The road to the World Equestrian Games begins at Burghley

Wendy Nix previews the forthcoming Burghley Horse trials here. All images:Kingswood Associates

The trophy they all want to win..... Photo Kingswood Associates

The trophy they all want to win…..
Photo Kingswood Associates

World Equestrian Games starts at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials which take place from Thursday September 5 to Sunday September 8. Around 86 horses have been entered, representing 11 different nations to give this event a truly international flavour.

Fresh from riding for Britain at the European Championships will be William Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook, Pippa Funnell, Tom McEwan and Izzy Taylor. Sussex rider Clare Lewis will be among the runners on her ‘jumping machine’ Sidnificant. The pair put up their best 4* performance ever at Burghley last year, finishing in 15th place after two superb days of jumping.

Among his choice of rides will be William’s 2011 Burghley winner, Parklane Hawk. William, who holds the most number of wins at this historic venue (six) will be all out to increase his record and beat top New Zealand pair, Andrew Nicholson who won here in 2012 on Avebury and this year’s Badminton winner, Jock Paget.

Having stumped both William and Andrew’s dreams of winning the Rolex Grand Slam last May, Jock will be keen to add the second leg of the triple-title series to his name before heading to Kentucky to complete the Slam.

 

BTEvent Director Elizabeth Inman and course designer Mark Phillips at the Discovery Valley Ohoto Kingswood Associates

BTEvent Director Elizabeth Inman and course designer Mark Phillips at the Discovery Valley Ohoto Kingswood Associates

But before all that, the riders will have to get to grips with Mark Phillips’ cross-country course which, this year, will be throwing up some surprises and guarantee the need for total concentration from both rider and horse. To begin, there are two jumping elements in the first 100 yards before an easy gallop down to the third, a brand new picnic table and bench. Up to here, there will be two-way traffic as riders heading for home will be on a track adjacent to those setting off.

The first combination comes in the main arena and then the really serious stuff starts down at Fence 5, the Discovery Valley, being jumped from left to right, followed by a circuit up to the Leaf Pit and a return to the Discovery Valley to jump Fence 8, another combination. Mark calculates that spectators will be watching riders every two minutes through this part of the course – a brave move that will see the two sets of jump stewards concentrating every bit as much as the competitors.

 

Lion Bridge Photo Kingswood Associates

Lion Bridge
Photo Kingswood Associates

The road to next year’s World Equestrian Games starts at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials which take place from Thursday September 5 to Sunday September 8. Around 86 horses have been entered, representing 11 different nations to give this event a truly international flavour. Fresh from riding for Britain at the European Championships will be William Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook, Pippa Funnell, Tom McEwan and Izzy Taylor. Local rider Clare Lewis will be among the runners on her ‘jumping machine’ Sidnificant. The pair put up their best 4* performance ever at Burghley last year, finishing in 15th place after two superb days of jumping.

Among his choice of rides will be William’s 2011 Burghley winner, Parklane Hawk. William, who holds the most number of wins at this historic venue (six) will be all out to increase his record and beat top New Zealand pair, Andrew Nicholson who won here in 2012 on Avebury and this year’s Badminton winner, Jock Paget. Having stumped both William and Andrew’s dreams of winning the Rolex Grand Slam last May, Jock will be keen to add the second leg of the triple-title series to his name before heading to Kentucky to complete the Slam.

But before all that, the riders will have to get to grips with Mark Phillips’ cross-country course which, this year, will be throwing up some surprises and guarantee the need for total concentration from both rider and horse. To begin, there are two jumping elements in the first 100 yards before an easy gallop down to the third, a brand new picnic table and bench. Up to here, there will be two-way traffic as riders heading for home will be on a track adjacent to those setting off.

The first combination comes in the main arena and then the really serious stuff starts down at Fence 5, the Discovery Valley, being jumped from left to right, followed by a circuit up to the Leaf Pit and a return to the Discovery Valley to jump Fence 8, another combination. Mark calculates that spectators will be watching riders every two minutes through this part of the course – a brave move that will see the two sets of jump stewards concentrating every bit as much as the competitors.

Further out on the course Mark has made adjustments to old favourites with new technical difficulties, freshened up others and added easy-option elements for tiring horses. After the lake combination towards the end of the course riders will turn right and head to a new complex which takes them back into water and directly under the magnificent Lion Bridge with Burghley House in the background before the final fences and home. And then, of course, there’s the show jumping; Clare Lewis was one of only four clear rounds inside the time in 2012.

Winning Burghley has never been easy and this year’s victor will be worthy of their crown, whoever it is

The venue isn’t just famous for the horse trials; back in 1961 when it all started at Burghley there were just 66 trade stands. In 2013 there will be over 50 in the Food Hall alone and around 300 altogether – a real shopaholic’s paradise. National Hunt supporters will be delighted to see retired chasers Kauto Star and Neptune Collonges parading in the Main Arena on Sunday. Kauto, winner of no less than five King George VI Chases and two Cheltenham Gold Cups will be ridden by his new jockey, eventer Laura Collett. No doubt Laura will receive her own warm applause as she makes a return to the saddle after a horrendous rotational fall earlier this year. The grey Neptune Collonges won punters’ hearts when topping an illustrious career with the Grand National crown in 2012. He will be ridden by owner John Hales’ daughter, Lisa. Both horses have taken well to their new discipline of dressage since retiring from the race-track.

Another ‘horse’ that has delighted audiences across the nation is Joey, the War Horse puppet. Joey will be making appearances at the Celebrity Talk area – probably upstaging the human stars! Burghley has always put on a great show; this year looks to be no exception.

For more information visit: http://www.burghley-horse.co.uk and www.burghley-horse.co.uk

 

 

 

Comments

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *