Top international riders are making Burgham International Horse Trials part of their competition diary this summer. Olympic Gold medal winner, Blyth Tait, Andrew Hoy, Oliver Townend, Ludwig Svennerstal and Nicola Wilson are amongst those that have confirmed their entries so far at this Northumberland event which runs from 30th July – 2nd August.
Burgham entries include two British combinations that have been selected for the European championships to be held on home soil at Blair Castle in September. They are: Oliver Townend riding Fenyas Elegance and Nicola Wilson riding One Two Many.
The secret of Burgham’s increasing popularity and status says Event Director, Martyn Johnson, is attention to detail and that ‘everything is geared towards the riders’.
“In particular, we are investing heavily in the ground and how good it is. The ground care programme continues throughout the year, but in addition to topping, watering, and rolling, Verti drain work is done the week of the event. The Verti Drain machine is regarded in the business as the premiere method of putting more give into the ground after dry weather. We’ve been lucky enough to have one machine on loan from Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club as well as another from a private specialised contractor.”
New additions to this summer’s event include onsite stabling, a second arena and the return of the Burghley Young Event Horse and British Showjumping by popular demand. Johnson says, “This year’s event is the biggest we’ve ever done and is fast developing into one of the largest in the North. It’s really exciting that we’ve been able to develop each time.”
Sponsored by North East construction firm the Owen Pugh Group, Burgham has established itself as a strategically important event in the Northern and Scottish region. It is also an important stepping stone to CCI3* events such as Bramham and Blenheim and it is also becoming an important run as part of preparations for Burghley for some.
This is not surprising given that this is the second year of association with Course Designer David Evans. Evans is one of the select crowd who can call themselves a 3/4* level cross country course designer. He has a distinct advantage having started his career as a Course Builder, working alongside some of the top designers such as Mark Phillips, Mike Etherington Smith, Ian Stark and Eric Winter, with the pinnacle of his career so far being the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. Burgham was David’s first appointment as a CIC 3* course designer in 2014. Martyn Johnson believes he is one of the next big designers, and is delighted that Burgham is part of his career trajectory.
Burgham International Horse Trials runs from Thursday 30th July until Sunday 2ndAugust. Access is direct from the A1, only 25 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. Classes range from BE90 to the CIC 3* event. Entries are still being taken. For further information go to www.burghamhorsetrials.co.uk
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