William Fox-Pitt believes that his 2015 ride, Fernhill Pimms, ticks one of the most important boxes at any Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials — the one marked bravery.
The 11-year-old gelding will make a four-star debut at the showpiece Lincolnshire event, having risen impressively through the ranks.
And while British star and former world-number-one Fox-Pitt acknowledges the challenge ahead, starting with dressage on Friday, he is looking forward to seeing how the 2013 Blenheim CIC3* eight- and nine-year-old winner responds.
“I have got a good little horse,” said Fox-Pitt, whose enviable portfolio includes six Burghley titles collected between 1994 and 2011.
“He is quite inexperienced, but he is a brave horse, and if he is up for it then there is no reason why he can’t jump around.
“This is his first four-star, and while I believe it is a big test for him, I also believe he is ready.
“He can just be a little bit cheeky, and if he is not being cheeky, then he should go really well.
“In other four-stars now, you can maybe get away with a horse that has a lot of talent, but perhaps not so much courage, but at Burghley you need courage.
“You also need them to be fit because it is going to be a demanding cross-country day on Saturday, come rain or shine.”
Image: A fence inspired by the Rugby World Cup at Burghley Horse Trials, by Nixon Photos, courtesy of Burghley Horse Trials