Brear set to mix it with world elite riders

Charlotte Brear, from Bingley, riding Manor Missile.
Charlotte Brear, from Bingley, riding Manor Missile.
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BINGLEY’S Charlotte Brear made her debut under British Eventing rules on Manor Missile in a BE100 class at Richmond back in May 2009.

Just six years later, the 27-year-old and her equine star – nicknamed ‘Siren’ – are heading for the top level of competition at one of just six CCI four-stars held each calendar year.

It’s been a meteoric rise for the former Aireworth vet, who would be well within her rights to target competing for Team GB. Yet Brear is quick to deflate talk of international and even Olympic ambition as the amateur prepares to fulfil another “pipe dream” at next weekend’s Burghley Horse Trials.

After five years working for Aireworth Vets, Brear now repairs gearboxes for the family business in her day job but will be motoring alongside the sport’s top professionals at next weekend’s showpiece event in Lincolnshire. But rather than feeling flustered about taking on the likes of Germany’s world No 1 Michael Jung, the former Bradford Grammar pupil is in a relaxed frame of mind, insisting she has already seriously surpassed her expectations.

It was only in September 2011 that the Yorkshire star and her talented equine partner embarked on their first CCI one-star test at Osberton International.

Less than four years later, Brear and Manor Missile were the county’s sole amateur combination competing in the CCI three-star event at June’s Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials – one level down from the best of the best.

But three months later Brear is indeed taking on the best of the best though and while Jung and company will have eyes on Rio, on Monday morning it will – and always be – back to the day job for Brear.

“I still can’t get my head around it all but I’m starting to get excited now,” Brear told The Yorkshire Post.

“I’m definitely in at Burghley and if we manage to avoid all injuries we are definitely going.

“If somebody would have told me when I first started that in six years’ time we’d be going to Burghley I wouldn’t have believed them. But do I have international and Olympic ambitions? Honestly – no. I dreamed of riding at Bramham and Chatsworth and we have done that.

“I am quite realistic and thought anything above that would just be a pipe dream.

“I always knew that Siren would try his heart out whatever I ask of him but he’s not bred to do this so never even thought of it.”

Manor Missile was bought as a present for Brear’s 21st birthday but the young rider was told by many that her new acquisition would be too big to make an eventing horse.

But 16th-placed finishes in CIC three-star classes at Chatsworth International in May and at this month’s British Festival Of Eventing are evidence to the contrary.

Brear will be up against four of the world’s top five in Jung, William Fox-Pitt, Jonelle Price and Andrew Nicholson, not to mention Yorkshire stars Oliver Townend and Nicola Wilson.

But she won’t be there just to make up the numbers, even though retuning home in one piece is naturally the primary objective.

“My target is to both get home safely!” said Brear, who graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 2010. “Burghley will be quite a lot more technical than Bramham and longer. But the distance isn’t too much of a worry as he is very fit.

“I won’t be racing around and will most likely take most of the longer routes at the technical fences – but then again I don’t know what it’s going to be like.”

What is for definite is that Brear will have the top-class eventing world watching her –something which provides her only real problem.

Brear laughed: “I’d much rather do it without everyone watching!”