Like an annual pilgrimage that signals the start of our main annual holiday, we headed off from our little house in south lincolnshire this morning towards the lovely town of Stamford and the gorgeousness of Burghley House to enjoy the spectacle that is the annual horse trials.
The setting is fantastic and the course is vast. There are long stretches, woodland and water, undulations and some very tricky jumps.
The riders walk the course to familiarise themselves with the intricacies and dangers lurking therein but not even that can possibly prepare you for how some of these terrifying jumps must look from on top of a 17 hander.
You just have to look at the expression on the face of the jockey above as he grazes the top of the jump that takes you into the ‘leaf pit’.
The variety is huge whether it is jockey, horse, obstacle or the level of success over each jump.
We succumbed to the shopping temptations early on like most visitors but only for a very short while. This year, after a nice frothy coffee, we hooked up with old friends for a catch up before we found ourselves a good spot on the opposite bank to the land rover jump. We got perched on a rug with a picnic, waited for the whistle to announce the next jockey and watched a steady stream of horses take off over a land lover shaped brush jump. A favourite spot for lots of watchers.
There are some lovely traditions at burghley such as the bowler hatted stewards and the ever changing ‘look’ for the trendies. This year’s happened to be short denim skirts, Rampant Rugby long socks, Hunter wellies, a Crew shirt and a Jack Wills gillet (no matter how hot it was!).
It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon, especially with a nice glass of chilled rose. Next year I think we will plump for the water jump as our picnic perch!