LITTLE Cheverell rider Coral Keen says it was a privilege to compete at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials despite failing to complete the gruelling cross-country phase on Saturday.

With a reputation for a big and bold track, Captain Mark Phillips’ Burghley course reduced the field from 74 to 55 on Saturday, including Keen on Wellshead Fare Opposition.

But the Wiltshire rider was still thrilled with her experience, riding the world-famous Burghley four-star event for only the second time.

“I was a first-timer last year and it didn’t quite go to plan on the cross-country, but having been to Luhmuhlen this year I came back again to give it another go,” said Keen.

“Burghley is really special. It’s probably my favourite event. I feel very privileged to be here.

“It’s lovely because everybody is so friendly, and it’s beautifully built out there too.

“The cross-country course is great. It’s really exciting. I think Captain Mark Phillips has used lots of imagination, but it was interesting to ride it that way round from the point of view of the horses tiring.

“I was quite late on so I got to see how it was riding. It was great though and there were a few places where you can get home safe if you’re not having a great ride.”

However, the course got the better of Keen and Wellshead Fare Opposition, but she was not alone in being caught out.

Britain’s William Fox-Pitt and Michael Jung, world numbers one and two, headed a stacked fielded at the four-star event after the dressage portion.

Keen admitted Wellshead Fare Opposition had struggled with the occasion even earlier.

“He went into the dressage and got very tense and a bit spooky which was a real shame because he’s been doing some beautiful work all week,” added Keen.

“I know he’s very capable of getting a good mark, so it’s a real shame but that is the way it goes sometimes.

“It was quite atmospheric in the arena. I thought that Luhmuhlen would have given him more reason to be tense, but actually here quite a lot of horses that are usually relaxed seem to go in there and get quite wound up, so there’s clearly a real buzz around the place.”

The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit