To complete the challenging Burghley Horse Trials on one horse is hard enough but to successfully complete the event on two horses is something that Tilton on the Hill eventer Simon Grieve will remember for some time.
It was a special finale for Simon at the conclusion of the three-day event on Sunday. Following the showjumping, the third and final section, Simon finished in 32nd place overall on Douglas, with a total of 126.3, and 36th on Dumbrillo Metro, with 132.1.
It was all the sweeter for Grieve as he missed Burghley last year due to injury.
He said: “Douglas was as perky as you like in the trot-up, but I’m just so pleased to have been able to complete the event on two horses and that they’re both looking fantastic. Now we can go to war next year.
“I missed out last year with my injury. That was annoying but I’ve liked having two horses here and I want to be able to do that again in the years to come.”
He added: “It’s brilliant to get a double completion. I remember as a kid coming and seeing William Fox-Pitt complete on his two mounts and I always wanted to be able to do that. Now I’m able to say that I have.
“Maybe next time we can get a first or a second.”
Grieve began the event with a solid performance in the dressage. On Dumbrillo Metro he picked up the 35th best score of 51.9, not fairing quite so well on Douglas with whom he scored 58.6.
In the demanding cross country course, Grieve picked up 20 jump penalties on his first horse of the day, Drumbilla Metro, but made no mistake on his second attempt with Douglas, when he went clear.
Douglas picked up 59.6 time penalties to finish the second day on 118.2, in 39th place overall, while Dumbrillo Metro had 51.2 time penalties to add to the 20 jump penalties, for an overall total of 123.1 (42nd).
The cross country course claimed some of the sports leading names, with both Zara Tindall and New Zealander Mark Todd eliminated.
Grieves’ hopes of a double completion were very nearly dashed when he faltered on the 18th fence of the cross country, the Rolex Combination, with Drumbilla Metro earlier in the day.
But Grieve was happy to forgive his young steed, who is still getting used to life as an elite event horse at the tender age of ten.
He admitted: “I was a bit annoyed with myself at the Rolex because I was indecisive which is never good riding cross country.”
The 2017 winner was Oliver Townend on Ballaghmor Class, with a total score of just 45.6, with Piggy French on Vanir Kamira second on 46.9.
The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has been established as a major international equestrian event for many years.