Oakden delighted with Burghley Horse Trials debut

·2-min read
The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials are back bigger and better than ever this year after a two-year hiatus
The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials are back bigger and better than ever this year after a two-year hiatus

Wills Oakden could not hide his delight at completing his first ever Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials despite a difficult show jumping run.

Oakden, 32, saw a solid dressage of 32.4 penalty points and an excellent cross-country time of 11 minutes and 45 seconds saw the Perthshire rider sitting in tenth at the start of the day.

But a tricky show jumping which saw horse Oughterard Cooley clash with three fences, saw him slide down the pecking order to finish 13th overall.

And in his first ever Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Oakden admitted that he was simply ecstatic to have completed the course.

He said: “It’s been hard work I think, but we’re just immensely proud of the horse.

“For his first five-star and at our first Burghley, I think pride is the overall feeling that I have.

“He did make a lot of mistakes today to be honest with you, but I wouldn’t want to ride an ultra-marathon yesterday and then try and do high jumping the next day.

“So there are no problems there, just immense pride in the horse, and lots of lessons learnt I think, I’m looking forward to coming back hopefully.”

It was a Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials like no other, with thousands of spectators emerging on the famous Lincolnshire turf for the first time since 2019, while the start list for the final day was almost half of the starting list on Saturday.

That came after 21 of the 52 entries failed to finish Derek di Grazia’s newly designed cross-country course, while a further four withdrew before the show jumping finale.

But for Oakden, who despite not having experience around the famously difficult terrain finished inside the top half of finished riders, thoroughly enjoyed his maiden Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

He added: “It’s brilliant, it’s what you want when you come here, it’s just a pleasure to ride in front of people that want you to do well and it’s just good sport isn’t 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