The Pimm’s flowed and the sun shone as thousands of visitors enjoyed a weekend of top equestrian action at the 2015 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
The four day event began on Thursday (September 3) last week in the grounds of Burghley House, near Stamford, finishing on Sunday afternoon (September 6). Those who came were spoiled for choice; not only could they watch some of the world’s top riders but they could also browse the huge selection of shops or sample countless delicious treats in the food walk.
The event was even graced by royalty as Zara Philips, who has previously competed at Burghley, was joined by former England rugby captain Martin Corry to judge the Land Rover Picnic Competition.
Don and Jeannie Barton travelled to Burghley from their home in Wem, near Shrewsbury, with their two pointers Jack and Gill. They were visiting for the first time in several years having lived in Australia.
Don said: “It’s been a fabulous day. I think it’s wonderful. We’re quite into horses anyway but I think Burghley is one of the best-organised events.
“We came about nine years ago and I really think it’s grown. There seems to be a lot more people.”
The couple spent most of their day watching the cross country event, pitching up at several fences to enjoy the action. But they also found time to squeeze in some retail therapy.
Don said: “There’s such a selection of shops, and they are all tied in to the horses. It’s everything that you require.
“I think it’s the top event. We’ll definitely be back next year.”
People come from all over the world to visit Burghley. Siblings George and Marina Stephens, from Old Somerby, brought some Australian friends to enjoy the atmosphere.
Marina said: “Our friend works for (rider) Sam Griffiths, who has two horses here. They’ve been teaching us the ways of eventing.
“We come every year. I like the atmosphere best. We’re going to have a few drinks and soak it all up.”
With them was Gaby Cooke, who competed at Burghley in 2011. As a visitor rather than a rider she was able to relax a bit more this year.
She said: “It’s very different to how it was then. Now I’ve been here once it’s a bit more familiar. Hopefully I’ll be back competing next year.”
Josh Spencer, from nearby Counthorpe, was enjoying a drink with friends Nick Blanchard, Sophe Strickson, Emma Basden and Samantha Weir.
“We’re having a fantastic time,” he said. “It’s an annual thing and a big event in the calendar for us. It’s a social occasion where we meet a lot of friends, so it’s a great event.
“I think it’s got better each year, and this is one of the best yet. Good food, good drink and good company.”
For Lisa Salter, from Long Sutton, Burghley holds some nostalgia as her children used to ride for the Burghley Pony Club. “It’s more of a special event for us,” she said.
This year visitors could also get up closed and personal with the Webb Ellis Cup as part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour ahead of this month’s tournament. And youngsters could audition to be a mascot at one of the matches.
Next year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials will take place from September 1 to 4.
Photos by Terry Harris, Rowland Hobson and Stephen Daniels.