Cross country course fly-over video: Stamford will be awash with international tourists this week for one of the “greatest sporting events in the world” at Burghley House.
Riders from 11 nations are being represented at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2014 bringing with them family, friends and followers, helping to pour millions of pounds into the local economy.
This year 100 horses from nations spanning Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, USA and the UK will be competing for the substantial £62,000 first prize.
As in past years there are surprises along the 6.4km course with 32 fences and 45 jumps - a provisional optimum time of 11 minutes 24 seconds - where riders can opt for the longer and easier path or harder and shorter one. The Discover Valley is one of these tests.
Captain Mark Phillips, who is the course designer, said: “The skill as a rider is to take advantage of your horses strengths.
“You see competitors all tackling the fences differently. It’s all according to the horse they are riding.”
The Trout Hatchery has also had a complete makeover where riders have a steep descent into the water and a log jump into more water.
Here too, Cap Phillips said “they really do have a choice”.
More than 160,000 people are expected to walk through gates of Burghley Park from 4-7 September.
The logisitcs of organising the Horse Trials. which has become a signature sporting event in Britain is enormous, Elizabeth Inman, Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Event Director said: “We only have six weeks to build the infrastructure on what is for the rest of the year a greenfield site. And three weeks to take it down. We have to ensure everything is up and running like clockwork and that we have installed adequate facilities for what is in essence a small town.”
That includes coordinating the hundreds of contractors and approximately 2,000 volunteers on cross country day alone, all making sure the four-day Trials are an experience not to be forgotten for riders, spectators and visitors.
Among the volunteers are fence judges, doctors, vets and 500 XTs - former Round Tablers from the area who man the crossing points.
Burghley has benefited from the World Equestrian Games taking place in France a fortnight before the Horse Trials.
Ms Inman said: “This is resulting in increased entries from overseas as riders from far away countries are taking the opportunity of travelling their horses to Europe.
“In addition we have taken a number of advanced bookings from spectators from countries including New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, France, Germany, USA and Australia wishing to travel to Stamford, after visiting The World Equestrian Games.”
Taking pride of place among the riders will be Australian Andrew Hoy, who won Burghley the first time he competed in 1979.
The sheep, cattle and crop farmer from Culcairn, in New South Wales, moved to the UK and was based at Gatcombe Park, in the Cotswolds, for 14 years, until January this year when he relocated to Somerby, near Oakham.
“I knew I would need to move to the hub of sport (the UK), if I wanted to do it full time,” said Mr Hoy, a regular at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, who this year brings Rutherglen.
“Burghley for me is one of the greatest sporting events in the world. The way the riders are looked after, the course and the terrain makes it a wonderful event to come to for riders and spectators.”
For Lincolnshire rider Gina Ruck, who is competing in the 4*, it will be her first eventing at Burghley.
Gina, of Tealby, who’ll be competing on home-produced 12yr old Rehy Too said: “At 22 i’m quite young to be taking part. So I’d like to complete the course, have a nice experience and hope my horses enjoy it too.”
Established in 1961 and held in Burghley Park, Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is one of three events in the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. It takes place on 4-7 September 2014 and showcases the best in the world in the equestrian disciplines of eventing.
For inquiries and tickets call the box office on 01933 304744 or visit www.burghley-horse-tickets.co.uk.