Riders will descend on this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from all over the world but one will have a shorter journey than most.
Kerry Varley, 29, from Ryhall, is one of 72 riders who will be competing at the event, which begins tomorrow (Thursday) and runs until Sunday.
She will be competing on her 12-year-old gelding Bluestone Luke. The pair rode together at Burghley in 2010 and Kerry knows exactly what to expect from the event.
She said: “Burghley is the highlight of a lot of riders’ years. It’s a high-prestige event and is very big with the public as well.
“It’s an honour. Just to drive through the gates and know that people are coming to watch you is a great feeling. It’s your five minutes of fame. It’s beautiful.
“It’s not like riding anywhere else. So much has gone into the ground.”
Top riders like six-time Burghley champion William Fox-Pitt and last year’s winner Andrew Nicholson will ensure fierce competition for podium places at the event.
Kerry does not expect to be among the top riders as Bluestone Luke is among the smallest horses in the field. But she is excited simply to be taking part.
She said: “He has just had two years off because he was about to get injured. He’s a bit of a comeback kid.
“He has a heart of gold and I wouldn’t want to be sat on anything else on the cross country.
“I will be happy once we get in the lorry and get there. I take every hour as it comes and don’t get too excited until I am actually riding. The horses could stand on a stone - anything could happen.
“When you compete the crowd and the cheering makes you up your game a bit more. It will be a good week and hopefully the weather will be nice.”
Kerry will be joined by sister Claire, who will be her groom, and other family members who will cheer her on.
And she will be ably supported by her team. She added: “Eventing is such a team sport, you can’t do it without family, trainers, physios, vets and so on. Without them I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing.”
The trials get underway tomorrow (Thursday) with a full programme of competition until Sunday.
As well as the horseriding, there will be more than 600 tradestands and the Burghley FoodWalk.
People can buy tickets from the showground box office on site. Visit the www.burghley-horse.co.uk website.