EVESHAM’S Carolyne Ryan-Bell admitted she did not meet her own expectations after she retired from this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials during a tricky cross-country course.
Ryan-Bell, who made her first Burghley appearance in 1991, started strongly on board Rathmoyle King and scored 50.3 in the dressage, which left her in 19th place after the first phase.
However, Mark Phillips’ cross-country course on Saturday proved to be her undoing this time around and she retired Rathmoyle King at the Herbert’s Hollow jump.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson went double clear to eventually claim the top prize for the third consecutive year.
However, despite not troubling the top of the leaderboard, 45-year-old Ryan-Bell was happy with how she kicked things off in Lincolnshire.
“It all went to plan in the dressage, perhaps slightly disappointed, but you’re right in the hub of it with a 50.” she said.
“I matched what I wanted to achieve in the dressage bar those flying changes and he was 100 per cent when he arrived, he’s very sound and fit, so it’s a shame we didn’t finish.
“I was really optimistic and I wanted to get clear and I rode with an Andrew Nicholson head on and with money signs in my eyes.
“The goal is always to complete here with a sound horse and once that’s done you start to think you should have done this or that but completing is the main goal, so I’m a bit disappointed.”
Despite the disappointment at not matching her own expectations, Ryan-Bell admitted it had been a tough build-up and was delighted to have competed at another Burghley.
“We had a horrible winter and I had three operations for various things over September, November and December.” she added.
“My fitness was slow to come and perhaps we were a bit short on miles before Badminton but before this we did a lot.
“It’s absolutely great to be here again. I was first here in 1991 which is really quite embarrassing!
“I just love it here, the ground is pretty good and every year they don’t stop improving it. Even from 2012 to now they have made an absolute improvement.
“The work they do is incredible and they deserve an Olympic gold medal for producing events.”
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 over 50 years. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk.