Burghley fences, up close and personal

August 1, 2017
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If you’ve ever wanted to paddle in the Trout Hatchery and get up close and personal with the daunting cross-country obstacles of Burghley Horse Trials, now’s your chance — there is still time to enter this year’s SEIB Burghley Sponsored Ride.

This unique ride offers the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful hack across one of the country’s most beautiful and historic estates, where so many equestrian dramas have unfolded over the years. Plus you will be raising much-needed funds for a range of charities. This year’s beneficiaries are World Horse Welfare, the British Horse Society, the Horse Trust, Ride for Research, the Animal Health Trust and the Claire Lomas Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.

Held on the final day of the historic three-day event at Burghley Estate, Stamford, Lincs, from Wednesday, 31 August to Sunday, 3 September, the 12km leisure ride runs alongside the imposing fences on tracks and paths that are usually out of bounds to the general public.

“Cumulative proceeds are around £220,000 to date,” said ride organiser Ian Scott. Ian has been organising the ride since its inception and this will be the 15th running. He is grateful for SEIB’s contribution that covers the full running costs, which mean that the entry fees and all money raised go to charity, while ordinary horsemen and women enjoy the experience.

“It is very much the leisure riders who come — it’s not event riders or professionals but very much people coming from yards, Pony Club branches and societies; friends riding together,” he added.

Nicolina Mackenzie, marketing manager of SEIB Insurance Brokers, said: “What is most important about the ride is that 100 per cent of the money raised by participants will go to charity, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for riders of all levels to ride round Burghley and raise money for charity at the same time.”

So why not gather some of your friends and their horses to join you and make a day of it? The ride is suitable for horses and ponies of all ages, sizes and abilities and there is no jumping involved — simply walking, trotting and some cantering. If you have any doubts about how your horse or pony may react, Ian emphasised that the start of the ride is staggered.

“We send people out very carefully so if they’re nervous or concerned that their horse might get a bit too excited, they have a half-hour slot in which they ride out and they can pick their time to go,” he explained.

Everyone who completes the ride will receive a special SEIB rosette and goodie bag and there will be SEIB and Burghley Horse trials branded merchandise to the top eight riders for the most money raised.

So if you want to see those awe-inspiring fences up close, enter this year’s ride before 25 August. A schedule and entry form can be downloaded from the website, which includes an option to enter on line with an entry fee of £35 per person, as well as some useful tips on how to raise sponsorship. Visit the new SEIB Burghley Sponsored Ride website to download an entry form or email burghleysponsoredride@btconnect.com for more details.

You can also keep up to date with the fun in the build up to the big day – and upload your own photos and anecdotes – by following the event on Facebook.