Event rider Rosalind Canter completed one of the toughest three-day tests in the world after an action-packed Burghley International Horse Trials last weekend.
The Hallington-based rider returned to the elite four-star event after a superb debut performance in 2015 which earned her the prize as leading British first-timer.
And this time round, her 11-year-old bay gelding Allstar B improved 12 places on last year’s 37th finishing position.
Canter, who also competed with a record five horses in the Burghley Young Event Horse Championship earlier in the week, went clear in the show jumping to end her competition with 100.2 penalty points for 25th spot.
“I’m delighted with the way Allstar jumped,” she said. “The cross country the day before was tough for a lot of horses, and you never know just how well they’re going to come through that into the jumping.
“He’s been an absolute star all week, a complete gentle giant and I’m very lucky to have him.
“It’s been busy, but very exciting. There was a little bit more pressure than last year, but it’s been really good fun.
“It’s what it’s all about; you want to test yourself out.”
Burghley is one of just two four-star events held in Britain and pitted 71 of the world’s best horses over dressage, cross country and show jumping.
Canter and Allstar began well with a dressage test which put them 20th going into Saturday’s cross country centrepiece.
Already one of the toughest courses in Burghley history, the terrain proved even more difficult after persistent heavy rain with only 40 horses making it round.
It tested those with far more four-star experience than 30-year-old Canter, who was overjoyed to have been able to complete the blue riband event for a second consecutive year.
“We hadn’t anticipated how long it was going to be, from the corner to the top at the Dairy Mound, and it did just jump big,” she added.
“But you know it’s done now, at least, and I can relax. There’s always a ‘what if?’ and ‘I shouldn’t have done something differently.
“But I’m delighted with the horse and at least we’re back home and safe.
“We’re going to enjoy three or four weeks at home, I’ve had quite a few weeks away recently, so I’m looking forward to getting on the young horses and getting them ready for some championships next year.”
Australia’s Christopher Burton won the event, ahead of New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson and his compatriot Jonelle Price.
* The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from September 1-4 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 burghley-horse.co.uk