By James Reid at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Susie Berry believes the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials’ storied cross-country course is in a league of its own as the Irish rider makes her debut at the famous 5* event.
The Northampton star posted an impressive score of 29.3 in her maiden dressage test in front of a packed crowd in Stamford, Lincolnshire.
The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is back for the first time since 2019, with anticipation higher than ever for the landmark date in the eventing calendar.
The event’s notoriously gruelling cross-country course has a new designer in Derek di Grazia, and Northamptonshire-based Berry can’t wait to give it a go.
“It’s only my second 5*,” said Berry.
“I did Badminton in the Spring but walking this is a whole different ball game. We’re looking forward to Saturday but with a bit of apprehension.
“It’s a very different course here, the terrain plays a massive part in the course.
“It’s massive and everything comes up a bit quicker, you don’t have much time to read the fence.
“I think he’ll give it a good old go, I’m excited to have a try at it anyway.”
Berry and horse Ringwood LB made a strong start to their campaign with a sub-30 dressage score, and the 24-year-old was delighted with the pair’s performance.
“It’s my first time here, just to go into that arena is a serious experience,” admitted Berry.
“He is a really flash horse, he finds it quite naturally easy but in there he got a little bit of stage fright, so there’s a few movements that were a bit ropey but I’m thrilled.
“If you said I would have got 29 at the start of the day I would have taken it.”
Berry grew up in Co. Down with horses all around her as her mum breeds race horses, before relocating to England to gain experience from 2019 Badminton champion Piggy March, who is based in Maidwell.
“My mum breeds national race horses and sells them as foals so we’ve always had a yard full of horses of some description,” said Berry.
“I grew up wanting to do it and having the opportunity of going to Piggy’s has made that a lot easier.
“I’m going to corner her today and see if she’ll walk with me. She knows him well and knows me well so hopefully, she can give us a few tips.”
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (1-4 September 2022) returns after a two-year hiatus, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A major international sporting and social event for over 50 years it attracts 80 of the world’s top equestrians and over 170,000 visitors. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk