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Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2017 – Final Press Conference

Oliver Townend talking about winning with a 4* débutant:
“With him being such a young horse, a lot has to go right, he’s only just learnt flying changes, he’s only just learnt a lot of things, so everything had to go 100% his way, but dressage he gave his absolute best, that he’s got at this stage.
Cross country, I gave him as much time as I could before I pressed Go, and he just was fantastic. I mean, just a different talent to what I am used to sitting on for a long long time. And then show jumping, apart from the obvious fence, he’s a good jumper, just very babyish with the crowds and things, when he comes towards a fence with the crowd behind it he can just lose concentration, but I couldn’t be happier with him.”

On the horse being quite naughty in the past.

“When he is naughty I don’t think he is being naughty, I think he has just had a fright at some stage, when he arrived he was just fairly wild and fairly rank, and he used to run off with a lot of people and we’ve all fallen off him properly, but I don’t think it’s through being nasty or naughty, it’s just through general sharpness and blood and a bit of fear occasionally. But touch wood I’ve not fallen off him for a long time in a normal situation, so hopefully we’re good enough mates at this stage, although he did dump a girl on the gallops a couple of weeks ago…”

Piggy French, on getting back into competitive riding and getting her mind back into competing at this level after a year off to have her son Max. 

“I didn’t actually find it that difficult, as soon as the competition year started, I am actually still naturally a very competitive competitor, so I just like working horses, I like competing, so I find the drive to do this quite easy. The fitness side was definitely something I paid more attention to this year than I ever have done, because I haven’t competed as many horses this year as what I used to ride before I had Max. So, we had a personal trainer once a week which was Hell, but it definitely made quite a big difference to me to get back in shape physically and mentally, it was really helpful.”

To Gemma Tattersall:
Gemma, it’s been a great year for Great Britain, what with the Europeans and now 1,2,3 at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, would you say that this is now with Great Britain now back into the ascendancy in Eventing?

“Without a doubt. I mean, we’re all sat here? And there’s plenty behind us as well, that’s really exciting, Tom McEwen and Izzy, and there’s plenty of us up well up there with some lovely lovely young horses, and that’s very exciting.”

And although you’re here as individuals, the combination of Waygood and Bartle has contributed to that?”

Gemma: “Well, he’s contributed to me in my career definitely, he’s actually been helping me for the last 5 years and he’s helped me a huge amount so I’m very grateful to him for that.”


Show Jumping Course Designer Richard Jeffery.

Did the course ride as you expected today?

“For once actually yes. I was really pleased with the triple combination, because it’s not an even ring, you had an uphill and then down again, and I was a bit concerned about the distances. I hope I gave the riders enough there. I was quite surprised how well that jumped.
And I was happy with the time, I’m not about really really tight time alloweds, but if you rode the course neatly, you got inside the time.
But I think for once if I built the course again tomorrow I’d do exactly the same.”


Elizabeth Inman, Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Director:

“It’s been a wonderful 4 days of the sport, it’s been wonderful for our title sponsor Land Rover, there are so many people who put so much effort into these events, both Mark Phillips our Cross Country Designer, Richard Jeffery. It’s a wonderful finale, it really has been superb.”

As far as numbers, she said that she thought there were record crowds yesterday, it was heaving, and such a lovely day.


So, that marks the end of another Brilliant Burghley, with some huge surprises on Cross Country day, a very worthy if somewhat unexpected winner, and a surprise British whitewash of the top of the Leaderboard. Congratulations to all riders who mastered such a testing track, and gave us lots of memories to cherish from this year.


Photos by generous permission of Shaw Shots – Peter Shaw Photography

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