Piggy March and the 17-year-old five-star stalwart Vanir Kamira put in a superb round over the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials cross-country course to finish just one second over the optimum time.
“I’m the queen of one second! It drives me mad, to be honest, but she gave me everything and I couldn’t have done anything more coming home,” said Piggy.
“She was really up for it, which I was so glad about. I lost a bit of time on the long gallops at beginning – she coasts along quite off the bridle, I was nudging her a bit and she didn’t really respond, so I thought she needed a bit of time.
“But she came home brilliant, full of running. You sit off the back and she flies and dives. She’s such a special mare and she’s given us so many wonderful days.”
Piggy and Trevor Dickens’ Vanir Kamira, who won Badminton Horse Trials in 2019 and have been second here twice, looked in a different class to everyone else who has taken on the course to this point.
Piggy looked exact about the strides she wanted in each combination – although she said there were places where she couldn’t make a plan and she had to be reactive – and set up perfectly, making very sure of every fence. The mare answered her every call, taking on the fences boldly and keeping galloping to the end.
“I’m so proud of her and all the team getting her here,” added Piggy.
Piggy will hold her fourth place after dressage – her 0.4 of a time-penalty does not drop her down the rankings – and may move up depending on what happens to the top three combinations later on this Burghley Horse Trials cross-country day.
Piggy hinted that retirement may not be far away for Vanir Kamira, saying: “It’s definitely in my head that I would love to finish her at the top and well. She’s been a horse that’s put her heart and soul on the line for me many times.
“Normal people wouldn’t come and just sit and have a ride on her and a jump and think this horse is going to win you a Badminton or a Burghley. She definitely has tried, been a horse very different to what she can naturally be at these main competitions and I don’t want to take advantage of that.
“I’d be sad for her to finish not sound, not enjoying it, not being her usual self. She doesn’t owe any of us that.
“Every day I will let her decide what she wants to do – she decides all the time, our lives revolve around her every day at home so nothing’s different there. But it’s just important at this stage when they’ve been so special that they are happy and they’re well.”
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