With its £40,000 first prize, idyllic setting and breath-taking cross country course, Burghley International Horse Trials has once again attracted an armoury of world-class competitors. Ten different nations will tackle the 31-fence course, the brainchild of course designer Captain Mark Phillips: “Burghley’s track is, as ever, big and technical,” he warns.

Burghley Horse Trials made its debut in 1961 and in its second year ran the FEI European Championship. Since then Burghley has staged a record 10 championships including the first World Championship in 1966.

But this year’s event will be the last four-star horse trials in Britain to include the roads and tracks and steeplechase phases, which have traditionally been run prior to the cross-country phase. The passing of this format into eventing history is a significant moment for competitors and traditionalists. Held in some of the most beautiful areas of Burghley’s parkland, these phases have offered spectators moments of serenity and a chance to enjoy the competition surrounded by acres of Capability Brown’s perfected scenery.

But as well as marking the end of an era, Burghley will also play host to the finals of a new innovation within the sport. The Premier League is a rider league table that has run through the major British events this season, including Badminton, Gatcombe and most recently Blair. William Fox-Pitt is currently in pole position but there is everything still to play for with young British hopeful Francis Whittington currently in fifth position.

Event director, Elizabeth Inman, has said of this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials: “The quality of this year’s entry is in keeping with the standing of the event as one of the top two in the world. We are looking forward to welcoming all our visitors to four days of excitement at this year’s event.”

Outstanding shopping

Visitors will be able to enjoy thousands of promotions and special offers among the trade stands for the duration of the competition. As usual the place to be seen at Burghley will be the Horse & Hound stand (B25) where fantastic prizes can be won including a quad bike from Eastern Quads, a Frank Baines Saddle, a Jeffries bridle and £1000 of Harry Hall gear. Our instant win tombola will give visitors the chance to receive fantastic products from Spillers, Blue Chip and Net Tex and a 30% saving and free fleece will be given to those who subscribe to Horse & Hound on the day.

To promote the launch of their new website, Italian bag manufacturer Maxwell Scott are offering Horse & Hound readers 20% off their online retail prices. Visit them at www.maxwellscottbags.com and insert the following discount code to receive your 20% discount:- HANDHO220050. The full Maxwell Scott range will be available at Burghley within the “Lifestyle Pavilion”.

Event sponsor Masterfoods will be celebrating their 11th year involvement with Burghley by inviting visitors to their stand, which has samples of Pedigree and Winergy products and a chocolate fix; the award-winning Mars Delight.

With more than 300 trade exhibits to choose from, there is something for everybody. The famous tented village offers an exciting shopping experience including indoor and outdoor clothing from Benetton to Brora, ideas for the home and garden, catering stalls and everything imaginable for both horse and rider.

The World of Land Rover display area is destined to be a good respite once shopping has lost its appeal. Land Rover, title sponsors of this year’s event, will be exhibiting their new all-terrain bicycles as well as their range of off-road vehicles and clothing range. A demonstration area situated on the south side of the lake, near the Lion Bridge will give visitors the opportunity to experience the off-road capabilities of the vehicles around a course of uncompromising obstacles.

For those unable to attend this year’s Burghley Horse Trials, or only on selected days, BBC2’s Grandstand will be covering the Event from 15.15 to 16.45 on Sunday 4 September (provisional times).

What’s happening at Burghley

Wednesday 31 August
4:00pm: First Horse Inspections in the Main Arena

Thursday 1 September
7:30am: Gates Open
9:00am: Shops Open
9:00am – 5:00pm: Dressage
12:30pm & 4:30pm: Parelli Display
9:30am – 5:30pm: Burghley Strongid-P Pony Club Team Jumping

Friday 2 September
7:30am: Gates Open
9:00am: Shops Open
9:00am – 5:00pm:Dressage
12:30pm & 4:30pm: Dressage Display
Finals of Winergy Burghley Young Event Horse
Finals of the P(UK) Burghley Event Pony

Saturday 3 September
7:30am: Gates Open
9:00am: Shops Open
9:00am – 5:00pm: Speed and Endurance
(First horse on the cross country at 11.00am approx.)

Sunday 4 September
7:30am: Gates Open
9:00am: Shops Open, Final horse inspection
10.30am: Show jumping
12.30pm: BDS Concours d’Elegance
1.30pm: Parelli Display
2.00pm: The Band of the Parachute Regiment
2.30pm: Show jumping
3.45pm: Parade of Foxhounds
4,00pm: Presentation of Prizes
4.30pm: Osborne Refrigerators Double Harness Scurry Driving
9.00am – 5.00pm: British Driving Society Championships