New Burghley Horse Trials director named: ‘2022 will happen, and the future is good’

  • THE new Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials director said he is excited about the event’s future, as he paid tribute to those involved with it in the past.

    The Burghley board announced today (5 October) that Martyn Johnson would take over the reins of the CCI5* held by Liz Inman for 16 years until she stepped down in July.

    The board said it was “delighted” to announce Mr Johnson’s appointment.

    “The board of Burghley Horse Trials Limited was extremely impressed with the number and quality of candidates who applied for the position but Martyn clearly stood out as the candidate best suited to take the event forward into the next stage of its development,” a spokesman said.

    Mr Johnson, who has been involved in eventing organisation for over 10 years, told H&H he is stepping down as director of Burgham Horse Trials, and as manager of Alnwick Ford Equestrian in Northumberland to concentrate exclusively on Burghley.

    “It’s very exciting,” he said.“My first and most important priority is to make sure the 2022 event happens, but we’ll already be looking at what happens in 2023 and 2024.

    “Definitely 2022 will happen, and I think Burghley’s future is good.”

    As part of the interview process, Mr Johnson gave a presentation on ideas and innovations for Burghley. And although the details cannot yet be divulged, he said it is important to keep the Burghley traditions, while considering what can be improved.

    “A lot of ideas are fairly obvious if you look at what other events do, like Aachen,” he said. “We’ll be respecting the traditions of Burghley while looking to move the event into the next phase. When I first go in, it will be about working with the very successful team, which lives and breathes Burghley, understanding the landscape and finding the balance. Innovation will have to be done in the right way, for the right reasons.”

    Mr Johnson said his new role is a “massive” one, which comes with a big responsibility, from running one of only two CCI5* events in Britain, to working with other organisers and all stakeholders.

    He said there will be extra challenges for 2022, the first Burghley since 2019, since which the world has changed so much, but he is looking forward to getting started.

    “It will be quite exciting to see what the new era brings,” he said. “It’s important to pay tribute to the work that’s been done, by Liz and the team, they’ve done a fantastic job.

    “Everything moves on and I think this is an exciting time.”

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