Sarah Bullimore admitted she had been on “an emotional rollercoaster” after delivering an outstanding dressage performance on day one of the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle.
Earlier this week, Bullimore would not have expected to be part of the 12-strong Great Britain squad, but she answered a late call after Dani Evans‘ ride Smart Time was withdrawn following routine blood tests.
It meant a hectic 24 hours once she had received the call to head north, yet she responded magnificently by posting a dressage score of 38.2 penalties aboard Lilly Corinne as Britain enjoyed a memorable opening day in the Scottish Highlands.
“Because it’s quite a journey from home, we were travelling up so we were available,” said Bullimore. “We would have been gutted to have been waiting at home and someone dropped out and I missed the start, so we were at least on route.
“She (Lilly Corinne) was working towards Pau, so you are always working, but you normally have a pinnacle and those last final stepping stones, so when we got here yesterday I did feel a little bit under-prepared in that sense, but the horse is ready and she’s fit and well and fine.
“I am chuffed with her. She is a hot mare, but she can deliver a stunning test. It was a shame she was just slightly on the wobble in the walk, but I’m really really pleased with her.
“She literally has only had 24 hours to settle in and see the sights. She was fantastic, she was absolutely lovely to ride in there, really soft and amenable.”
And reflecting on her senior championship chance, Bullimore added: “It’s all my dreams come true. I have waited 20-odd years for this, and to get my flag is just fantastic.
“It feels fantastic (to be in team kit), it’s just sad that my gain is someone else’s misfortune. All I can say is that Dani has been the utmost professional, and I know she will have her day and we wish her all the best.”