A team of racing Shetland ponies and their mini jockeys were treated to a rare insight into the cross-country course at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials ahead of the famous three-day event this week (5-8 September).
The speedy miniatures and the children raced around the track at the Lincolnshire venue, making the 31 fences look even bigger than usual.
They galloped their way around the spectacular grounds of Burghley House near Stamford, splashing through the lake, trotting over historic bridges and weaving through the 1.45m obstacles.
The cute combinations will go head-to-head in the Shetland Pony Grand National on Saturday (7 September), kicking off the popular cross-country day in style. The young jockeys will take to the turf, donning their racing silks, in the main arena at 9.30am. The action, which sees them race over mini hurdles, promises to be exhilarating and certainly competitive — perfect for early arrivals ahead of the start of the cross-country.
This year’s track has been described as “one of the biggest Burghleys designed by Mark Phillips” by the legendary Mark Todd, who did an exclusive course walk for H&H (29 August issue).
The fences featured in the video include the Holland Cooper Leaf Pit, a test of bravery, trust and accuracy, and the Land Rover Trout Hatchery, the main water complex consisting of three separate waters to negotiate.
The team of Shetlands then enjoyed a splash in the water under the famous Lion Bridge before galloping along Winners’ Avenue and climbing over the new “bank” at fence 17 before gunning it home towards the finish line.
The family-fun entertainment at Burghley this year also includes the Land Rover Experience or have a go on the Musto simulated horse. There will be dog agility, gundogs, a driven donkey display, face painting, a stallion parade and much more.
Don’t miss our full report from Burghley Horse Trials in the 12 September issue of Horse & Hound, and keep updated with the latest news online at horseandhound.co.uk.