By Lilly Steger

Hey guys, my name’s Lilly.

That’s me, that little human by that massive cross country fence.

I’m an American living in England for the time being, and as an eventer I absolutely-had-to-go-to-Burghley.

I’m from Cincinnati Ohio, so the Kentucky CCI4* is an annual event. I feel so lucky to have a world class event just an hour or so away.

That’s Adam. We’re here in Britain because of his job. He’s been here a couple months but I only showed up last week. I didn’t feel confident enough to navigate the English train line alone, so he got dragged along as well.

I’d been chomping at the bit to get to Burghley, but I wasn’t sure we would be able to make it. If I needed Adam to get up north, he needed to have the day off, and we wouldn’t know that until Saturday night. When Saturday night came along I was sitting on the National Line website, waiting for the all clear. “We can go,” he said, and with a click the tickets were bought.

Burghley is located about an hour north of London (by train) in a town called Stamford. It’s quaint, simple to navigate, and very, very British.

Look how cute!

The train didn’t arrive in Stamford until noon. We also didn’t have tickets to the actual jumping, just general admission. But oh well! Forge ahead! At least we’re here!

We followed the signs until we saw a line of white tents on the horizon and then – bam – we were at Burghley.

First impression: Burghley is very beautiful. I mean, that castle? Wow.

Second impression, Burghley is fancier than Rolex. Where are the baseball hats?!

The shopping at Burghley is amazing. Classic and contemporary, it’s like the Kentucky trade show but with a European twist. Seriously, good luck finding a t-shirt. But you’ll have no issues finding anything your heart desires in tweed (I may be the proud owner of one of those amazing polos, and I may be wearing it to each show for the rest of my life).

We made our way around the show grounds and found ourselves at warmup, where we got to watch Mackenna Shea and Landioso pop over a few warmup fences (USA! USA!).

By this time I was seriously regretting not having stadium tickets. I mean, how could I have not anticipated Adam getting the day off and us actually arriving in time to be able to see the second half of the jumping? How could I have been so negligent?

We snuck to the back of the stadium to see if we would be able to stand by the gate and catch a sneak peek. But nope – security at Burghley takes their job very seriously. We were shooed away from each entrance (obviously up to no good).

I was about to give up on seeing any of the action and cashing in on my promise to buy Adam a pint in exchange for walking the cross country course, when our German guardian angels swooped in and saved us.

These two men saw us, loitering and looking lost, by the entrance and asked if we wanted to buy their tickets for – get this – £5! That’s $6.50! For tickets! For the top 15 riders and the awards ceremony! We didn’t have £5 notes, only a £20, and they were even nice enough to make change. They said they had to leave early to catch their flight. Thank you so much, German guys. You saved the day.

With tickets in hand we strode past security and found ourselves with the best seats ever in front of the triple. I do not think we could have gotten luckier.