5-8 September 2024

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Defender Burghley Horse Trials kicked off this afternoon when 59 combinations were presented to the ground jury of Christian Steiner (AUT – President), Anne-Mette Binder (DEN) and Nick Burton (GBR) at the Fairfax & Favor-sponsored first horse inspection under bright and blustery skies in Burghley’s Main Arena.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023 - 19:54
Pippa Funnell Majas Hope DBHT 95893

First-timer Christopher Whittle’s ride, Skip Mill, was sent to the holding box and sadly did not pass on reinspection, leaving 58 to go forward to tomorrow’s dressage phase.

There are champions galore among this year’s stellar line-up, which features three past Defender Burghley winners — Oliver Townend (GBR), Pippa Funnell (GBR) and Tim Price (NZL). Of these only Oliver will ride his former winner, Ballaghmor Class, with whom he triumphed in 2017. Pippa will start on Majas Hope, while Tim rides Vitali, third here last year.

The field also includes Zara Tindall (GBR), who will ride Class Affair tomorrow at 11.10am.

There was plenty of high-jinx on display on the runway, much to the delight of the enthusiasticcrowds.

Harry Mutch (GBR) took several lame steps when his mount, HD Bronze, clipped the back of his heel and left him briefly floundering, while Nicky Hill (GBR) was forced to hold on tight when MGH Bingo Boy bucked his way up and back. Lauren Innes (NZL) had her hands full with a super-charged Global Fision M, and was asked to trot a second time.

There was a round of applause for the newly crowned European champion Ros Canter (GBR), when she presented her ride here, Pencos Crown Jewel, who looked an absolute picture and gleamed under the late summer sun.

The Fairfax & Favor and Hiho Silver-sponsored prizes for the best dressed riders at the first horse inspection went to Phil Brown (GBR) and Pippa Funnell.

Phil was complimented by judge Andrew Ransford from Hiho Silver on his matching three-piece suit, belt, shoes and pocket square combination, while Pippa paired a patterned styled blouse with matching tassels on her boots.

Dressage starts tomorrow at 9.45am on Thursday (31 August), when Britain’s Harry Meade will enter the arena on the first of his three rides, Away Cruising.

Prior to that, at 9.15am, Gemma Stevens will perform the guinea pig test with Flash Cooley.

As well as dressage there will be two masterclasses taking place tomorrow during the day in the main arena. During the lunch break, former British world class performance manager Yogi Briesner will lead a demonstration titled ‘Better cross country — without hiring a course’, starring Laura Collett and amateur rider Charlotte Vickery, while current British team performance manager Dickie Waygood will present ‘The right platform for cross-country success’ with Kitty King after dressage has finished. Laura and Kitty were part of the British team that won gold at the recent European Championships.

Don’t miss a thing with Burghley TV, covering everything from the first horse inspection to the final prize giving, plus interviews and feature content plus a daily highlights show.

Last year’s coverage won brilliant reviews from users; new this year is our ‘batcam' drone and hat cameras giving a rider’s view of the course.

Burghley TV is hosted by Nick Luck and Rosie Tapner, with commentary from John Kyle, Nicole Brown and guests.