LAND ROVER BURGHLEY HORSE TRIALS 2014: THE COMPLETE TEST OF HORSEMANSHIP Skill, bravery, composure: read the story of a riveting Burghley 2014, as Land Rover celebrated 10 years as title sponsor of the prestigious trials.
The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is one of the most outstanding events on the equestrian calendar. Held in the beautiful surroundings of Burghley House in Stamford, Lincolnshire, the three-day eventing competition offers the complete test of horsemanship and hosts the cream of international riders. Each believe their skill, bravery and composure can tackle any challenge and win them the coveted first prize.
The 2014 trials marked an important anniversary. This was the 10th year that Land Rover had been title sponsor of the event; the pinnacle of Land Rover’s commitment to equestrian sport in the UK. To mark the occasion, Land Rover’s presence at Burghley was bigger than ever. Over 60 Land Rover vehicles were supplied to officials for use during the competition, while guests had a chance to sample the all-terrain capability with a testing off-road demonstration area run by Land Rover Experience.
Day One and Two: Dressage
Over 200 delighted Land Rover owners were given a surprise treat at lunchtime on day one, as leading chef James Martin served his specially created Ultimate Burghley Burger in the Owners’ Hospitality area.
Elsewhere, the Eventing action began in earnest, with dressage taking place across days one and two. Six British riders exuded confidence and calm to finish in the top-10 on day one, with fourth-placed Piggy French the pick on Westwood Mariner. French slipped to eighth on day two, but William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero cantered gracefully into second, while a cluster of Brits remained in contention for honours.
Day Three: Country
Day three began with Land Rover ambassador Zara Phillips – who had helped Team GB win eventing silver at the World Equestrian Games the previous weekend – taking in the Burghley course on foot ahead of the day’s cross country competition. The course itself included several Land Rover-sponsored jumps, and afforded attendees an early look at the recently launched New Discovery Sport.
The 2012 Olympic silver medallist also took time out to judge the famous Land Rover Tailgate Picnic competition, alongside television presenter Matt Baker. The Tailgate Picnic has become something of a Burghley institution, offering a chance for guests to test their alfresco culinary invention, and showcases the split tailgate capability of Land Rover vehicles. This year’s worthy winning picnic was organised by Lucy Sharply and Laura Nolan.
In the equestrian action, a composed ride from Britain’s Oliver Townend on Armada saw the 2009 Burghley winner finish second in the cross country and move up to third overall, setting the stage for a gripping finale.
Day Four: Show Jumping
The sun beamed down on the final afternoon at Burghley, and crowds flocked through the gates – hoping, perhaps, to witness the first British winner since William Fox-Pitt on Parklane Hawk in 2011.
But alas, it wasn’t to be. New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson produced a near-faultless show jumping round to take first place on Avebury – making history in the process as the first rider to win three-years consecutively on the same horse.
British riders could hold their heads high, however, with four finishing in the top-10: Oliver Townend (eighth), Izzy Taylor (seventh), Gemma Tattersall (fifth), and Fox-Pitt (fourth). There was also a triumphant postscript for the latter, who, after a year of capable, confident performances, won the FEI Classics award for points scored in eventing's six four-star competitions.
The Land Rover Perpetual Challenge trophy was presented to the winning owner, Rosemary Barlow, bringing to a close another electrifying year of the Burghley Horse Trials.