Sitting in tenth place before cross-country at the final competition at Lignieres, ERM series leader Christopher Burton had everything to lose - and everything to gain - as he left the start box with Quality Purdey. To maintain his standing, he needed to go fast and clear - but no one before him had come close to the 6:55 optimum time. A scrappy start paved the way for one of the most significant rounds of the day, and Chris ultimately crossed the finish line eleven seconds under the time - despite taking two long routes.
And so the 2019 Event Rider Masters championship went to the indomitable Aussie, Christopher Burton. His performance at Lignières proved to be the fastest round of the day, and helped him climb from 15th to eventual sixth place, clinching enough valuable series points to ensure he defended his 2018 Masters title.
"It's not hard when you're on such a lovely mare," he smiled, reflecting on his remarkably fast round. "We love her - she's truly extraordinary, and such a pleasure."
This makes Chris the first person ever to win the series twice - and as he held his £30,000 bonus aloft, he thanked the dedication of his team and owners for laying the foundations for his victory.
"This is our favourite part of the ERM, if you've gone clear and get to sit up here," he laughed from the top spot of the podium. "It's amazing - I still can't believe it. I had such a good year last year that I really didn't think I could ever do it again. We're stoked! It's a wonderful series to be a part of - and right now, we're just going to enjoy the moment."
And so the 2019 season winds to a close - and what a season it's been. Six legs, five countries, and 85 of the world's best horses and riders from 15 nations, all battling it out for £350,000 and podium glory. This is eventing, reinvented - and we can't wait for 2020.
Click here to view final results, and click here to view the final rankings in the 2019 Event Rider Masters season.
Article courtesy of Equestrian Australian