After a nail biting finish to a truly epic event, the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials culminated in an historic first win for Great Britain’s Piggy March on board the indefatigable Vanir Kamira, Amy Powell reports.
Entering the arena on the final day of competition with two fences in hand over their nearest rivals, March and “Tilly” (as she is known at home) had a job on their hands to navigate a show jumping track which had only produced seven clear rounds throughout the day. The combination are capable of a four or eight fault round at five star level, but eventually only needed one in hand around the challenging course, rolling just the first part of fence 4 to win comfortably. Writing their own story in the pages of history of the event as they crossed the finish line, Vanir Kamira stakes her claim as only the third mare to ever win the Land Rover Burghley horse trials . “I can’t quite believe it really, I feel so relieved”, March sighed. “I put so much pressure on myself today than I normally do because I didn’t want to let her down as she deserves her name on a plaque up that Winner’s Avenue,” she said of the 17-year old mare. “It’s her fourth Burghley with me, she’s collected only 4.8 time faults over those four runs over the toughest cross country track in the world, and so she deserves to win.”
Climbing up the ranks from fourth placed after cross country into second with a phenomenal clear round was Great Britain’s Tom Jackson riding the 11-year-old Capels Hollow Drift to finish on a score of 32.5 penalties at his first ever Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. “I came here with high expectations of myself and of the horse, but to actually be here and finish second is amazing” Tom remarked about his result. “He’s normally a very good jumper and to go clear in that arena with that pressure, was really something else,” he said of the striking grey Irish-bred gelding.
After incurring 12 penalty points in their final phase and lowering three poles, New Zealand’s Tim Price and Vitali lost their overnight second placing to drop to third. “I’ve got to take it as a real positive,” Tim said of his overall placing, “to go down [the leader board] on the last phase is difficult to deal with because as a competitor, you just feel like you’ve left so much out there, but I’ve got to look at the whole picture and be realistic – he’s a super horse but he’s not quite ready to win at this level and I’m quite happy to be sat here in third on the last day.”
And with our champions becoming only the fourteenth combination to ever win both five star events in the UK (Badminton Horse Trials being the other), what of Vanir Kamira’s future now that she has secured her place in the history books? “She was brilliant this week, she obviously owes us nothing but how she was on Saturday, how she’s come out of the competition, we will keep going until she tells us otherwise,” March said of the indomitable bay mare. “I would love to stop at some day when she’s at the top and she’s enjoying it – she deserves that after everything she’s given us. But whilst she’s fit and well and sound, we’ll take each day as it comes as long as we can enjoy her and she enjoys it – that’s the most important part.”