Local lad Phil Brown admits he finally fulfilled a lifetime dream after competing at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials for the first time.
The Stamford-based star was due to reach the prestigious Lincolnshire event six years ago before his horse suffered a freak injury.
But on Friday he finally made his long-awaited Burghley debut, scoring 35.3 on the second day of dressage action alongside horse Harry Robinson.
And Brown, 35, said: “For him that was actually really good.
“He can find that phase quite difficult and he can get quite hot with the applause and things like that.
“I was just trying to keep in the zone really there to be honest and to just get through it, keeping everything the same and not letting the atmosphere affect me or the horse.”
As a Stamford resident, Brown has had the added motivation of seeing the legendary building every day from his own bedroom window.
And that motivation has made Brown’s appearance at the 2022 edition of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials particularly special.
He added: “This place is very special to me, I had a horse that qualified six years ago, but she had an injury before she got to come.
“We actually only live just around the corner, so I can see the house from my yard.
“We’ve been there for about two and a half years now, this has been the goal, and when you’re looking at it every day you definitely want to get here.”
With Burghley being such a long time coming for Brown, he is delighted just to have made the 5* event, with anything else serving as an added bonus.
“My goal was just to ride here, and I think a lot of the riders will appreciate this, but just to arrive here with a fit horse to compete is an achievement in itself,” he said.
“So it’s just about enjoying the week, making sure we do the horse justice and getting through it and then we’ll see what happens.”
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