The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is the latest major event to fall victim to the widespread cancellation of events due to COVID-19. It follows closely on the heels of the announcement that Scotland’s Blair Castle International Horse Trials – also sponsored by Land Rover – would not run in 2020, which means that the UK has now lost all its CCI4*-L and CCI5* fixtures for this year.
Says Sir Richard Jewson, Chairman of the event’s committee, “One of the joys of being involved with Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is to be continually reminded how much this iconic event is loved by the many who create, take part and attend. We are so appreciative of the support and cooperation that we have received at this difficult time, not least from our title sponsor Land Rover. We wish everyone well in these uncertain times. We must now focus our efforts on planning the 2021 event, which all of us are sure will be a special celebration.”
The cancellation of Burghley is its first since its inception in 1961, and it marks the third and final Grand Slam leg to go to ground this year. This means that Pippa Funnell, who won here in 2019, will remain the live contender as the 2021 season gets underway.
2020’s season now sees just two five-stars left standing. Les Etoiles de Pau, scheduled for October 22-25 in the south of France and the debut Maryland CCI5* at Fair Hill, set for 15–18 October, are both currently planning to run.
The 2021 renewal is set to take place from September 1–5. 2020 was set to be course designer Captain Mark Phillips‘ final year; next year’s course is set to be designed by Derek di Grazia, best known for his Kentucky courses, though we may see this handover date pushed back a year to allow for a final year for Phillips.
We look forward to being back in situ at this biggest and boldest of events, but in the meantime if you’d like to get your Burghley fix, the team has kindly provided free access to a number of videos on its website. Click here to relive every second of the 2019 event, and click here to watch highlights programmes dating back to the ’90s. Our verdict? It’s hours of utter bliss that might help you forget that 2020 is basically just a badly-maintained muck heap of a year.