Thursday, September 01, 2011 09:59 BST
TOM AIMS FOR FIRST FOUR-STAR BADGE OF HONOUR
Twenty-year-old Tom McEwen is the youngest rider at this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials – 34 years younger than five-times Burghley winner Mark Todd who has the distinction of being the oldest. It will be the first four-star event for Tom who is from Wiltshire and his horse Dry Old Party.
Tom comes from an equestrian family; his father Bobby is an equine vet in Lambourn, his mother Ali was a show jumper and younger sister Ella also events and was a member of the British pony team in 2007 and 2008. Tom too has also come through the ranks of the sport via the British pony, junior and young rider teams. Last year he was a member of the Young rider team that brought home a sixth successive team gold from Pardubice (Czech) and this year riding Private Rudolph repeated the team win with the British Young Rider team at the recent European Championships at Blair Castle. At the end of last season Tom was awarded the Edy Goldman Trophy for the rider ‘under 21’ who has won the most British Eventing points as well as being awarded the Horse Trials Support Group Young Rider Training Bursary.
“Being at Burghley is a bit daunting, especially as I don’t really know it that well, I only came here for the first time last year,” said Tom after Dry Old Party had passed the first horse inspection. “It is a massive four-star cross-country track but I think it should ride well. Although there are a few fences where you will need to keep a line there are no trappy fences – if you can see a stride and go you should have a good ride.”
While Tom hopes that he the pair will complete he also hopes it will be in style especially as Dry Old Party, a former racehorse by Un Desperado (the same sire as three times gold cup winner Best Mate) enjoys galloping and jumping. “Hopefully we will do the best dressage we are capable of and have a good ride round. Dry Old Party being a former racehorse is a real jumping machine.”