George Hilton-Jones Makes His Debut At Burghley Horse Trials 2019 #LRBHT
Main Image courtesy of Julian Portch Photography – All rights reserved- and is subject to copyright.
It will be a first Land Rover Burghley for British rider George Hilton-Jones (33) who is based on the Northamptonshire / Buckinghamshire border between Towcester and Stoney Stratford where he runs his own competition and livery yard. With his 2019 Burghley entry ‘Efraim’, George completed his first 5* at Luhmuhlen this year, finishing in 22nd place.
George began eventing with the Grafton Pony Club representing the branch at the Pony Club Championships. He competed for the Central England team at Weston Park and in 2004 was short-listed for the British Junior European squad. He then spent time In Australia working under international rider Stuart Tinney. On his return he pursued a degree in property at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester.
Since 2010 he has concentrated on building up the yard based at his family home.Efraim aka Leo, owned by Isabelle Hilton-Jones is a 10-year-old Dutch-bred KWPN registered gelding. He is by the Belgian-bred Ultime Espoir (a grandson of Contender) of a mare by Murano (by Burggraaf). He has been brought through the grades by George.
2019 – Luhmühlen CCI5*L 22nd Efraim
2019 – Chatsworth CCI4*S Ret Efraim
2019 – Burnham Market CCI4*S 49th Efraim
2019 – Belton CCI4*S 50th Efraim
2018 – Blair Castle CCI3* 16th Efraim
2018 – Bramham CCI3* 42nd Efraim
Tell me a bit about your background/growing up?
I had the classic hunting and Pony Club orientated childhood, fully immersed in Grafton Pony Club life being very much encouraged and inspired by my Mother’s love for hunting. Quickly I found myself drawn more and more towards eventing by the thrill of the cross country and was a member of the Central JRN team. I have slowly built an event and livery yard with a few horses always in to sell. I started out with four stables and now have built up to having about twenty horses in at any one time. I am very lucky to have a small number of extremely supportive owners enabling me to have a string of super horses coming through the levels but am always looking for people and horses to join our journey.
Tell me a bit about your horse.
Efraim, or Leo as he is known at home, is a 10 year old KWPN gelding. I bought him from Ireland through Chris Hunt at Global Sports Horses as a gangly 5 year old. Originally he was bought as a project to sell on, I never dreamed he would be a 5* horse. He is owned by myself and my Mother, Isabelle Hilton-Jones. At this stage the dressage is his weakest phase, the changes are still a bit of a work in progress but when he trots down the centre line he suddenly realises where he is and just wants to get on with the cross country! Leo lives for cross country day but his enthusiasm can be a bit difficult to harness…! This is both of our first Burghley. Our first 5* was Luhmuhlen in the spring where Leo stepped up to the level with his usual gusto. We are still green at this level but I truly believe that he is a real five star competitor.
What does it mean to be competing at Burghley?
Burghley is the absolute pinnacle of our sport and has been a main aim of mine ever since I made the decision to make eventing my profession. To have made it here and to be riding past the beautiful Burghley house has been really quite special.
Tell me about your dress for the trot up
I’ve come from a bit of a different angle for my trot up outfit and have sourced everything from charity shops. It has taken a bit of time and patience to accumulate but is has been good fun supporting some of our local charity shops!
Tell me a bit about your sponsors
I am in the enviable position to have a great team of sponsors, namely Buckingham Equine Vets, Bates Saddles, SDRB Joinery and Dengie Horse Feeds. I cannot over stress how important their support is to enabling me to complete and run healthy, happy horses.
What are your thoughts on this years cross country course?
First impressions are that it is big and bold, you will know that you’re at a five star after the first couple of fences! We will have to go out and attack, it is a very cleverly built course with a number of longer routes which will keep the riders thinking and which should allow for the odd ‘get out of jail card’ moments if needed. The Rolex combination is a prime example of keeping the riders on their toes with two options which will both take a similar amount of time but are quite different questions. It is down to the riders to decide which will suit their horse.
George will dressage on Friday :
|EFRAIM||George Hilton-Jones||Fri 1116|
What are your plans for tomorrow George?