FRANKTON event rider Ben Way was left delighted to pick up a first completion at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, but insisted all the applause should go to horse Galley Light.
The pair had been eliminated during the cross country discipline at last year’s Burghley after being unseated, a disappointment Way was desperate to recover from.
But in just his second ride around the four-star course in Lincolnshire – considered one of the most difficult in the world – Way and Galley Light were among just 40 finishers, going into the three-day event finale with 133.3 penalty points.
And while they weren’t quite able to go all clear on the show jumping, the extra four penalty points lifted him to 35th, with Way ecstatic at how his Burghley had unfolded.
“I’m thrilled with the way he jumped out there,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s a big, technical track, a lot of quite difficult related distances and he’s come out again and really pinged on the last day.
“He’s a thoroughbred and sometimes they can come out on the last day, having had a big chuck yesterday, and be quite lazy.
“But he was just so careful, even after all that galloping yesterday he was brilliant, so pleased with him.
“It was a good way to finish. If he’d have gone out and had three or four fences down then it would’ve put such a dampener on it, and those things can happen at the big ones, but I was really pleased with how he did.
The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials saw 71 of the world’s best horses compete over three event disciplines – dressage, cross country and show jumping – in a CCI four-star event which takes its place as one of the FEI’s six Main Courses.
And for Way, a successful cross country run was a particular highlight, putting last year’s demons behind him and following a strong Badminton performance, finishing 12th earlier in the year.
“It’s great just to be back at Burghley, it’s an amazing venue for eventing,” he added. “We had a few free rides around the park and it’s a stunning setting.
“On the early part of the cross country course I was thrilled with him, he jumped all the difficult fences and answered the questions I was worried about.
“It’s just a big track and continuously huge jumping efforts and difficult to keep their confidence up, but he came home really nicely and I’m really pleased.”
Australia’s Christopher Burton won the event, ahead of New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson and his compatriot Jonelle Price.
The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (1st-4th September) has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk