COMPETITORS and spectators who enjoyed a rare weekend’s eventing in Northumberland after the wettest summer in living memory have showered praise on the organisers of Burgham Horse Trials.
The event’s Facebook page has been inundated with compliments after a huge effort by the Burgham team was rewarded with three full days of eventing action, while other horse trials across the country were being cancelled.
The announcement on Thursday that British Showjumping would not be going ahead due to ground conditions around the arenas following persistent rain, and British Eventing’s decision to postpone the Intermediate and Open Intermediate classes from Friday until yesterday, threatened to dampen spirits.
But with the sun shining on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, huge crowds turned out to support more than 700 competitors – a massive increase on the number of eventers last year.
Riders who took part travelled from places as far afield as Perthshire in Scotland, Conwy in Wales and Berkshire in the South of England, and included Ruth Edge, Matthew Wright and Jamie Atkinson.
An estimated 8,000 people attended the event over the three days, with BE90, BE100, Novice and Intermediate classes competing. Other attractions included the retail village and a Companion Dog Show.
The Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifiers were moved to nearby Todburn Equestrian Centre.
Event director David Nicholson said: “It was obviously a difficult build up to the weekend, with rain right up until Wednesday and competitors nervous about the potential for cancellation given what has happened elsewhere in recent weeks with Badminton, Chatsworth, Gatcombe, Aske and Eglinton all called off.
“We always knew the ground would hold up well given the excellent drainage here, and the superb feedback we have received from competitors has borne that out.
“It’s been extremely rewarding after all the hard work to see so many riders and spectators enjoy a great weekend’s eventing after the frustration they have faced this year due to the horrendous weather across the country.”
The many positive comments on the Burgham Horse Trials Facebook page include: “Well done everybody involved in running Burgham, and thank you for such an awesome three days ... so friendly and welcoming” and “Thank you so much for a fab weekend. Great weather, great ground and super courses. See you next year.”
Burgham’s cross country courses for BE90, BE100 and Novice levels are open for schooling this Friday and Saturday from 7am until 8pm. The cost is £25 per horse and riders can simply turn up on the day.
The organising team will soon get plans get underway for the next event – an Advanced Badminton qualifier next March which will include all classes from BE90 to Advanced.
Full results for this weekend’s competition are now available on the British Eventing website britisheventing.com/asp-net/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=3214