Tom Crisp announced a confident 5* cross-country comeback with majestic mare Liberty And Glory at the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials.
The experienced Mayfield rider, 44, jumped up the standings to make the top 15 following a stunning gallop on Derek di Grazia’s course with just 10.8 time penalties.
Crisp recovered from the disappointment of falling in the Badminton Lake earlier this year and navigated Burghley’s challenging cross-country course with aplomb.
“It's nice not to end up arse first in the water like I did earlier in the year and get a run under my belt and put it all back how it should be,” he said.
“It’s the greatest show. There’s something about the crowd, they are a knowledgeable bunch. I think it’s the toughest 5* with the terrain.
“They have to adjust all the time up and down the banks and you can’t spot a nice, smooth stride.
“You have to believe in the horse being quick and that’s what good about her is that she is quick off her feet.”
Crisp went viral earlier this summer when he pretended to swim in the Badminton Lake after falling off Liberty And Glory during the cross-country phase.
And the East Sussex equestrian star overcame his nerves and a hiccup along the way to glide through Burghley’s 29 famous fences.
“I was nervous today, more nervous than I’ve ever been on a trip round Burghley, I don’t know why,” he added.
“You never know on your second trip round, I put pressure on myself to try and do a good job and I did.
“Deep down, I was thinking this is the one, I need to get this time down.
“It’s a tough course, it’s heated up, I lost a shoe, she lost a bit of balance and I just backed off a little to get her home.
“We love her a lot, she’s enjoying it and she makes my life easy when she’s as true and honest as that with that amount of scope. She was smooth as silk all the way.
Defender Burghley Horse Trials (31st August - 3 September 2023) has been a major international sporting and social event for over 50 years. It attracts the world’s top equestrians and over 170,000 visitors. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk