Record crowds at EQ Life Burnham Market Horse Trials

Matthew Glentworth on Ultimatt at the Burnham Market Horse Trials. Picture: MATTHEW USHER.

Matthew Glentworth on Ultimatt at the Burnham Market Horse Trials. Picture: MATTHEW USHER. - Credit: Matthew Usher

The 2014 EQ Life Burnham Market International Horse Trials attracted record crowds at the weekend, with gate numbers up over 15pc on previous years.

Not only did visitors enjoy top level sport, with riders from 22 nations battling it out on the wide open cross-country course, but there was also a range of trade stands, children's entertainment, dog agility – even the sun made an appearance.

'It was great to see so many people both watching the action and shopping in the tradestands,' said event organiser Alec Lochore. 'Several competitors remarked to me how much they enjoyed riding in front of such enthusiastic spectators.'

Oliver Townend won both of the big CIC*** classes, one of them on Armada, his ride at Badminton Horse Trials in two weeks' time.

'I always enjoy Burnham Market,' said Oliver. 'It's a perfect event to set the horses up for the rest of the season. It also seems to be a lucky event for me, which makes it even more enjoyable.' Oliver has now won the three-star at Burnham Market an impressive seven times.

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Also on form was Suffolk-based New Zealand rider and EQ Life cover star Caroline Powell, who rode nine horses across six classes. Eleven-year-old Macamore took a solid third place in the OI class, with an unlucky four faults in the showjumping ultimately costing him the win.

'He's a big horse who has just started to come into himself so he did a really nice dressage test. It was a big show jumping track and he seemed to quite like the cross-country course,' said Caroline. This big strapping horse is owned by Jane Mackinnon.

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Caroline also took some newer rides to Burnham Market and managed a one-two in BE100 section E with Halycon Sparkey and Coumroe Patch. This was only the horse's second event, the first was Great Witchingham a few weeks ago.

With Badminton Horse Trials coming up fast, some riders found the Norfolk ground just a little too hard to risk running their top horses. Pippa Funnell withdrew all but one horse after the showjumping, despite leading the CIC*** with Billy Beware after a personal best dressage and clear showjumping. Pippa took the inexperienced Billy the Biz around the CIC** with a stylish and steady double clear then made the 'head scratching decision not to risk the others because of the hard ground.'

Full equestrian round-up in Thursday's EDP

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