By Ben Hart at Burghley Horse Trials
Mayfield’s Tom Crisp bounced back from Badminton disappointment with a dressage personal best at the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials.
Sussex star Crisp, 44, had the unenviable task of following New Zealand equestrian legend Tim Price, who had set a new event record just minutes previously.
But Crisp and Liberty And Glory who finished ninth at this event last year, scored 33.8 in front of a loquacious Lincolnshire crowd, fuelling hopes of another top-10 finish at the fabled 5* event.
“I’m really delighted for that little mare,” said Crisp. “We got a walk out of her today, she felt really good so I’m chuffed with her.
“I rarely come out chuffed with her after dressage, I normally come out in a rash, it’s one of those necessary evils.”
Crisp went viral earlier this summer when he pretended to swim in the Badminton Lake after falling off Liberty And Glory for the first time in their partnership during the cross-country phase.
The pair finished 14th on their return to action at Burgham in July and their upturn in form looks set to continue at Burghley.
“You can’t ever take a course like this for granted,” said Crisp.
“Badminton was a huge disappointment, but she’s come out of it really well. Burghley is normally good to me but you have to ride it like it’s a first time every time, especially this one because Derek (di Grazia, course designer) has kept it strong all the way home and it’s a true test.”
Ever the character, Crisp says he is fully prepared for another potential twist in Saturday’s highly-anticipated cross-country event.
“It’s not a particularly forgiving fence,” said Crisp, discussing the jump into the water during the cross-country at Burghley.
“The horses have to have enough jump in them at that stage, they’re going to be a bit leg weary coming down the hill and it’s a fence that needs ultimate respect.
“I’ve checked the water and the temperature is good, so if it does come to another swim I shall improve on my stroke.”
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