H&H columnist Captain Mark Phillips has been designing the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials cross-country course since 2005 (having been actively involved in the course since 1989) and this year’s track promises to be as challenging as ever.
Last year the course changed direction and Mark has kept the same route for 2016, although he says many of the combination fences have seen significant changes ahead of this year’s event.
In this year’s official coursewalk video (above), Nick Luck discusses the course with Mark.
“I think changes are important, the one thing you don’t want as a course designer is for the riders to be complacent,” explains Mark. “We don’t want them to say ‘same as last year’ and walk on. They really need to respect these fences, they are big fences and they have to be jumped.”
In addition to this year’s official coursewalk video, Horse & Hound has walked the course with top rider William Fox-Pitt, who is just back from the Rio Olympics, and will be bringing you his thoughts on every fence in this Thursday’s magazine (on sale 25 August). A short video sharing William’s views on some of the most well-known combinations on the track will be available online during the afternoon on Wednesday 24 August to whet your appetite.
While we’re used to seeing the massive four-star fences being tackled by the world’s top event horses, Burghley recently invited a couple of equally athletic individuals to show how the famous course might be tackled on two feet. The result gives an entirely different perspective to the course and is definitely worth a watch.
In other news, Burghley’s lake is home to one of the country’s largest populations of the native white-clawed crayfish and 60 of the rare crustations had to be moved prior to the event to allow for work to be undertaken around the Lion Bridge. This included work on new fences and for the Land Rover driving experience to enter the lake for the first time.