British rider makes her Burghley debut on a mare wearing ‘very special’ shoes

  • Kate Shapland makes her Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials debut this week – and her mare Uris Cavalier has personalised shoes for the occasion.

    The shoes were made by Kate’s boyfriend, national apprentice champion farrier George Dey, and say “Kate and Libby” – Libby or Little Libby being the Uris Cavalier’s stable names – and “Burghley 2022”.

    Kate met George in Yorkshire, where she currently lives and says: “He’s been a big part of helping me.”

    The 22-year-old rider has had Libby for eight years, since she was 14 years old.

    “She was literally a £5,000 buy and my older brother Chris bought her because my parents didn’t have enough money,” says Kate. “I still remember the first time I took her cross-country schooling and she took to it like a duck to water. That’s what made me believe I could get there with her.”

    Kate left home “as soon as I could, because I didn’t have any facilities there”.

    “I just worked as a groom wherever I could and competed on my days off and gradually made it here,” she says.

    Kate worked for the Dumas family, then for Caroline Harris, then for French eventer Sidney Dufresne’s father in France.

    “Then I worked for Chris Burton for a bit down on the Sunshine Tour, then came up with a Swedish client of his to Christopher Bartle’s. I really liked it at the Yorkshire Riding Centre, so I stayed there as a freelance rider,” she explains.

    “Christopher has always had an eye out for me and even though we’re not having lessons every day, in the five-minute conversations you can gain so much from someone with that modesty and ability and knowledge.”

    Kate Shapland and Uris Cavalier in the dressage at Burghley 2022.

    Kate Shapland and Uris Cavalier in the dressage at Burghley 2022. Credit: Peter Nixon

    Kate Shapland describes Libby as “feisty, sweet and intelligent”.

    “What makes this whole experience easier of my first five-star is I know her so well, it’s like coming with my best friend and I can rely on her,” she says.

    The pair scored 38.7 in the dressage and will set out across country at 1.50pm today.

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