Ancrum eventer Emily Galbraith has spoken of her frustration after her top-level eventing season was brought to a premature end by her decision to miss the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
The 26-year-old may have claimed five wins and 18 top- 10 finishes so far this season, but they have largely come from her younger horses after her two stars, Caugherty Red Adair and Timing, struggled with injury and hard ground respectively.
Galbraith was hoping to make her second appearance at Burghley House, September 4-7, on Timing but, after she was forced to retire the14-year-old gelding early during the cross country at Badminton, the hard ground has limited the number of runs he has been able to do.
Timing did pick up a win at Belsay at the end of May but that is of little consolation to Galbraith as she prepares for an extended winter.
“It’s just been one of those years where nothing seems to have gone my way,” said Galbraith, whose stables are based at Belses Muir.
“For different reasons, my top horses haven’t been able to run. Red Adair started the season really well but he then pulled something in his back at Chatsworth and he’s been recovering since.
“And Timing doesn’t like running on the hard ground, so the hot weather hasn’t been great for him. I need him to be on form for the four-star events and after his performance at Badminton, I can’t take the risk at Burghley given how little he’s been able to run. It’s pretty much the end of his summer, which is gutting.
“I’ve never had problems like this before and it’s just been so frustrating. Everyone else loves the sun and hot weather but for us riders it’s the worst possible thing, because the ground is so hard and the horses can’t compete at their best.
“I’m just so lucky that I’ve got some nice young horses who have been winning and doing well, which has at least meant the season hasn’t been a total write-off.”
Despite the disappointment of this season, Galbraith is confident she and her horses can return to their best next year and is trying to remain positive.
“I’m going to do everything I can this winter to get back to where I was at the beginning of this summer,” she added.
“Hopefully taking the horses hunting and show jumping will help them get back to their old selves.
“I’ve got to try and stay positive. The conditions just haven’t been right for us this year but we’ll be back.
“I’ll do a lot of show jumping over the winter to try and take my mind off things and then we will hopefully be back to where we were.”
The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 4-7) has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the autumn sporting calendar for more than 50 years. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk