Kate Shapland is living her childhood dreams

·4-min read
Kate Shapland will fulfil her childhood dreams at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this year.

Kate Shapland has dreamt of competing at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials ever since she was a young girl and will finally make her debut this September.

The Taunton-born rider will take part in her first 5* event at the iconic venue after an impressive season, finishing 7th at Bramham and 49th at Chatsworth.

From dreaming of riding at Burghley to having her name on the entry list, the 22-year-old is thrilled for the chance to compete against such a high calibre field for the first time in her career.

She said: "The first time I ever went there I was quite a bit younger and I just remember all the riders going round and thinking one day maybe it could be me.

"And ten years later it is, so that's the first memory I have of Burghley.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what the new course design will bring but also the older elements that give it that reputation that everyone talks about.

"And we've had a break with Covid that brings everyone back with a fresh perspective and a new look on things and I think at this time of the year, it's an interesting time of the season.

"It's just a true 5* course and it demands a true 5* combination to get the best out of it and go round."

Burghley is well known for its fantastical cross-country fences such as the Leaf Pit and Trout Hatchery but the event returns in 2022 with a new design and course.

Shapland is already preparing herself for what might be in store for the riders but is excited to see a mixture of new and historic elements to the course.

She said: "I'm looking forward to walking around it and seeing what catches my eye. It's often the smaller quiet fences that you have to watch out for.

"And I assume they will leave the best fences until last, and by best I mean the worst, so there's always some big unveiling.

"These horses can surprise us. Sometimes what doesn't come across so easily to the rider can come across easily to the horse, so it's just keeping your wits about you at every element really."

Shapland and Uris Cavalier have been together for eight years and within that time have developed from jumping extraordinaries to 5* eventers.

An exciting horse from the start, their time together has seen the 14-year-old transition into a strong competitor and crowd-pleaser in all eventing disciplines.

"Her strength is the cross-country. I remember the first time I ever went cross-country eight years ago with her and it went like a duck to water and she was quirky to say the least, like all the best strong willed horses are,” said Shapland, 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.

"It leaves that element in her cross-country, the want. The French say 'l'envie de faire bien' and it's that want to do well and stick out the rest.

"Little by little the rest came and if you told me five years ago I would be getting her in dressage arenas with these crowds now, I wouldn’t have believed it.

"Because cross-country is her strong suit, it really enabled me to see that this horse is able and as long as I can get this right, why not? She loves it all now."

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