What makes the show jumping unique at Burghley

The first fence, The Lion Bridge, straddles the dressage centre line which some years can be well worn


The final show jumping test at any CCI4* event is a big ask for horses and riders after the rigours of the cross country. At the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this is no exception but there are a few special quirks of the 4* track built by course designer Richard Jeffery.

Richard, who also designs the course at Rolex Kentucky, explains that Burghley is one of the most difficult show jumping tracks he has to build due to the undulating grass arena which is also used for dressage, horse inspections and even part of the cross country course. As the main arena sits within a Grade 2 Listed Park the area cannot be levelled to create a flat arena so the riders have to learn to cope with it and the course designer tries to build to cope with these unusual conditions

The arena slopes downhill away from the entry gate and throughout the large arena there are natural rises and falls in various areas. The centre line of the dressage arena becomes worn over the two dressage days, although this year thanks to good weather this wasn’t too bad, and some horses see the worn track as a small ditch and try to jump it. Richard takes this into account and this year the first fence, The Lion Bridge, actually straddled the centre line


Oliver Townend, Jock Paget and Erik Duvander check out the old HSBC Classics fence, now revamped to be the Rolex Grand Slam Fence 5


This year the course consisted of 13 fences and 15 jumping efforts including three doubles. Richard explained that for the past five years he has included a triple combination in the same place; this year he opted for three doubles rather than the double and triple combination, as allowed under FEI rules, as there is no other area he could place the triple and he felt that, with many riders having their top horses at WEG, the three doubles would provide a slightly easier option. The first double came early at Fence 3 and was followed by a related distance through Fences 4, 5 and 6.

“I’ve made the related distances of four and five strides quite friendly” explained Richard “But sometimes a straight forward distance can be difficult as it’s hard for riders to do nothing and just keep the horse balanced and straight. There’s a temptation to do something extra in this environment”


     Richard demonstrates the breakaway cups on the back rail of the oxer


From there, there was a roll back to Fence 7, a white upright gate with delicate flat cups, before the liverpool oxer at Fence 8 at 1.25m, 5 cm less than the maximum height. The back rail of the oxer was on 20ml deep break away cups which are now regularly used in eventing show jumping to prevent horse falls.

The second combination came at Fence 10ab, both on an uphill slope close to the stands on the end of the arena, followed by the only fence at maximum height, the Lotto fence.

Then came the final line heading to the finish gate consisting of a 1.60m wide triple bar and the final double

“Many riders  will probably think that the double at 13ab is the bogey fence’ said Richard “But really it is Fence 12, as how the riders handle 12 will affect their set up for 13”


Find out what happened on the final day in the showjumping round at Burghley here

View all show jumping rounds on BurghleyTV here


 A related distance through Fences 4, 5 and 6 (above) ans the only maximum height fence, the Lotto fence (below)


        The Liverpool (above) and the second double at 10ab (below)


      The final line, Fence 12 and 13 heading towards home on an uphill slope