Alice Casburn dealt with high expectations on her return to the Defender Burghley Horse Trials and looked ahead to completing another successful week with ‘prima donna’ Topspin.
Casburn, 21, from Corpusty embarked on her fifth 5* event and is one of the competition’s youngest riders.
And the driven equestrian star used all her experience to perform with Topspin, posting a score of 35.8 with the gelding who is held dear in the Casburn family.
“He finds this place really difficult so it’s always a work in progress but he tried his best and I thought for him he did a really good test,” she said.
“They were marking quite harshly today, I was really pleased with him and as long as we produced a clear round, I would have been happy with him.
“I’ve had him forever, my mum bred his mother, so he’s part of the family.
“I’m lucky to have him, not many people at 21 can say it’s their fifth start at 5* so it’s about enjoying him and taking every day as it comes, it should be a good week.
“It’s one of my favourite events. It’s that old-fashioned terrain, it’s so much more than just galloping around and jumping fences, it’s keeping the rhythm, the balance, the control.
The three-day event is Casburn’s second Burghley and in 2022 she stormed to fifth on her debut.
The young riding ace was feeling the pressure going into the 2023 competition with such high expectations but has been focusing on striking a balance.
“I do feel a lot of pressure, he’s an incredible jumper, he’s incredible across the country, he’s normally quite careful on a show jumping day and normally climbs after today.
“It’s difficult knowing you’re on a horse that should have the best possible chance of having a good ride but at the same time we’ve come up the levels together and he should be in his prime today.
“I’m just trying to enjoy every single ride I get with him.”
“He’s a bit of a prima donna, his stable is right in front of the kitchen and if he’s not fed on time he’s looking through the window asking where his dinner is.”
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