By Abi Curran at Defender Burghley Horse Trials
Alice Casburn insists there is nothing that can rival the feeling of a successful run at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials after sealing a second consecutive top 10 finish at the fabled 5* event.
The Norfolk star, 21, is rapidly making a name for herself in the equestrian world after finishing fifth and seventh onboard Topspin in her first two rides in Stamford.
To cap off an unforgettable week in Lincolnshire, she delivered a faultless run in Sunday’s show jump, navigating her own nerves as much as her mount’s.
“I think as soon as I get into it and get going, I’m pretty calm but I struggle to breathe as I go in,” said Casburn.
“He’s always quite quiet in the warm up now and I wonder if he’s going to be alright but he lights up in the arena and gets over excited but he’s incredible, I couldn’t be more thrilled with him.
“Even when you walk in and you haven’t done anything the crowd are cheering and you hear the gasps as you go round. It’s incredible in there and I don’t think any other feeling can beat it.
“For the first three fences I still have cold feat a little bit and then I was worrying about the time so I cut a few fences quite sharp but then I enjoyed myself.
“I felt he jumped better and better as the round went on.”
The Corpusty-based rider was forced to wait for a ride onboard Topspin, who for a while was considered too sharp for the youngster and instead ridden by Casburn’s mother Caroline.
They are now four years into their partnership and have already claimed team gold and individual bronze at the Young Rider European Championship in 2022, a few months after finishing 19th on her 5* debut at Pau.
Their best years may be ahead of them, but Casburn is determined to enjoy the moment.
“He’s absolutely incredible and he deserves it so much,” Casburn added.
“The feeling doesn’t get any better, I’ve really enjoyed the show jumping and the whole week has been absolutely fantastic.”
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