Highest-ever finish for Kerry at Burghley trials

Kerry Varley on Bluestone Luke.
Kerry Varley on Bluestone Luke.

Two Rutland riders have been in action at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Ryhall’s Kerry Varley achieved a personal best at the weekend with her highest-ever finish.

Angus Smales on Master Crisp.

Angus Smales on Master Crisp.

Varley has had five rides at her home three-day event, since making her debut in 2010, and made it three consecutive completions with a 33rd place finish – topping her two 36th places in the past two years.

Riding Bluestone Luke, Varley scored 67.4 in Thursday’s dressage phase, before shooting up the rankings from 65th to 34th by getting round the famed Burghley cross country course with 20 jump, and 37.6 time, penalties.

Just six faults in Sunday’s showjumping meant Varley finished on a total of 131.0, and she was just pleased to have even had the chance to complete.

“I’m so pleased because he has had trials and tribulations along his career, with fractured legs and God knows what,” said the 32-year-old.

“He was fresh for the showjumping, he went in there cantering sideways and jumped every fence as well as he could - I think the wind blew the gate down.

“It’s amazing to finish on a high, he’ll now go in the field, in about two hours time he’ll be back home and in the field - where he’ll be until January, unless we decide to go to Badminton, in which case he’ll be in a bit earlier.”

It wasn’t meant to be for Angus Smales, but the Uppingham rider insists there are plenty of positive signs to take from the experience.

Atop Master Crisp, Smales had been equal-42nd heading into cross country - the second discipline of the three-day event - with a dressage penalty score of 53.4 leading him in good stead.

But a tough course and damp conditions on the 5.5km course was one step too far for Burghley debutant Master Crisp, forced to retire during the run. ut rather than be perturbed, Smales believes the dressage performance of the pair gives a lot of inspiration as they bid for a Burghley return in 12 months’ time.

“I was very pleased after the dressage, there is certainly room for improvement but it was an encouraging performance,” said the 29-year-old.

“It’s the first time Master Crisp has been here so it bodes well and there’s plenty to work with.

“There has to be a first time for everything, so why not Burghley? This is one of the closest events to me, I was home within 15 minutes, and those home comforts can be really helpful to you.”

The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years.

For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk