Entries have opened for this year’s Burghley Sponsored Ride, taking place on Sunday 4 September — the final day of the 2011 horse trials.

The ride, running for the 12th time, offers a unique opportunity to get a rider’s eye view of one of the toughest cross-country courses in the world.

The 10-12km track includes a loop on the track past the Dairy Mound, Trout Hatchery and along the Avenue of Champions.

The rest of the ride takes place in surrounding parkland that is normally closed to the public.

More than 300 riders took part in 2009, but there was no ride last year.

People wishing to participate are advised by the organizers to book their place as soon as possible as entries are limited.

Liz Smith, from Hertfordshire, is looking forward to her first visit: “The chance to say ‘I’m taking my horse to Burghley Horse Trials’ doesn’t come around that often!

“I’ll be bringing my seven-year-old Pura Raza Espanola Matrix, for his first visit to beautiful Burghley.

“He’ll be plaited up Spanish style and we’re hoping to have our photo taken in front of Burghley House.”

There will be an on-site photographer and refreshments available.

Entry will be available at normal pedestrian rates to the final day of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Over past years £115,000 has been raised for local and equine charities including World Horse Welfare, the British Horse Society, Air Ambulance and Mark Davies Injured Riders fund, by the ride.

This year the ride is being supported by EQUEST, EQUEST PRAMOX and Dodson & Horrell following last year’s hiatus.

The top three fundraisers will receive special prizes from the horse trials’ shop and everyone that completes with receive a rosette and sponsors’ goody bag.

Riders are not allowed to jump the fences and must be over five years of age.

For further details, and to book your place on the ride, visit www.icommentate.co.uk/burghley or e-mail burghleysponsoredride@btconnect.com