Piggy March tops Burghley leaderboard after cross-country run

·2-min read
Piggy March tops Burghley leaderboard after cross-country run

By Tom Masters at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

Piggy March sits at the top of the leaderboard going into the final day at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials after a near-perfect run in the showpiece cross-country event.

The Maidwell rider, 42, pushed all the way to the finish line and crossed just one second over the optimum time on what was a tough day for riders, with five of the first ten out failing to finish Derek di Grazia’s new course.

That excellent run of 11 minutes and 21 seconds saw just 0.4 penalty points added to her score of 22.6 in the dressage, which sees March sitting comfortably at the top ahead of Sunday’s show jumping finale, as she bids to claim her first ever Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials title.

And March was delighted that her horse Vanir Zamira seemed to enjoy herself around the prestigious Lincolnshire course.

She said: “She’s such a good girl, isn’t she?

“Someone told me if I’m having a nice time I’m not going fast enough, so it’s got to be a horrid time - it felt quite like that.

“She’s amazing, I’m the queen of one second over, I love doing that.

“The moment I did a downhill she filled up her lungs and my goodness she finished well.

“She’s such a special horse, she’s been amazing for me and my career. She’s given us so much joy - my main aim was for her to be 17 and still love it, and it seems like she did.”

With March leading the way ahead of the final day’s action, she feels she is peaking at the right time as she bids to provide Vanir Zamira with what could be a fairytale finish to her career.

She added: “She feels good, she’s got better and better.

“I would love to finish her at the top and she’s put her heart on the line for me so many times. Normal people wouldn’t come and have a ride and think ‘this horse is going to win you a Badminton or a Burghley’.

“I would be sad to finish when she’s not enjoying it but she will tell me. I’ll let her decide (when to stop)

“It’s important at this stage, when they’ve been so special, that they’re happy.

“I’ve had to give myself a bollocking the last few weeks building up to this - you have all the emotion building up and a lot of pressure.

“You’ve got to be strong but if she was to do well, I’d be so emotional.”

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