BUMPER crowds enjoyed The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials over the weekend.
The trials attracted thousands of people between Thursday and Sunday to enjoy top-class equestrian action, as well as fine food and 500 trade stands and shops.
During the event, Britain’s silver team medallists Zara Phillips, Nicola Wilson, Mary King and William Fox-Pitt took part in a lap of honour and proudly showed off their Olympic medals to the crowds.
Zara also judged the Land Rover Tailgate Picnic competition on Saturday.
Spokesman Bridget Jennings said Burghley Horse Trials was the “highlight of the autumn calendar”.
She said: “It was a fantastic weekend, it went absolutely beautifully. The weather was kind to us and it was a really good competition.
“It honestly couldn’t have gone better. We felt it was a bumper crowd particularly on Saturday when the car park was full. We are all so pleased.”
She put the success of this year’s event down to a number of equestrian events being cancelled throughout the year because of the wet weather and the excitement continuing from the London 2012 Olympics.
Mrs Jennings said: “Burghley is just a wonderful four days and with so many events having been cancelled, it was wonderful we were able to continue. I think people were just delighted to get out and about.
“Everyone was absolutely chuffed to bits to have the British team there because we did so well at the Olympics in equestrian events.
“There was also a real international feel to the competition this year with so many Olympic medallists there.”
She said that traders were particularly pleased with how it went and added: “Everyone enjoys the trade stands and the various pavilions. I think a lot of people got an early start to their Christmas shopping because Burghley is the ideal place to do it.”
Mrs Jennings also paid tribute to event director Elizabeth Inman, who she said had done a “superb job” in organising the event.
Last year’s winner Fox-Pitt lost his crown to Andrew Nicholson, from New Zealand, riding Avebury, who went home with the £55,000 first prize and the Burghley Challenge cup. The Land Rover Perpetual Challenge Trophy was won by Avebury’s owner Rosemary Barlow. It is Nicholson’s third win at Burghley but it is 12 years since his last win there.
American Sinead Halpin came second with Fox-Pitt picking up third. Fox-Pitt also picked up enough points to win the FEI Classic Series which has a $150,000 prize.