Oakham rider Simon Grieve competes in Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials for the seventh time
Oakham-based rider Simon Grieve is preparing for a brand new challenge when he returns to familiar territory at this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse trials.
Grieve, 37, will complete in the elite three-day event for the seventh time when it gets underway today (Thursday) – but this time with a horse making its five-star debut.
He has completed the event before with horses Cornacrew, Drumbilla Metro and Douglas, but the Rutland-based international event rider will be taking 10-year-old The Rutman for his debut at Burghley Park as he attempts to take the horse up to the top echelon of eventing.
Grieve said: “This year’s Burghley Horse Trials is a building block for this horse.
“It’s my seventh start, but the first time I am competing at Burghley with Binnie (The Rutman).
“He’s an inexperienced horse, he’s not very old and he hasn’t competed at that level before.
“I’d really like him to have an enjoyable cross-country run. He had a great run around Bramham in the four-star so he is capable.
“He’s a great mover, but the dressage is a work in progress. He’s not quite there yet to be troubling the leaders.
“I’d love for him to have a clear round, but if I know he’s had an enjoyable experience, I will be happy.”
Grieve will be among 76 riders taking to the international five-star event in Burghley Park as eventers compete in dressage, cross country and show jumping disciplines, looking to follow in the footsteps of six-time champion and three-time Olympic medallist William Fox-Pitt.
The newly classified five-star event is one of only two of its kind in the UK, and routinely attracts the world’s brightest and best to its famously undulating terrain.
A veteran of the event, Grieve believes there is no better fixture on the eventing calendar.
He added: “Burghley is the reason I started eventing.
“I went to watch when I was a kid in the 1980s and I was so inspired by what I saw. It’s really special to me because it’s what I’ve always aimed to do.
“To do it once was amazing, so having my ninth start is so special. It doesn’t matter how many times you do it, it feels just as wonderful to be involved every year.
“The atmosphere is always brilliant – it’s a wonderful place to go to. The cross-country course especially is so beautifully designed and really encourages bold riding. It’s a real spectacle.
“I’ve come a long way since I first competed, not only about the courses and riding but also about myself – not just from an equestrian perspective, but also in the way I deal with other things like attention and nerves.
“I’ve definitely matured – it’s given me a few grey hairs along the way!”
The multi-award-winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for more than 50 years. For more information visit burghley-horse.co.uk
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More by this authorJames Bedford