Lauren Innes is hoping to put a frustrating start to the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials behind her as she failed to improve on her Badminton dressage score in May.
The 32-year-old, who turns 33 this weekend, posted a score of 45.3 with Global Fision M on her debut at the event on Thursday.
But the Reading-based rider is quietly optimistic that a positive cross-country run will ensure she can celebrate her birthday in style.
“I’m just really frustrated today,” she said. “While it was nowhere near a good test and what he can do, it was much better than Badminton but I ended up with the same score.
“He was very tense. That’s frustrating but it’s life really and that’s the judges but we’ll regroup and go and walk the course.
“Because I was on the first day, I thought I would just get the dressage out the way and go and crack on with the jumping, which is what he’s good at. That’s why we’re here because he loves it.”
Innes is one of the few amateur riders at the famed equestrian event and, when she is not at the stables, the New Zealand international is a full-time chartered accountant.
Her 13-year-old Dutch-bred gelding’s best finish came in 2021, placing third at Blair Castle on the 4* course.
Burghley is Global Fision M’s third 5* event and Innes stressed it is the prestige of the competition that brings the pair to the Lincolnshire turf.
“I wouldn’t come to somewhere like Burghley with him, unless it was Burghley,” she added.
“He’s such a good jumper, he just doesn’t do a test on grass in that kind of arena.
“He’s much better on a surface but you can’t choose the surface at Badminton and Burghley and while I have a horse like him I’ve got to give these courses a go and get that experience.
Defender Burghley Horse Trials (31st August - 3 September 2023) has been a major international sporting and social event for over 50 years. It attracts the world’s top equestrians and over 170,000 visitors. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk