By James Reid at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Pippa Funnell revealed she tuned out the raucous atmosphere at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials as she produced another top ten dressage score.
The 2019 champion put in another stellar performance on Majas Hope to score 28.2, following up her 26.2 on Billy Walk On to go into the weekend with horses tenth and eighth respectively.
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is back bigger and better than ever before in 2022 after two absent years due to Covid-19, with large crowds descending on Stamford, Lincolnshire.
But the Crowborough-based equestrian worked hard to shield her steed from the effects of the spectators.
“I’m so concentrating on what I’m doing with him that I don’t notice the atmosphere at all,” she admitted.
“All the time you’re riding in a way that tells the horses it’s okay, pretend we’re at home and that I’m here with you holding your hand.
“I think as a rider if you sense the atmosphere the tension goes through you.
“I was thinking Friday afternoon would be really difficult with him, ss everyone knows he’s really difficult in that phase, so I’m pleased with him.”
Funnell is one of the biggest names on the eventing circuit, arriving in Lincolnshire not only as the defending champion but with three Olympic medals and six 5* victories.
But the 53-year-old insisted competing at the very top never gets any easier.
“It’s a lot harder,” added Funnell. “It’s harder coping with my demons.
“But I’ve got horses that are fit enough and up to this level and I feel as though I’m riding in a way that’s still good enough.
“I’ve got to get my head around things mentally, tonight is going to be a tough night for me.
The nice thing is both horses are in a competitive enough position and I’ve got my husband coming up so he'll be a great shoulder.”
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