Wilson makes fairytale return to Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials after 16 years

·2-min read
Helen Wilson's horse My Ernie only made the switch to eventing at age 10 (Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials)

Sixteen years on from her last Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Helen Wilson finally returned to the Lincolnshire soil writes Tom Masters.

Wilson last competed at Burghley back in 2006, finishing 50th on Tip Top Tiger, but after raising current horse My Ernie, Wilson made the fairytale comeback.

The Dorking-based equestrian scored 32 on day two of the dressage stage on Friday.

And the 42-year-old remarked on how fortunate she is to have found a horse capable of competing at such a prestigious event as Burghley.

She said: “Yeah it’s been a long time since I last competed!

“He was a little horse which I owned and got as far as Badminton and Burghley that season and then I sold him.

“I’ve been working for various different people since then, so I’ve always been involved with horses and eventing, but I haven’t had one back at this top level for a while.

“This is unexpected this horse as well, I got him very cheaply as a hunter basically, and in the last three years he has gone from never eventing to here, so it’s fantastic and I own him as well so that’s nice.”

Having bought My Ernie at the age of three, he was originally involved in hunting before making the incredible late switch to eventing at the age of 10, something which Wilson believes separates eventing from other sport.

“He’d done a bit of show jumping and then I took him hunting for the season,” she said.

“I think he’s tricky, he’s got a few quirks, he’s not great in the lorry but we’ll see.

“It is amazing to get him here, and it shows how it’s such an amazing sport, because you can work hard, not be professional but still get up to the top level with the right horse.”

After such a long absence, Wilson could not hide her delight at returning to the 5* event, with crowds coming in from far and wide to see the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials for the first time since 2019.

She added: “Just to be here is fantastic, with all the crowds, it’s just unbelievable, it really is, I must say I’m delighted to get back here.

“I just want to have a great time, like I say he’s very, very new to the sport still, so he had a couple of little incidents at Badminton, nothing serious, but I’m just hoping to improve on that.

“I like the course so we’ll see, anything can happen, he should be brave enough and fit enough to take it on, and it’s up to me to keep up!”

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