Tom Rowland hopes the buzz of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials crowd will help him romp around the cross-country course and fire him towards silverware this weekend writes James Reid.
Rowland and horse Possible Mission scored 31.2 in their dressage test on the opening day of competition to sit 10th in the early standings, with the infamous cross-country course up next on Saturday.
The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials are back in 2022 for the first time since 2019 after two absent years due to Covid-19, and with bumper numbers of spectators expected, the Cirencester-based equestrian is hoping the crowd can roar him home.
“At Badminton it was so busy and the crowds just carry you round, and I reckon it’s going to be the same here,” said Rowland. “It’s just such a buzz.
“They really do carry the horses round and carry you round.
“It’s really nice to bring him into this atmosphere because it really lifts him.
“I tried to get in there just as Felicity [Collins] was finishing her test, because the more noise the more it lifts him.”
With the return of Burghley after two years away, anticipation is higher than ever and Rowland now can’t to wait to get stuck into the iconic cross-country stage.
“It’s amazing and we’re very lucky in this country as we have a lot of amazing venues on a week-to-week basis,” he added.
“I’m a bit of a geek but you walk round that cross-country course and you’ve got all those amazing fences: that to be is the most special bit.
“It changes every year but it’s still the core famous Burghley fences.”
Also in action was fellow Gloucestershire rider Danielle Dunn, who scored 34.5 on Grandslam on her Burghley debut.
And the 24-year-old was thrilled with how the pair had performed on the big stage.
“We’re absolutely delighted with that mark,” said Dunn.
“It’s not the horse’s favourite phase and he was a really good boy, such an improvement from the last international test he did, from all angles including his rideability.
“He did really, really well because he is quite a fiery, feisty horse in general, he coped really well, so let’s hope he’s still this good on Saturday.”
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