Our advocate Emily King is thrilled to be competing at her first Burghley, although she first came here as a baby of nine months old when her mother Mary King won the event in 1996. Emily tells us how her preparations have gone and her expectations for the weekend ahead at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials.
“I am so excited to be competing here myself although, I’ve been here many times with Mum so it helps to know how it all works. I’m on a super horse with Valmy Biats and this will be my third year with him, so I am getting to know him really well and really getting him in tune with me. I’ve done a few five stars on him but it is my first Burghley so it would be great complete. I am a very competitive person, so I’d love to give it a really good shot but ultimately, I want him to come home safe and sound and the main aim is just to have a completion. If I can jump clear on the cross country and jump clear on the last day, even better and if I can do all that and be competitive then that’s just a bonus. I want to prioritise just getting through that finish line.
“I have had some good four-star short runs. He went to Badminton in the wet and had a really good spin until I found that he was finding the going just a bit too relentless and he’s such a trying horse I didn’t want to break his spirit or actually break him and cause a problem to happen by being a bit greedy. If he was telling me he was a bit tired I wanted to save him for another day which is what I did. I rerouted to Luhmhulen where we had an annoying glance off cross-country which was his first 20 penalties on the cross-country, in his life so that’s not really him, we just had a bit of a miscommunication. Apart from that he jumped phenomenally, and show jumped super on the last day. Then he was third at Burgham more recently. I am very happy with where he is fitness is at and everything crossed that we can have a good week.
“I couldn’t ask for a better partner in Valmy, he’s a super horse and a very good jumper. He’s very brave and bold and I do think a bigger track suits him, but this is quite big! I am interested to see how he copes here on Saturday compared to Badminton. We are on the top of the ground here which will surely help.
“I was pleased with my dressage as have been working to improve his way of going since Luhmuhlen and he’s learnt a huge amount. Parts of his test were the best he’s ever done but we made some little mistakes in our test. When we get everything perfect he’s going to be a proper 20s scoring horse. But it’s all to play for in the cross-country.”
Image: Tilly Berendt