GILLINGHAM-BASED rider Sam Griffiths admitted he was not getting carried away with himself despite topping the dressage scores after day one of this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
In winning the Badminton Horse Trials back on Paulank Brockagh in May, Griffiths took the first step on the path to the Grand Slam, with the Burghley and Kentucky Horse Trials left in his sights this year.
However, the Australian’s bid nearly hit a stumbling block in Wednesday’s trot-up when his 15-year-old gelding Happy Times was held for re-inspection before being passed.
But it did not appear to be playing on the duo’s minds today as they posted a score of 40.2 in the morning’s dressage session to top the leaderboard.
Tomorrow sees the remaining riders complete their dressage before Saturday's cross-country, and Griffiths admitted the good start had left him feeling positive.
“Obviously there are some pretty good riders to come over the next two days but to come out with the lead is all I can ask for,” he said.
“It’s really essential to get off to a good start these days as there are so many good competitors, you can’t afford to give away any penalties.
“The Grand Slam is in my head as I dream when I go to sleep but it’s one stage at a time. I try to put that to the back of my mind when I’m competing.”
Griffiths will spend Friday preparing to take on Burghley’s famous cross-country course, with Sunday seeing the culmination of the event with the show jumping.
“It’s a traditional massive Burghley cross-country course,” he added. “There are some pretty tough fences out there.
“My horse has jumped around here three times now so I think that can give me a lot of confidence.”
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 more than 50 years.
For more information, visit burghley-horse.co.uk