Felicity Collins isn’t feeling the pressure ahead of her first-ever Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, despite believing she has one of the best horses in the world.
The 24-year-old will compete amid the grandeur of Burghley House for the first time alongside 13-year-old gelding Contend Or.
The duo finished 21st at Badminton in May before a fourth-place finish at Barbury Castle in July.
And while Collins believes that the pair can compete on their day, the East Sussex rider is simply focused on taking in the experience of competing at such an historic event despite bringing plenty of form with them to Lincolnshire.
Leaping into a new week like @georgiespence23 🛬
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials runs from 1 - 4 September and tickets are available now. Hit the link below for more details.https://t.co/ar0IwK9zpy pic.twitter.com/N4XSWm2hIS
— Land Rover Burghley (@LRBHT_Official) May 30, 2022
“He’s been fantastic,” said Collins, speaking ahead of the event that is back for the first time in two years - due to the Covid-19 pandemic - better than ever, with renewed impetus, a top class field and additional activities on offer.
“He’s run eight or nine times this year and jumped double clear every single time.
“He is a phenomenal horse. I would be confident to say he is one of the best jumpers on the circuit. His record speaks for itself, he is a phenomenal jumper.
“I’m very lucky that on his best day and on my best day, we could be competitive but I also just want to get round in one piece and have a good experience, we’re still both learning at this level and it’s our first Burghley.
“My trainer started mentioning about placing and what we should be aiming for, and I kind of laughed at her.
“We both had a bit of a laugh and agreed that we need to take everything that comes.
“I’m just hoping I do him justice because he is one of the best horses in the world and I want to be able to show that off.”
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials returns in September for the first time since 2019 due to Covid-19, and anticipation is high ahead of what is a set-piece occasion in the eventing calendar.
It will be the first time Collins has tackled the famous hills and notorious cross-country course at Burghley and the 24-year-old is pleased that competing at the famed venue will not be her first time stepping up to 5* level, having competed previously at Bicton, Badminton, and Pau.
“It’s been really good to get a little bit of experience, I wouldn’t want to go to Burghley having never done a 5*,” added Collins.
Exciting few days here at @landrover_uk Burghley HQ.
Stables are on their way 🆙
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials runs from 1 / 4 September 2022.#countdownison #betterthanever #LRBHT #eventing #BTS pic.twitter.com/HeVk2V3BNB
— Land Rover Burghley (@LRBHT_Official) August 4, 2022
“I’ve done three now so just getting the experience will be really helpful and hopefully play to my advantage.
“Bicton was great because it wasn’t Burghley, but the terrain was probably the most difficult of any 5* that there has ever been with all the hills.
“That’s one factor that I was a little bit nervous of with Burghley because everyone says how hilly it is, so when my horse ran really well that gave me a bit of confidence.
“It made me think hopefully if he’s run round here well, then Burghley wouldn’t be out of the question.
“I said let’s just do Badminton first and see how we get on, then he ran very well at Badminton and it was like, ‘well, I guess we’re going to Burghley then!’
“When you have a horse who is such a good jumper and suits these big old tracks, the Badmintons and Burghleys are the things you will aim for.”
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (1-4 September 2022) returns after a two-year hiatus, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A major international sporting and social event for over 50 years it attracts 80 of the world’s top equestrians and over 170,000 visitors. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk