought we had a long way to go. People don’t understand what these horses go through, trying to do what they did yesterday across country — she ran her heart out – and then to get back on their hocks, be careful and respect these fences is hard” — Piggy March, runner-up on Vanir Kamira

    “Yes, there was blood, sweat and tears in the early years, but he is rewarding us now and I wouldn’t want to be sat on anything else” — Sarah Bullimore on Reve Du Rouet, fourth

    “I might have seemed like an outsider, but he’s very strong in this phase and I’m fairly confident in it, too. I had hoped for top 15, but to be in the lead is totally mind-boggling” – Thursday’s dressage leader Eliza Stoddart, on Priorspark Opposition Free

    “That was definitely a personal best for him. I’ve always felt he has been well marked by judges because he is pleasing to the eye, but he hasn’t always felt as good as the marks he has got; he’s very short-coupled and can feel stiff in the back, like I’m sitting on a pogo stick” — Pippa Funnell on MGH Grafton Street’s leading dressage test

    “She’s not a dressage horse, so the ‘clear round’ is important. She kept her brain — I milked the prize-giving at Badminton and I wondered whether she’d get over excited in front of the crowd” — Piggy March on Vanir Kamira’s first phase

    “I haven’t quite got my tummy muscles back!” — Ros Canter on riding the guinea pig dressage test, having had her daughter Ziggy in June

    “I watched Sarah, she rode it fantastically and I went away with that picture in my head” — Pippa Funnell on Sarah Bullimore’s round during a dramatic cross-country day

    “I made the time! Me!” — Piggy March on achieving the only cross-country round inside the target

    “It wasn’t pretty and I had to use all my experience in places; you had to throw away the style book. Having the ride I did on Majas Hope at the Europeans made me come here loving the sport and feeling brave. I’m not the bravest person, but if I believe in my horses then I am brave” — Pippa Funnell on her round with the inexperienced MGH Grafton Street

    “I’m furious with myself for letting Arctic Soul down. It’s been a challenge to get back on a young horse and jump round, but she’s such a game little mare and so scopey and I just had to trust her. We talked each other round the track and I’m unbelievably proud of her” — Gemma Tattersall on her fall with Arctic Soul and clear on Santiago Bay

    “I have mixed emotions. You don’t set out too see just half the field finish. Sadly, we saw way too many people not riding forward, and getting in trouble. If you have to lower the five-star level because of the field you have, that’s not the sport” — course-designer Mark Phillips on the cross-country result

    “If I’d known I had lost my hat silk, I’d have pulled up rather than be an egg-head”— Pippa Funnell in light-hearted mode

    Article continues below…


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    “It’s a bit like riding an oil-tanker” — David Doel on the sizeable Shannondale Quest

    “Vermiculus was feral — I couldn’t catch him until he was four. He was a proper Burghley horse this weekend, so I’m really excited for the future” — Lauren Kieffer (now Nicholson) on her ninth-placed ride

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find out more about getting the magazine delivered to your door every week. 

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