Some of the riders in this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials field are returning here after a break of 10 years or more:
The Norfolk-based rider last competed here in 1995 when she finished 12th with her medal-winning Young Rider horse, Party Man.
“I’ve been so determined to get back here; it’s taken a while,” said Emily, who is married to Alec Lochore, the director of next week’s Longines FEI European Eventing Championship at Blair Castle. “I’ve had horses almost make it and then miss out through injury. I come here every year to watch and walk round, so it doesn’t really feel like I’ve been away, but to have a horse back here competing is incredible.”
Emily found her ride, the 10-year-old Hexmaleys Hayday, who stands at 16.1hh but looks deceptively bigger, six years ago through the website, Horsequest.
“I thought he’d be a good project to bring on and sell, but the more I did with him the more I felt I had something special,” she said. “He’s one of those freaks you see at four-star level – we’ve no idea about his history or breeding.”
The pair started their campaign here with a dressage score of 54.2.
Much has happened since 36-year-old Nana Dalton last came to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in 2000 but withdrew after dressage.
She married Adam Dalton in 2010, changed her name from Susanna Barker to Nana Dalton and had a son, Toby, who is now two.
Nana currently has five horses at three- and four-star level in her West Sussex yard, including her ride here, Sheila Jones’ Elite Syncopation.
“He’s a complete legend for even being here,” said Nana of the 12-year-old gelding. “He’s had five operations, including one when he broke his withers, and he’s been on the operating table three times.”
Nana was thrilled with her dressage mark of 53.6.
“I was quite emotional when I came out of the arena. There were a couple of small mistakes in his changes – he’s established with these at three-star level, but not quite at four-star, but he tried his heart out for me,” she said.
This British-based Australian finished ninth at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in 1999 with Bootlegger. He returns this year with a grey mare called Silvia.
“When I broke in Sylvia as a six-year-old she bucked me off so many times I can’t tell you,” said Warren, who admitted that he never imagined the feisty, pint-sized mare would be his ticket back to the big time. “She’s not a blood horse, so we’ll be going at our own speed tomorrow, but she’s a fighter with a huge heart. I will be hoping to get her home safe and sound.”
Warren, who was born in Western Australia, came to the UK in 1996 as a rider for Sir Mark Todd, where he worked for two years. He then worked for Blyth Tait before setting up his own yard. He is now based near Newbury in Berkshire where he runs White Hart Stables with his wife Susanna Aromando.
Warren, whose brother, Murray, is also competing at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this year with Under The Clocks, is a BE Accredited Trainer and a British Showjumping UKCC Level II coach. He has a Master’s degree in Coaching Science as well as a BA in Agricultural Science.
Warren and Sylvia scored 50.5 in the dressage.
“I was stoked with her test. Last time I was here I froze in the dressage and let the atmosphere get to me,” he said. “This time I was more focused on what I was doing and tried to stay relaxed.”