Kate Shapland cannot wait to make her 5* debut at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials after a stunning year of success.
The 22-year-old Taunton-born/Harrogate-based rider will compete on 14-year-old Uris Cavalier in their first ever 5* event at Burghley.
Shapland’s strong season saw her qualify for a place in the field, impressing with a 7th-place finish at Bramham Horse Trials and more recently a 31st-place finish at Alnwick.
But it's the rider's 49th place at the 4* Chatsworth event that stands out for her, placing top 50 in one of the most challenging courses she's navigated to date.
She said: "I was very happy with Bramham and that was unbelievable but my highlight would probably be Chatsworth because there were so many elements that you could get caught up on.
"It was a real testing course that came thick and fast and it was early on in the season with a big atmosphere that drew in the crowd.
"For us to go in as we did and pull it out of the bag, I took a lot away to work on and I couldn’t ask for more than that.
"It was such a great experience because I knew I could do it and I knew what I had to work on.
"I was very happy to come away with that as well as she did."
Shapland revealed that she is a meticulous planner away from the course, with back-up plans and a ‘live for the moment' attitude.
And the rider is confident that her current form and mentality will allow her to enjoy every moment at one of the world's most iconic eventing competitions.
She said: "This season, Uris Cavalier's had a stellar performance in terms of where she's been and that for me was what clinched it.
"I feel very happy with my form right now, you've got to prepare to get into Burghley but you've also got to prepare that you might not get there.
"So you've got to have that plan B, C and D and you can't get too ahead of yourself.
"I think in preparation it's easy to get too far into the future and ruin what you have there and then. It's just as important to do the work so you can go on and reap the rewards like this later on."
Practice makes perfect!
Watch the @BritEquestrian team run through their World Championships test after dressage on Thursday 1 September.
Tickets are available for all days on the gate. #betterthanever #eventing #LRBHT22 pic.twitter.com/WRYO79JDp3
— Land Rover Burghley (@LRBHT_Official) August 26, 2022
Heading into Burghley, Shapland and Uris Cavalier will be looking for a completion around the iconic course, already pleased with their qualification.
But the rider confirmed that she now has one eye firmly on the future as she starts to rival for top positions.
"I will be very happy going well around Burghley and I think that would be the most I could ask from her for this season,” said Shapland, speaking ahead of the event that is back for the first time in two years - due to the Covid-19 pandemic - better than ever, with renewed impetus, a top class field and additional activities on offer.
"However looking into next season and beyond I think the sky's the limit and you again have to rethink and regather yourself after each event and think about what needs work, what's positive or what's not."
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