Meet Burghley first-timer Kristina Hall-Jackson and her ‘quirky little mare’ with a ‘heart of gold’

  • Burghley Horse Trials and five-star debutante Kristina Hall-Jackson speaks to Horse & Hound about being mentored by her hero, Pippa Funnell, and her ‘sweet mare with a heart of gold’, CMS Google *Please be patient to allow the video below to load*

    Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials first-timer Kristina Hall-Jackson grew up watching Pippa Funnell. This week, she makes her five-star debut under the guide of her hero.

    “I’ve always gone to watch Burghley, Badminton and Bramham and Pip has always been my idol – we share the same birthday,” said Wesko Equestrian Foundation rider Kristina, who pilots her own 12-year-old “quirky little” mare CMS Google at this year’s event.

    “From being a little kid I’ve always followed Pip, so to be on the Wesko programme with her as my mentor is a dream come true.”

    The 25-year-old grew up riding and cut her teeth on the showing circuit, before catching the eventing bug. The pair come to Burghley with a strong four-star record, including double clears at Blenheim and Bramham in the past 12 months.

    “I’ve had Google from the start of her career and it’s very special to do your first five-star on a horse you have such a partnership with,” she said.

    “There’s no other horse I would rather do my first five-star on.”

    The Baltimore daughter had showjumped in Ireland before joining Kristina, who introduced her to eventing.

    “She’s a wonderful jumper, real brave. But I’ll take her hacking and she will be petrified of some grass. She’s a sweet mare with a heart of gold,” she said.

    Jumping is this mare’s strength – the pair climbed from 42nd after dressage at Bramham CCI4*-L in June to finish sixth. Their score of 33 in Burghley’s first phase puts them in 27th place ahead of cross-country.

    “I’m thrilled with her,” said Kristina after her test. “Dressage isn’t her strong point, she’s an out and out jumper.”

    She said she is “kicking herself” for a mistake in the half-pass, adding the mare did “everything she could”.

    “She really does try her heart out for me and has really improved in this phase, so I’m thrilled to bits if I’m honest,” added Kristina, who is trained by Ian Woodhead and Chris Bartle.

    “The course is very big and very bold. I wouldn’t want to go out on any other horse than her. She gives me all the confidence in the world, so hopefully we can do our best job and get round clear and safe and sound.”

    Kristina and Google are set to tackle Derek di Grazia’s Burghley Horse Trials cross-country course at 1.55pm.

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