American equestrian Emily Hamel gave up her home in Pennsylvania to pursue her dream of competing at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
Hamel, 36, made the decision to let out her Stateside home in order to generate funds which would help her achieve her goals of lining up at Britain’s iconic 5* eventing showpiece.
Her contacts in the UK have made the temporary jump over the pond significantly easier, with Mike and Emma Winter at Wayfarer Eventing in Chedworth taking in Hamel and her horse Corvett.
But the couple have not just provided accommodation for the pair, they have also provided transportation and competition advice, ensuring Hamel is set to fulfil her Burghley dream in early September.
“The link-up with Mike and Emma came about because they were actually the ones that found my horse Corvett, or as I call him, Barry,” said Hamel, speaking ahead of the event that is back for the first time in two years - due to the Covid-19 pandemic - better than ever, with renewed impetus, a top class field and additional activities on offer.
“They originally found him about seven or eight years ago and sold him to the girl that I bought him from.
“But they've always followed his journey, and when I was making my plans to come over here, we had been in touch and it just seemed like a good place to go – it’s a good location and a nice facility.
“They've been super helpful in getting me to events because obviously I don't have transportation for my horse while I'm here.
“And it's been really cool actually because Mike's horse, El Mundo and my horse Barry are on the same trajectory.
“We've been able to do our galas together and go to shows together, and so that's been a lot of fun.”
Hamel, who co-hosts The Whole Equestrian podcast and is training to become a yoga instructor, has been to 5* events before but not to Burghley and the chance to show what she and ‘Barry’ can do against the famous Lincolnshire backdrop fills her with anticipation.
She said: “It is literally my first time going to Burghley, which is so exciting.
“I'm kind of familiar with the course just from watching live streams and videos but I've never seen it in person, so I'm sure it's going to be even more impressive when I'm walking the course and standing next to the jumps and everything.”
She added: “It's going to be pretty surreal, actually, being a small town girl from Wisconsin.
“As a kid, I would never have guessed that I would be doing this.
“I knew I'd always wanted to do Kentucky and all of that, but going overseas just seems so out of reach.
“Being able to actually do that and compete at Burghley is incredible.
“It’s hard to describe how special it's going to be to get there.”
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