Jonelle Price defies broken watch to master Burghley cross-country course

·2-min read
Jonelle Price defies broken watch to master Burghley cross-country course

By James Reid at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

Jonelle Price defied a broken watch to be the only rider to finish under the time in the cross-country phase at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Price, with horse Classic Moet, roared round the course in a time of 11:17, three seconds under par, to catapult herself up the standings into third overnight.

And the Marlborough-based rider’s stunning effort was further accentuated by the fact the New Zealand native had no clue how she was doing due to a faulty watch.

“As I left the start box, my watch was blank and it beeped for the first three minutes so I had no idea how I was doing,” revealed Price, who had started the day down the rankings after the dressage stage.

“So I thought I’m just going to have to ride the horse, which is probably the best thing to do.

“I crossed the finish line having absolutely no idea whether I’d failed or succeeded.”

Price put on a masterclass in cross-country riding around a course that proved to be fiendishly difficult, with 20 riders failing to finish.

This year sees a new course designer in Derek di Grazia as Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials returns for 2022 bigger and better than ever after two years away.

But while many riders and horses have stumbled around the ranging course, the Kiwi directing all the praise to her 19-year-old mare.

“It was a bit of a whirlwind, you don’t get a chance to take a breath going round a course like this,” added Price.

“You notice all the little humps and bumps but I’m partnered with one of the best in the business; if I can’t deliver on her then it’s all on my shoulders.

“She isn’t the biggest jumper, she’s just all heart and determination. She’s so experienced now and it’s really a pleasure to partner her.

I’m lucky to be sitting on her, there’s no-one else I’d rather be on. She’s top class.”

The experienced Price had been disappointed with her dressage test on Thursday but stormed back into contention with her cross-country ride.

It means she has just leader Piggy March and husband Tim in front of her ahead of Sunday’s show jumping, but Price is not looking too far ahead.

“The plan is to ride her tomorrow, show jump, and we’ll ride from 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