The 2012 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is over before it’s started for three riders following the first horse inspection this afternoon.

America’s Marilyn Little-Meredith did not present RF Rovano Rex, while Australian rider Tim Boland withdrew GV Billy Elliot from the holding box after trotting up twice in front of the ground jury. The third casualty was The Netherland’s Merel Blom, whose ride Rumour Has It was spun after being re-presented.

Other riders who had to endure a worrying wait before having their horses accepted included Rebecca Crosbie-Starling (Paddys Gold), Ireland’s Elizabeth Power (September Bliss), James Adams (Pricewise) and South Africa’s Paul Hart (Heartbreak Hill).

Eye-catchers

Lucy Wiegersma’s Simon Porloe, Andrew Nicholson’s Calico Joe, Dirk Schrade’s Hop And Skip, Polly Stockton’s Westwood Mariner and Kai Ruder’s Le Prince Des Bois all appeared delighted to show their paces off in front of the appreciative crowd. Barry’s Best and Comanche both looked a picture, belying the fact they are in their late teens.

Bettina Hoy had her hands full with Lanfranco TSF, while being very glamorously turned out herself in a striking black dress and jacket with white accents, paired with black boots. She was one of just a handful of riders who chose to wear a skirt or dress on a chilly breezy day of sunshine and showers.

There seemed to be a trend for wearing coloured scarfs among some of the female riders this year, which resulted in a few worrying moments courtesy of the wind. There was also a near wardrobe malfunction for America’s Allison Springer, whose wrap dress gapped rather alarmingly at times showing plenty of upper thigh to the crowd.

The official prizes for the best dressed male and female riders went to the ever stylish, yet understated William Fox-Pitt and Mary King.

Follow every phase of Burghley as it happens using H&H Live, our interactive written commentary supported by Baileys Horse Feeds. Go to www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghley2012live to set a reminder and join in.

Make sure you buy H&H next week (6 September) for our 10-page special Burghley report, with full analysis of every phase, comments from dressage expert Sally O’Connor and former winner Ginny Elliot and more.