Burghley kicks off

Leading riders Tina Cook, Andrew Nicholson and Oliver Townend share why Burghley is such a special event

Andrew Nicholson is on the hunt to add a sixth Burghley crown to his name; the six-time Olympian says the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is one of his favourite events. He’s lining up with Jet Set IV and Swallow Springs.

“I’ve had good days, bad days and all sorts of days here – I love coming here,” says the Marlborough-based rider. “It’s a beautiful place for a horse trial event.

“It quite undulating terrain around here – I think that’s what drew me to it. It was hard work, the first time I came here I fell off a few times, back in the old days when you could get on and have another go. It’s a real test.”

Liz Inman, event director of Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, says: “This year’s event is going to be absolutely fabulous. Seventy horses have come through the inspection and we have an amazing competition ahead.

“The cross-country course has been redesigned and there are some really exciting features there. The weather forecast is superb, it’s a lovely backdrop, there are lots of lovely shops and there is so much going on this year.”

Reining champion Oliver Townend is hoping to defend his crown. “It’s very exciting to be back,” he says. “It’s the most difficult event to win in the world I think because of the terrain, the size of the fences and it’s also my favourite event in the world.

“It’s huge, the pressure is big, the atmosphere is fantastic and the crowd are very knowledgeable.

“Things happen at this place that wouldn’t happen at any other event in the world because it is so high profile and such a challenge.

“If all three horses come home safe that’s the main thing and after that if any manage to come in the top few I’d be very happy.”

Oliver will be riding Ballaghmor Class, Cooley SRS and MHS King Joules.

The multi-award-winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from August 30 – September 2 has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit burghley-horse.co.uk