WHEN Hamstead Marshall-based eventer Warren Lamperd first competed at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Geri Halliwell was number one in the charts.
The year was 1999, three years after Lamperd had arrived in England from Australia, bringing his horse Bootlegger with him – the pair secured a top-ten finish at the prestigious three-day event.
Now, the 48-year-old is readying himself to travel to Burghley, one of just six four-star events in the world, once more, this time with 16-year-old mare Silvia.
“When I went to Burghley in ’99 it involved a different skill-set and a slightly different sort of horse, now it’s all about one endurance phase, the cross country,” he said.
“There’s a lot more people from different countries trying to win it now, Burghley is one of the biggest events in the world.
“Bootlegger was a thoroughbred from Australia, he was good fun and a partner in crime in a way because we both got on a plane and came here together.
“In ’99 everything was new to me, I went to France and Germany to compete, it was all a bit of an adventure and in my naivety I just went to Burghley to have a go at it.”
The Australian has been busy during his 21 years on English shores, having set up a yard, White Hart Stables, near Newbury with his wife Susanna and six of their own horses.
Lamperd is a full-time equestrian coach with a masters in coaching science as well as a UKCC level III coaching qualification and is currently working with British Showjumping to reach level IV.
At Burghley, the eventer will have to focus on his own performance, though preparations have been disrupted as Silvia is suffering from boot rub.
“I expect Silvia to be alright by the time we get to Burghley, but you have to manage everything and make sure she’s there in one piece and as fit as I can have her,” he added.
“She’s a fairly seasoned horse so she should know her job, I’m not panicking.
“She ran at Chatsworth in May and nipped round there alright, coming 13th, and she’ll have a run out in the open intermediate at Bicton at the end of next week, but that shouldn’t be too challenging.
“Burghley is a much more open and enjoyable event to be a part of than some others, in my experience, it’s just great fun to be there.”
The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from August 31 - September 3 has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit burghley-horse.co.uk