Upton makes childhood dream come true at Burghley Horse Trials

·2-min read
Bubby Upton was riding at her first ever Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials)

Bubby Upton fulfilled a childhood dream by completing her first-ever Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials writes James Reid.

The Newmarket equestrian finished 14th after a disappointing show jumping round left her failing to capitalise on an electric performance in the notoriously difficult cross-country phase.

The 23-year-old and horse Cola III knocked four fences during Sunday’s showpiece to fall out of the top ten, having started the day in seventh, but showed plenty of reason for excitement around the young pair’s future.

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials returned bigger and better than ever in 2022, after two missed years due to Covid-19, with swathes of spectators descending on 16th-century Burghley House and its rolling hills.

And Upton, who only recently switched to full-time eventing after graduating with a first from the University of Edinburgh, was thrilled to have had her first experience of the iconic 5* event.

“It’s amazing to be doing my first Burghley,” she said. “It’s such a special venue and it’s been a childhood dream.

“To be there with this horse is really special, he’s a phenomenal horse.

“It’s not quite the finish we hoped for but that doesn’t take away from what a star he is.

“I think the future is very bright for him and what an experience it’s been.”

The final day of competition had nearly ended before it began for Upton, with Cola having to present again at the morning’s trot up to check each horse’s fitness after the gruelling cross-country.

The pair eventually passed at the second time of asking, and Upton then went on to compete in Burghley’s packed-out main arena, with the crowd deadly silent as each rider went round before erupting into applause.

“It’s incredible, it’s so cool going in there,” added Upton.

“Obviously I would have loved to have finished and punched the air and enjoyed the crowd but hopefully one day I will.”

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