With the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (29 August-2 September) in full-swing, riders have now had the opportunity to walk the infamous four-star cross-country course, designed by Captain Mark Phillips.
We caught up with some of the competitors to find out what they think about this year’s track…
Oliver Townend: “It’s seriously undulating and it is going to be stamina sapping. I know Burghley is big, but I’ve never walked around here and seen fences of such dimensions.
Andrew Nicholson: “I think right from the start, it’s very big and what has struck me is that I think it will be quite tiring on the horses. There’s quite a steep pull up Winners’ Avenue, which be around the seven minute marker of an 11 minute course. That will then make the Clarence Court combination at the Dairy Mound a bit harder. I think the Trout Hatchery is very difficult too — there will be a lot of different ways to jump there with plenty of options. I like the way the course is consistent — it feels like you’ll get into the groove of riding up to the jumps with the horses looking and letting you ride them up to them.”
Simon Grieve: “There are lots of places to do something silly and there are lots of places where horses can have a run out and they need to be so bold and brave. I think the Leaf Pit will cause a lot of problems — it comes up earlier in the course this year. The Trout Hatchery and The Maltings are difficult — the first set of rails at The Maltings is huge and it has a drop on it so you need to be in balance to jump the massive corner at part b. There’s plenty of places that could catch us out.”
Ludwig Svennerstal: “I think it’s a very serious course. There’s a lot of challenges all the way through. There are a lot of big fences and it’s really challenging.”
Take a look at what the cross-country course has in store for horses and riders this year
Former double Burghley winner Blyth Tait walks the cross-country course for this year's event, giving his views in videos of
The four men took on the four-star cross-country course, including pausing for press-ups inside the Cottesmore Leap
Nana Dalton: “You don’t come here without expecting a challenge. It’s one question after another, but I think they’re all fair. We’ve got to be on our A game the whole way round.”
You can read the full Burghley report in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (Thursday 6 September).