EQUESTRIAN - Emma Thomas makes five-star debut at Burghley Horse Trials - The Leamington Observer

EQUESTRIAN - Emma Thomas makes five-star debut at Burghley Horse Trials

Leamington Editorial 2nd Sep, 2023   0

AN EMOTIONAL Emma Thomas was thrilled with a ‘personal win’ for her and stallion Icarus after making her five-star debut at the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials.

The Leamington Spa rider, 24, has had the 10-year-old Dutch-bred gelding since she was five and claims her bond with ‘Sticky’ is one of the best partnerships she has ever formed.

The pair posted a score of 38.5 in the dressage but Thomas insists the real prize was getting to compete on the fabled Burghley turf.

Thomas said: “I’m thrilled, he has a lot of potential on the flat but he only ever wants to jump.

“He didn’t care so much about the crowd which I was worried about and he just let me ride.

“It’s the pinnacle of the sport, I never thought I would be here. So to actually be here is incredible.

“Although it won’t be near the top, for us it’s a personal win.

“It’s been the most incredible journey, we always knew he had the talent but maybe not the brain.

“I’m so proud of him. We’ve formed one of the best partnerships I’ve ever had, and I think we have ultimate faith in one another.”

Thomas is in her second year of full-time riding after studying biological sciences at the Royal Veterinary College.

She looked ahead to the cross-country phase of the Three-Day Event and, as usual, will not be taking Icarus to the warm-up to make sure the stallion does not get too excited.

Thomas added: “I normally get quite nervous about dressage because it’s not his favourite phase but I just broke into a grin going up the centre line because I couldn’t believe where I was.

“I stayed in the moment but I think it helped to have that time and stop worrying.

“It actually made me more excited (for cross-country) not more terrified which is normally now I gauge things.

“I think it’s going to suit him, he’s a jumping, galloping specialist and he stays forever.

“Although there’s a lot of places to go wrong, I think it’s within his capabilities.”

Thomas is the 2022 Student World Champion and a two-time National Pony Club Champion.

She is also a student rider for Great Britain.

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

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