Burgham on course

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AN exciting three-day programme has been unveiled for a major horse festival, as organisers aim to transform it into one of the region’s flagship sporting events, attracting thousands of people.

The action-packed schedule for the Burgham Horse Trials includes a range of competitions and disciplines while a cross-country course is being created by international course builder Douglas Weymouth.

Highlights of the equine showcase, to be staged at Burgham Park, near Felton, between Friday, July 22, and Sunday, July 24, this year, include the Burghley Dubarry Young Event Horse Qualifiers on the opening day, British eventing and British showjumping on the Saturday, before the £12,000 Burgham Classic Grand Prix on day three.

The organising team behind the event – which will also feature a retail village – includes professional riders Lindsay Aspden, Ben Hobday, James Sommerville, Jolyse Clancey and Martyn Johnson.

Major efforts are also being made to consult with the wider equestrian community, including the launch of a new interactive web forum on the event website, where members are encouraged to discuss anything from horse care to equestrian competitions and access live news feeds.

Event director Paul White, national secretary of the British Eventing Organisers Association and also organiser of Skipton Horse Trials in North Yorkshire, said posts on the event’s Facebook page and the web forum demonstrated building excitement and anticipation among the equestrian community.

He said: “We already have 650 fans on Facebook and members on our new web forum asking us lots of questions about the competitions taking place, volunteering opportunities and generally voicing just how much they are looking forward to Burgham 2011.

“With a full schedule of eventing and showjumping, as well as all the other competitions, on-site accommodation and stabling, a huge retail village and a celebration party planned, we aim to create a fun festival atmosphere for everyone.”

Affordable three-day family ticket deals and a caravan/camping site are being offered to encourage competitors and spectators alike to come and stay for the whole weekend.

The full draft event schedule can be found at www.burghamhorsetrials.co.uk and the new interactive equine forum at www.burghamhorsetrials.co.uk/forum

with Burgham Horse Trials news updates also posted on the event’s Facebook page.

Competition entry forms and reduced price advance spectator tickets will be available in April.