The cross-country course at this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials will be about 600m shorter, and run over a reduced time of about 10 minutes and 30 seconds.

The decision was made following discussions involving Burghley course designer Captain Mark Phillips and several key players in the sport.

“It is my belief that we often see less attractive pictures of horse and rider combinations after the 10-minute mark,” said H&H columnist Capt Mark Phillips.

“Making this change therefore means that horses and riders will have jumped the last combination before reaching that stage.”

The optimum time for riders to complete Burghley’s four-star track will be reduced by around a minute to 10min and 30secs. The track itself will now run over a distance of about 6,000m.

The ratio of jumping efforts — one to every 145m — remains the same.

Burghley director Elizabeth Inman said: “At Burghley, we are leading the way to show that 4* eventing can, within these parameters, produce an exciting competition, a good image for the sport as well as a great day’s entertainment for our many visitors.”

The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials runs from 3-6 September.

Read this week’s H&H (21 May, ’09) for Capt Mark Phillips’s comments on the changes