FOURTEEN years on from his debut at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Swindon’s Paul Tapner still feels like he has unfinished business with what many feel is the world’s toughest three-day event.

The 42-year-old, originally from Sydney, Australia, first rode Highpoint at the 2003 event, finishing 22nd on debut, and has a best finish at the Lincolnshire country park of sixth, back in 2009.

Last year he failed to finish both horses, with Up in the Air eliminated during the cross-country phase, and Vanir Kamira being withdrawn following the dressage.

He returns once again though, this time atop Bonza King of Rogues, whose only other CCI4* appearance ended in cross-country elimination at this year’s Badminton.

However, Tapner still feels confident heading into Burghley.

“Thankfully we’ve had a very good preparation into this event, so I’m feeling a lot more confident heading into this than I was at the beginning of the season,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to this year. I have to say I’ve never had the success there that I possibly think I should have had given the quality of horses I’ve had over a great many years.

“So I’m actually looking forward to trying to change that little habit.

“Because I haven’t necessarily had the success there that I have at other events, I like to think I’ve still got lots of unfinished business at Burghley.”

Tapner has retired from full-time riding and now works for the Event Rider Masters Series in their technical department.

That means the weekend ahead of Burghley will be spent at their Blair Castle event, rather than preparing for his own ride.

“He’ll have a fairly relaxed week without me hassling him, I arrived back on the Monday,” he added.

“Then we were in the lorry to Burghley on Tuesday and the next time I ride him will be there, making sure the dressage test is spot on, hopefully.

“It’s been a good year, though, the transition has gone well. At the beginning of the year I maybe wasn’t getting the form I wanted, so I’ve had to adjust a few things and try a bit harder at the end of the year.”

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. For more information visit