Burghley Horse Trials has appointed Elizabeth Inman as its new Event Director. She replaces Andrew Tulloch, who left in October last year when it looked like the position of event director would become full-time, making it impossible for him to reconcile it with his racing commitments.

While Tulloch was new to Burghley, Inman is an insider. She was appointed deputy director when the post was created in 2004 and, before that, she was secretary of the event for 15 years.

“I’m looking forward to carrying on the work of my predecessors to ensure that Burghley maintains its position as the premier world-class sporting event in the autumn, and we continue to stage an event that our visitors put in their diaries year after year while continuing to attract new visitors,” she says.

Inman joins a small elite group of women who manage top sporting events in Britain. But female supremacy is nothing new in eventing, as British Eventing’s Chief Executive, Peter Durrant, quickly points out. “We are a sport with a dominance of highly successful lady riders. It’s great and tremendous to see a lady at the top of the management.

“Elizabeth has had a tremendous career with the sport, as well as Burghley,” he says. “She was [former Burghley Director] Bill Henson’s right-hand for many years. Her depth of experience and knowledge, the friends she made throughout the world and her vision for the future made her the ideal candidate.”

Inman is as knowledgeable about Burghley as it gets, but that does not make her a stiff preserver of past glories. She has no intention to let the event rest on its laurels.

“There are no immediate plans to change [Burghley], but Elizabeth has a very good vision that we stand in changing times. To stay at the top, you need that knowledge,” Durrant explains. “She’ll see that continuity and standards are maintained but has the flexibility to adapt to changing times and a changing world.”

And indeed Inman takes over at an interesting time for Burghley, which recently secured a seven-figure, three-year sponsorship from Land Rover.

“I look forward to working with Land Rover and, with the help of the experienced team that Burghley is lucky enough to have, delivering an event in 2005 that is a credit to those involved and a joy to our visitors,” she says.

The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2005 will take place from 1 to 4 September.

Pictured courtesy of Kit Houghton