I always feel a sense of occasion when I attend the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (to give it its full title). It’s much more than just a horse show, it’s one of only six Three-Day Events in the world, and attracts some of the most influential riders and followers in the world of eventing.
With over 600 carefully selected exhibitors and, on average, 160,000 visitors across the four days, Land Rover Burghley is not solely a sporting occasion, which suits me, as it’s the outdoor and 4x4 theme that I’m interested in. My theory is, if a product can survive the horsey environment, then it can stand up to ours. So with that in mind, after Karen Lee wandered off to watch the horses, I set off to mooch around the 600 stalls.
Of course the majority are horse specific, but there are lots of hidden gems within the horsey community, Millican (http://www.homeofmillican.com) for instance offer some of the most hardwearing and smart bags and accessories that I’ve seen and used. Surrounded by jewellery and ornament stalls, I came across Karen from Eskeez (see my review), who was introducing her range of excellent thermal wear. This list goes on.
As the main sponsor, you’d expect Land Rover to have a large presence, and their new LR Experience track was a show stealer, for me anyway. With a choice of Range Rovers, Full Fat or Sport, you’re chauffeur driven over and around a series of obstacles which this year included a huge electric see-saw and swimming pool! It always amuses me to listen to people who’re either queueing or walking past, ‘Look, it’s going to tip over!’ ‘You’ll never get me on that!’
As it was early September last year, the new Discovery Sport was still a rare sight, even I hadn’t set eyes on one. Land Rover wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to show case their new upstart at a high class event and had a couple on show. They certainly proved popular, though I have to admit I thought it’d be bigger, but then it’s still a replacement for the Freelander.
After another meander around the shops for new, innovative and different products to review, I thought I’d better make my way into the main arena for some horsey action, well it was the final event after all! If I’m completely honest horse jumping is a bit like football for me, I have absolutely no interest in it. However, I would happily watch skilled players do what they do best, and it’s the same at Burghley, these guys and gals are the best at what they do, and the horses are amazing too. I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but felt enriched just watching them, the experience is amazing.
If you are a horsey person you'll probably already know who won what, so I'll just say that a bloke called Andrew Nicholson collected his 5th Burghley title, and rode into the record books by winning 3 years in a row on the same horse, the home-bred Avebury. So well done Andrew.
After the mad frenzy of interviews and official photographs of the winners and runners up was over, Karen Lee and I wandered over to the Suzuki Grand Vitara that I had on test. As we watched the mass exodus, we took out the chairs, Cobb BBQ, Ghillie Kettle, and relaxed in the balmy evening sun whilst we prepared our tea and reflected on our day.
As I wrote earlier, I don’t have a huge interest in horses or events, horses always remind me of something that’s probably more expensive to keep than a fleet of 4.6 P38 Range Rovers, but you don’t have to like horses to enjoy Burghley, it’s the atmosphere, the people, the occasion, it’s such a nice show to visit that I’m already looking forward to next year's offering. For more details, visit: http://www.burghley-horse.co.uk