Phoebe Buckley returns to 'special' Burghley Horse Trials

·2-min read
The storied 5* equestrian event in Stamford, Lincolnshire returned on Thursday after a two-year hiatus (Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials)

By Tom Masters

After a 12-year absence, Phoebe Buckley finally returned to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on Thursday with storied steed Tiger Mail.

Buckley, 38, marked her first day at Burghley since 2010 with a score of 38.9 in the dressage of the prestigious 5* event on the 12-year-old gelding.

She feels particularly close to her horse, after raising him from birth after previously riding on Tiger Mail’s mother Little Tiger.

And after winning best mare with Little Tiger in 2008, the Cambridge star reminisced on her previous Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials over a decade ago.

She said: "Last time I was here I was riding his mum, so it’s quite special.

“She won best mare before and he was born a year later, so it’s made the whole thing feel that bit more special.

“I’ve known him since he was born, I’m the only rider he’s ever had, so we’ve got a real partnership.”

And ahead of the eagerly awaited cross country showpiece on Saturday, Buckley admits that she is unsure of just how good her horse is.

“It’s a difficult one, because you never know if you’ve got a Burghley horse until you know you’ve got a Burghley horse,” she said

“I think the track is great, I think it’s fair, it’s bold, it’s attacking.

“I have a very brave genuine horse, and I’m very happy with what I’m seeing and going into Saturday.”

And incredibly, Buckley is able to add a totally different form of riding to eventing, helping friends Tiffany and Richard Morgan-Evans with their yearling flat racehorses in the winter months.

One of such horses is Yorkshire Oaks winner Alpinista, another horse that Buckley feels a special bond with.

She added: “I do a bit with racehorses and in the winter, I work with some friends of mine, Tiffany and Richard Morgan-Evans breaking in yearling flat horses.

“It’s a fantastic job, we have a brilliant system and it’s actually such fun to do because some of the horses we’ve done have gone on to be Royal Ascot winners and things like that.

“One filly we did is Alpinista who is a favourite for the Arc, we broke her in and we look after her every spring.

“They have horses for the likes of John (and Thady) Gosden, Sir Mark Prescott and Sir Michael Stoute, so they’re all really top-end horses.

“So it’s an amazing flip side away from eventing, seeing young horses come through, so it’s fantastic.”

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