Birch pushing for more after personal best at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

·2-min read
Sammi Birch is riding at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials for the first time since 2007 (Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials)

Sammi Birch insists her red-hot horse Finduss PFB has even more to give after claiming a personal best score on her Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials return writes Tom Masters.

The Cirencester-based equestrian scored 35.7 on day two of the dressage event as the iconic Lincolnshire competition returned for the first time since 2019.

It was also a first Burghley showing for Birch since 2007, marking a 15-year hiatus with a comeback at the biggest Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials yet.

And after such a long time away, Australian-raised Birch believes that her mount setting a new personal best is a significant sign of things to come.

She said: “It’s a personal best at this level for us, he’s on the right track but he was still a bit too bright for my liking.

“It’s actually really noisy in here, but he’s getting better, slowly and steadily but he’s getting there.

“He wants to jump, which I’m hoping will suit us tomorrow.”

This year’s Burghley is also the first with new course designer Derek di Grazia in charge, after taking over from long-time designer Captain Mark Phillips, who was denied a last hurrah with the cancellation of the 2020 edition.

And with Saturday’s showpiece cross-country event fast approaching, Birch hopes studying the fortunes of other riders before her can work in her favour.

She said: “I think it’s a really big course, at the beginning especially.

“I thought the first few fences were lovely and then I got to fence six and I was shocked at the size.

“But I really wouldn’t want to be sitting on anything else - I’ve always said he was a Burghley horse so I’m going to give it a go.

“At the moment I’m staying straight, but the good thing about tomorrow is I get to watch a lot, so we’ll see what happens before we head out.”

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