CROWD favourite Mr Potts shot up the leader board to finish in the top 20 with Herefordshire eventer Louise Harwood at the 2017 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

It was the 15-year-old Eardisley-based homebred gelding’s 11th CCI4* event and yet again he did not disappoint, climbing from 42ndplace in the final two phases.

Harwood was initially disappointed with Mr Potts’ score of 54.1 in the dressage, but rode clear around one of the world’s toughest cross-country courses to move up 20 places on Saturday.

The duo followed this up with just five penalty points in the show jumping on Sunday and, on reflection, Harwood was grateful to her steed for another completion at the prestigious three-day event.

“We had just one gate down in the show jumping, so he jumped really nicely,” she said.

“He prefers show jumping at Burghley to jumping at Badminton, he never jumps so well at Badminton.

“He felt really fresh, he was really perky, so I obviously didn’t wear him out enough on the cross country, but it was a super round – one of the best he’s ever done for me.

“It was a slightly frustrating dressage with where I think I’ve got him in my training now, it had been going a lot better before.

“We just need to find a bit more speed from somewhere, but he’s not built for speed so I’m just glad he’s got me safely round another four star.”

But Harwood was not the only person for whom Mr Potts picked up prizes this weekend, as the 41-year-old’s niece Amber Skelton claimed the Horse Care award.

The prize is given to the groom of the best cared-for horse throughout the week and Harwood admitted it was well-deserved.

“My 13-year-old niece, who has been grooming for us all week, won the best horse care award so she’s very pleased,” she added.

“Mr Potts isn’t the easiest horse to look after, he can be a bit of a thug at times, but she’s done a great job.

“She’s grazed him for two hours every day, she’s spent a lot of time doing my studs and all the horrid jobs like that so she’s been a good girl.”

* The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from August 31 – September 3 has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years.

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