Equestrian star Mutch on his 'accidental' riding journey ahead Burghley Horse Trials debut

·3-min read
Harry Mutch, 22, equestrian only started riding horses aged 13, after a broken down car meant he took the place of his dad at what was supposed to be a one-off riding lesson.
Harry Mutch, 22, equestrian only started riding horses aged 13, after a broken down car meant he took the place of his dad at what was supposed to be a one-off riding lesson.

Harry Mutch wouldn’t be making his debut at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this weekend were it not for a broken-down car, writes James Reid.

The 22-year-old equestrian only started riding horses aged 13, after a broken down car meant he took the place of his dad at what was supposed to be a one-off riding lesson.

But Mutch couldn’t wait to get back in the saddle, kick-starting a meteoric rise.

The Whitley Bay rider already has two 5* events under his belt, and now can’t wait to tackle the world-renowned Burghley in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

“I wasn’t into horses, when I was younger I was more into playing rugby,” said Mutch, who will ride 16-year-old HD Bronze.

“My mum’s side of the family were horsey but there were never any horses involved when I was younger.

“I really only started riding by complete accident.

“My mum and dad agreed to go and have some riding lessons as a bit of a one off. My mum’s car broke down so my dad had to get the car fixed and said you can go for that riding lesson.

“I was like ‘absolutely not, I don’t do that’. I got dragged along and was like this is pretty good, I might go back next week and from there on I got the bug.”

Mutch didn’t look back after his first spell in the saddle, competing at his first event two years later before a first 5* at Badminton in 2019.

His rapid rise sees him on the edge of a third 5* aged just 22, and Mutch reflected that it has been important to step back and take it all in.

“After eight years I did my first Badminton, to cram all that in in eight years and get to that level is a bit crazy,” he admitted.

“Somehow we’ve managed it and pulled it off but I think after that we took a step back and said how can we polish up around the edges and be a bit more competitive?

“The last three years we’ve been working really hard to tidy up and find the little one percents to make everything a bit better.”

And after a mixed season that saw Mutch miss out on Badminton earlier in the year, the Whitley Bay eventer can’t wait to get stuck into the infamous hills of Burghley, an event close to his heart.

“Burghley was the first 5* I went and watched so it’s always been quite special to want to get there,” added Mutch. “To have the chance to ride there now is special.

“It’s really exciting to finally have the chance to ride around the track.

“With Covid, it was a little bit rocky for him, the disruption altered the way he ran but now he’s got a full season to get ready for Burghley, he does feel a lot better for it.”

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