ZigZag Eventing – Fun Burghley Facts

Burghley Horse Trials makes up just one of six CCI 4* events across the world and is seen as one of the equestrian highlights on the eventing calendar here in the UK, ranking within the top ten national sporting occasions by attendance. Today the event sees 160,000 spectators and 80 competitors over the 4 days it runs for, quite a contrast to its first event in 1961 where there were 12,000 spectators watching a field of just 19 competitors!

With 2017’s Burghley Horse Trials commencing this weekend I decided now would be a good time to share some fun facts from the past 55 years…

  • Since its conception in 1961 Burghley has hosted 3000 riders from 38 countries.
  • Captain Mark Phillips has designed the course since 2005 (although he has designed it in previous years) but has also ridden around Burghley and won it in 1973.
  • William Fox-Pitt has won the event the most, totalling 6 times between 1994 and 2011.
  • Burghley forms part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing along with two other 4* events, Badminton Horse Trials (UK) and Rolex Kentucky (USA). The total prize money for winning the Grand Slam is £240,000.
  • In 2003 Pippa Funnell made eventing history when she won Burghley and also became the first rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. A title which wasn’t claimed again until 2016 by Michael Jung.
  • Andrew Nicholson wins the title of most completions at Burghley, finishing the event a staggering 34 times.
  • Andrew Nicholson and his ride Avebury also take the title for most consecutive wins of a horse, rider and a horse/rider combination- winning the event 3 times in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
  • 4* event rider and previous competitor Izzy Taylor is also the niece of Burghley’s first winner, Anneli Drummond-Hay in 1961.
  • The Cottesmore Leap is the biggest fence on course and a notorious ‘rider frightener’ standing at 1.45m high and 3m wide!
  • Zara Phillips is the only child of two former winners to compete at Burghley after her mother, HRH Princess Anne, and her father, Captain Mark Phillips, won the event in 1971 and 1973 respectively.
  • Since 1990 Burghley has run alongside the Burghley Young Event Horse final, a competition which judges 4 and 5 year olds on their future potential in the field of eventing.
  • Burghley held the first ever European Championships in 1962 and has staged a total of 10 championships since, including the first World Championships in 1966.

I hope you enjoyed all those facts as much as I enjoyed finding them! I’m at Burghley this year so if you’re there give me a wave!


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