Burghley reveals plans to speed up entry for visitors, plus news of fresh-look course

  • Burghley Horse Trials has revealed new plans to speed up entry for visitors on cross-country day and a fresh feel to this year’s course as the clock ticks down to the 2023 event (31 August to 3 September).

    Defender Burghley Horse Trials director Martyn Johnson shared news on preparations during the Lincolnshire five-star’s media morning on Wednesday (16 August).

    “It’s very important that we keep what people enjoy at Burghley and that we don’t change things for change’s sake. But we are always trying to make the experience better for people on site,” he told H&H.

    “We’ve brought in e-ticketing this year, which is a big change and will hopefully help us be more efficient on Saturday in getting people into the park. We have a couple of new areas, including a fan zone and the Lime Avenue area in the shopping village, so there are some subtle changes but we always try to keep the traditions of what works at Burghley.

    “This year we will still take cash [on the gate]. The world is moving more and more towards cashless payments, but we felt this year with our new e-ticketing system coming in that we didn’t want to change things too much.

    “So you will be able to buy tickets on the gate, you will be able to buy e-tickets right up until the day. It will hopefully make things much more efficient.”

    Visitors are urged to download their e-tickets at home, before travelling to Burghley Horse Trials.

    Fresh-look to Burghley Horse Trials course

    Mr Johnson added that there is “quite a lot of change” to this year’s cross-country course, designed for a second year by Derek di Grazia.

    “I walked it with Derek for the first time on Monday,” he said. “The route is quite similar to last year, but with the changes Derek has made I think people will see quite a fresh course.”

    Mr di Grazia said: “The beginning of the course is the same track, but the combinations are completely different. The single fences are in different places, and we go in the reverse direction up Winner’s Avenue this year. That creates different questions. Coming down over the Dairy Mound, as opposed to going up, creates something completely different.

    “At the latter end of the course, it’s a case of having little places where you are doing something different. For those who were here last year, I think they will definitely see something different.

    “It’s about designing a track that’s a five-star track that’s fair, that keeps the riders thinking. At a five-star, they’ve got to be thinking because there’s always something to do.”

    He told H&H that the first year of designing is not just about learning the track, but the way the event runs. Retuning for a second year means he now has a bank of information to draw on.

    “As a course-designer, you’ve seen people riding over your course, how the ground rides, what horses are like at different parts of the course, so you have all that information which helps as you go along,” he said.

    “Then as you are developing the course for the following year, you have all this information which definitely helps in how you design your course.

    “Burghley has so much terrain. There are so many little places where you can do different things, so you’re always looking for ways to give the riders something new and something where you are making them think and at the same time, providing jumps that are going to be enjoyable.”

    • Don’t miss H&H’s Defender Burghley Horse Trials cross-country preview online in this coming Thursday’s issue of the magazine (24 August) with recent double European medal-winning British rider Kitty King. To watch Burghley Horse Trials in full, visit https://burghley-horse.co.uk/burghley-tv

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