Burghley first timer: "My horse is small, but he has a huge heart!"

We catch up with event rider Sophie Brown who is preparing for her first time at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. 

Sophie with fellow event rider, Richard Jones 

Sophie with fellow event rider, Richard Jones 

How does it feel knowing you’re off to Burghley?

It’s very surreal! I’m quite excited. I’ve been as a spectator before and have been coming here since I can remember, but it’s my first time riding and my first four-star event.

I’ll be riding my horse Wil, who I bought as a feral five-year old. I’ve brought him all the way through the levels so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it’ll go okay.

Burghley is a huge step up from anything we’ve done before. Even having the crowd there will be new – it’s something we’ve never really come across before.

How has your year been so far?

We started the season really well – we came 3rd at Ballindenisk in April. Unfortunately, I had a fall and broke my collar bone shortly after this.

Luckily, I’ve had lots of support from my friends and family who have helped me get back into competition.

How have you been preparing for Burghley?

I’ve had a big help from my trainer, Caroline Moore, in terms of Wil’s fitness and I’ve also been cantering with Ros Canter as she’s based not too far from me.

She’s very level headed so is great to get advice from.

What’s your horse, Wil, like?

Wil is quite small and compact – he’s only 16hh but as soon as I saw him I liked the look of him. I was actually visiting another horse at the time and stumbled across him in the stable.

He’s quite an introvert and can be a bit spooky. I trust him though – he’s a small horse with a huge heart.