WINTERBOURNE Stoke rider Louisa Lockwood is celebrating after securing a finish in the top half of this year’s Burghley International Horse Trials on ten-year-old Ballyfarris Flight.
This was the young horse’s first four-star event and he certainly rose to the challenge.
After a reasonable dressage test - the phase that Bally usually finds the most difficult - the pair were in 58 th place heading into Saturday’s Cross Country day. British team trainer Tracie Robinson, who has been helping Bally improve, was on hand at Burghley to assist Louisa warm up.
Captain Mark Phillip’s course was described as a serious four-star challenge with plenty to test the skill, stamina and accuracy of both horse and rider. At the end of the day, 39 of the 68 competitors had jumped clear with only three inside the time - including New Zealander Jock Paget, the eventual winner, and last year’s victor Andrew Nicholson on two of his three rides).
Ballyfarris Flight jumped superbly and came home clear cross-country with 26 times penalties.
With so many tricky combination fences, Louisa opted to take two of the longer routes and also not to push her young horse too hard over the hilly terrain in order to maintain his confidence and also ensure he came home sound and not too tired.
The following morning, Bally trotted up fit and well for the veterinary panel and then went on to jump an excellent final show jumping round with just the one pole down.
Despite the four faults, a finishing place of 34th delighted Louisa and the horse’s owners, Liz le Sueur, Elleke Carling, Carol Seymour-Newton and Donald Birts.