What would Burghley be without show stopping picnics to keep us sustained for (watching) all the four-star action? Zara Tindall and Adam Henson were on hand to judge this year's Land Rover Tailgate Picnic Competition

A bit of rain (actually quite a lot of rain) wasn’t going to stop Zara Tindall checking out the hot competition at Burghley Horse Trials this year… and we’re not talking about the four-star action.

The eventer was on duty to judge the coveted Land Rover Tailgate Picnic Competition, along with farmer and TV presenter, Adam Henson. And it was a tough task.

There are a few things that make Burghley, Burghley; the biggest names in our sport performing at the top of their game, the wow-factor backdrop of Burghley House, trade stands with the ability to severely dent your bank account — and of course, hearty picnics to keep us all going.

So what’s on Zara’s picnic checklist? “I have to try the food, and then it’s about appearance, attention to detail and the most effort,” she says.

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Bunting was out in force, crusts had been removed, beautiful Scottish salmon had been sourced and sloe gin was flowing.

After darting between gazebos and tents, Lucy Sharpley (and her friends), came out on top — but thinking caps are back on for that show stopper that could wow the judges in 2017 (come rain or shine).

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Have you been inspired by this year’s picnic competition? Take a look at TV chef James Martin’s top 5 tailgate picnic tips:

1. When it comes to wrapping food, always use greaseproof paper or cling film. So often when the weather is good, if you use tinfoil it can actually end up cooking the food.

2. Use different types of vinegars like cider vinegar or sherry vinegar to glam up limp salad. It really gives it a lift after a long journey.

3. Pack a spicy pickle or a chilli jam in your picnic. It doesn’t matter if it gets a bit warm and the kick in the pickle or jam will really enhance the taste of a pie or a scotch egg.

4. Look for things like hot smoked salmon, which is already cooked and therefore doesn’t deteriorate when it has been in the back of a vehicle for a certain amount of time.

5. Use soft cheeses, ones that don’t like being refrigerated but are actually better when they warm up, such as brie and camembert, or a particularly good one is Vacherin Mont D’Or.

Don’t miss our full report from Burghley Horse Trials in the 8 September issue of Horse & Hound magazine