Sarah Pickard has qualified for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Some say that winning is everything but sometimes just making the start line is an achievement in itself and that is certainly the case for Sarah Pickard.
The 24-year-old event rider hasn’t had thousands upon thousands of lessons nor bought expensive and experienced horses to aid her path to the very top.
But Pickard has reached the four-star event of Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials with grit, determination and a fair amount of skill and she cannot wait to get going on August 30.
“I was hoping to qualify for four-star, which is what we’ve done and that’s fantastic,” said the Kent rider, who is based at Kylemore Farm in Canterbury.
“I was very excited to get into Burghley, we hoped we’d get in but it was a dream really.
“I’m not one of the top names and I wasn’t sure whether I would get in, but we were hoping to do a four star this season, whether it be Burghley or Pau, so we’re really pleased to get in.
“Getting to the top is what I feel quite special about, it’s just me and my one horse and a lot of the other riders there are supported by a lot of sponsorship and we’re not.
“We’ve got there without that, without lots of lessons, I feel quite pleased that we’ve made it to one of the biggest events around and I’m very excited for it.
“I’ve been once to spectate but otherwise we tend to make a day of it and sit at home on the sofa and watch it on the telly as you can see so much more, I prefer to see all the jumps.”
And while Pickard isn’t expecting to challenge the very top riders at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials she’s confident she, and her horse Polo Striker, can perform well.
The 24-year-old is hoping to complete a clean round – and good weather – as she makes her debut at the competition.
“It’s such a bold, forward course. I will be nervous, but I’ll just take it day by day and my aim is just to complete it really, it’s our first four star and we just want to get around,” she said.
“It would mean a huge amount as we’ve got there without what everyone else has had, so it would be really special if we can go clear.
“It’s always our dressage that we need to work on, he’s a spooky horse and he’ll spook at everything in the dressage arena and I’m praying that it’s not going to be raining on the day at Burghley.
“He’s a lovely horse, we’ve had him since he was young, he’s always been a bit quirky and he is a cross country machine but he was a bit backwards when we first got him and he still is not but he knows his job when he is at a competition.”
The multi-award-winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from August 30 – September 2 has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit burghley-horse.co.uk