A star turn among equestrian royalty at the Burghley Horse Trials has helped Waltham rider Lizzie Harris qualify for the Horse of the Year Show.
Lizzie has qualified for the 2016 SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship at HOYS with her eight-year-old former racehorse, Wild West.
The pair finished third in their class at the qualifier, held in the main arena at the world-famous three-day event, which was enough to land one of the HOYS tickets.
Lizzie, a former amateur jockey, trains point-to-pointers, and Westy is her sole show horse.
Formerly trained by Jonjo O’Neill, the chestnut gelding was ridden by champion jump jockey AP McCoy before being taken over by Lizzie, with whom she has since hunted, team chased, and shown.
This will be the horse’s second year contesting the final at HOYS after finishing sixth in 2015.
“To come out again and do it is something special,” said Lizzie. “Last year we came out and thought ‘let’s hope’ — this year, we thought ‘we’ve done it once, let’s do it again.”
She currently balances her yard of nine pointers and showing Wild West with motherhood, having become a mum for the first time in June.
“He can be sharp but I know him now,” she said. “I know what to do and when to do it, as long as we keep the child out of the way of him!
“A few people have asked if he’s up for sale, but because I can just get on him I’d never part with him.
“He’s not easy, but for me, he’s perfect.”
* For more information on the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship, visit www.racehorse2ridinghorse.co.uk