Elisa Wallace kept a strong mental game in the biggest arena of all to smash her personal best and move into second place at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on 46.8, just .2 behind leaders Paul Sims and Glengarnock, at the lunch break on Thursday.
“I’m crying! It really is a mental game. There’s so much build up. I’m really comfortable at Rolex so I really tried to trick myself that I’m not at Burghley. He’s such a good boy, and when we’re able to get it to happen we can be right up in there. There’s no words that can describe the amount of pride that you have to be riding here, just the dreams that you have as a kid and the fact that they’re coming true.”
To quell the tears, and yes, dad Rick Wallace was also crying [sweet!] we changed the subject and talked about her test.
“He was so good, and honestly it didn’t feel that good, but I kept telling myself David [O’Connor] kept saying ‘more expression,’ so I kept thinking it, and it was one of those tests where I was hoping it was scoring well. The best part was to just come down the centre line and he was with me the whole time. He’s been a very difficult horse in the dressage, when I got him he was scoring in the upper 60s and 70s, so the fact that he can come in and do our best four-star test here is just so cool.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s cross country: “It’s one of those big mental factors where I can’t think ‘I’m at Burghley, I’m at Burghley.’ I just need to ride the course in front of me. It’s very doable I think Capt. Mark Phillips has done an excellent job of making it a course that people can finish.
“I do think I’m on a very good cross country horse, that is his favourite thing. We are human so we’re scared but we’ve got to ride smart and ride safe and hopefully we can finish on our score. Realistically I want to finish but the competitive side of me wants to win, right?! If I could be in the top 10, top 20, that would be amazing. We’re at Burghley amongst the best riders in our sport, so it really is incredible just to be here.”
What does keep Elisa so strong mentally, and how does she keep her mental game together? “My support system has been amazing. I have my husband Timothy here, my dad, my groom Loreen, and everybody back home, everybody who has contributed and donated to help get us here. Having those two Rolexes and having the Mustangs helped me mentally prepare myself. You know it’s a game, so if you can really get your brain to work then you have that part on your side.”
Elisa has a whole lot going for her on her side, and we can’t wait to see her get out there on that course and Saturday and storm round. We’re so incredibly proud of her performance today, and many thanks for talking to us through the tears. Keep it up, and well done! Go Johnny Go!
Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against are the next U.S. pair to go today at 4:10 p.m. BST, 11:10 a.m. EST. You can watch live for free on Burghley TV’s YouTube Channel. (We have beautiful photos from Nico Morgan Photography to bring you, but unfortunately the internet in the media center has been down all morning. Keep checking back.) Go Eventing!