Burghley Horse Trials 2023 kicks off in Stamford
The Burghley Horse Trials are now underway, with thousands of horse enthusiasts and shoppers flocking to Stamford.
A final inspection of the horses, called a ‘trot up’, was held on yesterday before the gates opened today (Thursday) for the main competition to begin.
Along with the dressage arrived thousands of visitors, and numbers are expected to swell further on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Retailers have been working hard to prepare their stalls, including a great many from the Rutland and Stamford area, and a buzz was in the air as visitors arrived for the first day of shopping, as well as the competition.
Heather Vincent travelled from Louth with her daughter-in-law Kate, who lives near Oundle.
She described the event as having ‘a friendly atmosphere’ and she has been coming for as long as she can remember – and favours watching the dressage.
“There are lots nice people here and everyone is happy,” she said.
Scott and Teresa Bullet’s love for the horse trials has been bringing them along as visitors to Burghley for 25 years.
“The ambience and the quality of trade stands and competition gives it a feel-good factor,” said Scott, who travelled from Windsor.
“It is the premier three-day event.”
As well as watching the competition and shopping, Scott braved The Defender Experience as a passenger in a Land Rover driven over water crossings and undulating terrain.
Farmers Pam and Trevor Sellers from Uppingham returned to the event after a four-year break. As keen horse riders, they are excited about the cross country.
Caroline Rawlings and Denise Adams are also riders and cross country fans, and travelled up from Exmoor.
They walked the 29-jump course designed by Californian Derek di Grazia before the competition started ‘to see how scary it is’.
Notable names in yesterday’s dressage included Zara Tindall, daughter of Princess Anne, who rode Class Affair, and Harry Meade, who rode Away Cruising.
There are champions galore among this year’s competition line-up, which features three past Burghley winners - Oliver Townend, Pippa Funnell and Tim Price. Of these, only Oliver will ride his former winner, Ballaghmor Class, with whom he triumphed in 2017.
Thousands of eyes will be watching closely as some of the world’s top riders test their nerve around Burghley’s famously demanding cross country course on Saturday.
For more photos from day one of the event, click here.
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