Tom Rowland has been dreaming of Burghley's famed cross country fences for four long years and will finally get to jump them again at the 2022 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
The Cirencester rider will compete in the 5* event for the second time, having made his debut in 2018 with aging yet reliable gelding Possible Mission.
Regarded as one of the most prestigious 5* equestrian events in the world, the three-day showpiece is set against the remarkable backdrop of Burghley House and Rowland is excited to encounter the beauty of the course again.
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
He said: "It's the iconic cross country fences, Cottesmore Leap and the Land Rover Trout Hatchery.
"I keep thinking that last time I was there I didn't go off the drop to the leap pit, I took the alternative, so I hope that the leaf pit's in it this year because everyone has to have a picture jumping off the leaf pit.
"I know we have a new course assignment so it's quite difficult to know what tricks are back.
"It will be interesting to see how much it changes. Is it going to feel like the Burghley that we've known the last 10 or 20 years or is it going to be different? It's interesting."
After three years out of action due to the pandemic, Burghley is welcoming back riders and crowds in early September.
Rowland was unable to return in 2019 as his horse was not quite where he wanted in the season but will return on 15-year-old Possible Mission full of anticipation for what lies ahead.
"I did my first Burghley in 2018 and we had such a nice time because of the atmosphere. It felt a little bit more laid back and was very friendly and welcoming,” said Rowland, 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.
"I'm just really looking forward to coming back for a second go.
"It's exciting to be coming back to events that have had three years off. I think when I get there, it will feel like yesterday, but it also feels like such a long time ago."
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
Since his debut, Rowland has begun the process of building a strong rank of horses beneath Possible Mission in a bid to join the top riders at Burghley.
And with riders like Andrew Nicholson winning six times on several different horses, the 31-year-old wants to expand his repertoire and become a Burghley regular.
He said: "My heroes are those riders like Andrew Nicholson, Pippa Funnell or William Fox-Pitt because if you look over the years how many horses they had at Burghley and they're still coming back.
"They come back time and time again on horses they've produced up to that top level. That really is my massive inspiration, the way in which they've done that.
"Nine times out of 10, those are horses that they've had since they were five and that's what I want to do.
"I'm delighted to be back at Burghley but as much as it sounds greedy, I want to be back there every single year."
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