Casburn delighted after being youngest rider at 2022 Burghley Horse Trials

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Burghley is back better than ever after a two-year break due to Covid
Burghley is back better than ever after a two-year break due to Covid

Alice Casburn was thrilled with her debut ride at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials after becoming the youngest rider at this year’s showpiece event.

Casburn, 20, has been dreaming of riding on the famed Lincolnshire soil since coming here with both her mother, former eventing star Caroline Casburn, and her grandmother as a child.

The Corpusty rider flew through the opening day on her mother’s horse Topspin with a score of 33.6 in Thursday’s dressage.

And she admits that she would have been happy with any score after reaching Burghley at such a young age.

She said: “It was not perfect, obviously we’ve worked hard on it, so it was far from perfect, and there are parts that I need to improve him at, but I’m still pleased that he got a really good mark, so I’m happy.

“It’s incredible, I always used to come to Burghley with my grandmother and then my mother, and it is sort of that special event that I’ve been going to since I was little.

“Ever since I was probably knee-height I thought one day I’ll get to ride here, so after the dressage, whatever mark I got I was going to be quite happy - it’s so hard to be tough on yourself when you’ve completed that childhood dream really.

“My mum rode his grandmother and his mother, and I wanted to get properly into it, so my mum said you can try him and it’s been incredible.

“To have a horse that you’ve solely gone on together, it means a lot.”

Casburn has always dreamt of being in eventing, but she did once look at the more traditional route of going to university before deciding against being away from horses.

“I’m 20 and I applied for uni twice and deferred twice,” she added.

“I decided this year that it probably wasn’t worth applying again because I couldn’t imagine not eventing and not seeing horses every morning and coming to competitions.”

And ahead of the showpiece cross country on Saturday, Casburn is hoping to continue her good start to the competition.

She said: “He is a phenomenal jumper, but the course is substantially large, I was a little bit sick walking round.

“But he loves his jumping and he loves this sport, so if I ride him well, I hope for a good day

“I guess that’s the fun of eventing really, you never quite know, but he should really enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do - It’s our toughest test for sure.”

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