Aussie Briana Burgess Back at Big Tour With New Horse, Eye on World Games

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Briana Burgess riding Sissi in France, the first international competition for the partnership. Photo Courtesy Briana Burgess

Feb. 19, 2018

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Briana Burgess has returned to international Big Tour competition for the first time in two years, showing the mare Sissi at Grand Prix that the Australian started riding for Michael Klimke while he was away from home competing on the Florida winter circuit.

Briana, who has built a business in Germany training and selling horses and a solid reputation since moving to Germany a decade ago, fell in love with “Sis,” as she calls the 11-year-old Hanoverian mare, that she and Michael became ownership partners.

Although Briana, 30 years old, has an eye on being selected for the Australian team for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in September, “I would naturally like that we just keep developing now together in the Grand Prix.”

“I adore the horse,” said Briana after the first international event in Le Mans, France where the pair scored 66-plus per cent in both the Grand Prix and the Special, enough to meet the official minimum requirement but not enough for the Australian selectors yet to consider.

“She’s my best friend, so we will just work on strengthening our performances together and see where we are.”

Sissi came to Briana two years ago from Michael Klimke, who rides several horses for Harmony Sporthorses of Kiowa, Colorado and since 2015 has competed on the three-month long Global Dressage Festival circuit in Wellington, Florida. The aim initially was to get flying changes on Sissi, at which she was successful.

Briana competed the mare as a nine-year-old in some qualifying events for the prestigious Nürnberger Burg-Pokal, the German developing Prix St. Georges championship, as well as a handful of young horse classes.

A year ago, she bought a share in Sissi and now owns her in partnership with Michael. She competed in two German national shows at Grand Prix before showing in their first CDI.

“I hope that our partnership continues on the journey we have begun together,” she told dressage-news.com. “I am very excited that we keep working together and improving as a combination at the Grand Prix level.

“She has a golden heart and rideability and has continued throughout the time to continuously improve.”

Michael Klimke shares her hopes.

“I’m hopeful that she can qualify for the world championships,” he told dressage-news.com. “They make a good picture and Briana works very hard. It would be cool to see them go to Tryon.”

 

Briana Burgess and La Scala competing in Australian team selection event for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Briana is a former working student with Monica Theodorescu, now the German team coach.

She now works with both Helen Langehanenberg, the 2012 German Olympic team silver medalist, 2014 World Games team gold medalist and 2013 World Cup champion, as well as Alexandre Ayache who was on the French team at her home World Games in Normandy.

She succeeded in making the Australian team for Normandy on La Scala but withdrew the Rhinelander gelding with veterinary concerns before the Games. At the age of 20, La Scala is in retirement at what Briana describes as a “lovely privately owned stable in Münster (Germany) where he has a great life with the other oldies to keep him company.”