Event in the North East reveals new organisers
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Latest British Eventing News Headlines

05 Dec 10

Event in the North East reveals new organisers

EW Sporting Press Release


Two North-East business leaders who have taken over the running of a new equestrian event in the region today revealed the team which they believe will create an international annual fixture.The inaugural Burgham Horse Festival, held in July by Northumberland County Council, attracted big name competitors including the event’s showcase Grand Prix competition winner Ellen Whitaker, national TV coverage and 4,000 spectators.

Prominent regional businessmen Sunil Mehra and Semore Kurdi, whose sporting interests in the region also include Newcastle Falcons RUFC and an equestrian centre, recognised the event’s potential and agreed with the authority to take over its management.

They have relaunched the event as the Burgham Horse Trials, which will take place on July 22, 23 and 24 next year at Burgham Park, five miles north of Morpeth in Northumberland.

Burgham Horse Trials will feature a new format for 2011, but will retain the top level Show jumping it was praised for last year. Paul White, National Secretary of the British Eventing Organisers’ Association and Organiser of Skipton Horse Trials in North Yorkshire, has been appointed as the Event Director and at a launch event in Northumberland he spoke of plans for next year.

He said: “We’ve spent the last two months putting together an incredibly knowledgeable team in terms of the equestrian competition with vast expertise to deliver the event, with team members from all over the UK. We’re determined to make this the premier equine competition in the North and have the best people in place to achieve that.”

The Burgham event has huge support across all segments of the equestrian industry and is set to have the highest spectatorship of all equestrian events in the North-East. The organising team is designing the event with the help and input from professional riders to ensure that it both attracts and meets the needs of competitors.

Paul added: “Aside from striving to be the best event in the North with second to none input on course design and competition format, we will also ensure that it attracts and meets the needs of riders with a good
fun atmosphere. That’s an absolute priority and why we have ensured a huge amount of consultation and input from professional riders including Lindsay Aspden, Ben Hobday, James Sommerville, Jolyse Clancey and Martyn Johnson, who are all part of the organising team.

“We will provide the ‘big event’ feel for all competitors, with onsite stabling, hospitality and plenty of evening entertainment. We hope that riders will come and spend the whole weekend with us and have the best weekend that the sport can offer.”

Fans of Burgham 2010 will be glad to see that top level Show jumping including the Grand Prix will again be on the menu, this year fronted by international course designer Mark McGowan. Last year the £12,000 prize fund Grand Prix screened on Sky Sports was won by Ellen Whitaker, who competed against family members Robert, Louise, John and Michael as well as Geoff Billington and Tim Stockdale.

The prize fund is set to remain at the same levels for the 2011 event.

Iain Graham, Chief Executive of British Showjumping, said: “We are delighted to see Burgham running in 2011 with the incorporation of Eventing and Showing alongside the Show jumping. It’s great to see the event building on the success of last year, when Burgham played host to many of our top riders. This competition is proving to be a showcase for equestrian sport in Northumberland."

Another major feature of the competition will be Eventing. The Cross Country course, already in the build stage, is being created by international course builder Douglas Weymouth. He said: “Burgham has really open and undulating pastures which are ideal for a true galloping track, offering competitors a really flowing and educational course. It will be built to the highest standards by my team, and it is so accessible for everyone too.”

There will be BE90, BE100 and Novice level courses for 2011. Frances Hay-Smith, British Eventing’s Regional Co-ordinator for Scotland and the North, said: “British Eventing is very pleased to have this event in Northumberland, a county with such a wealth of horse knowledge and experience. We are particularly thrilled to have such an exciting venue with tremendous potential and to be working with a team so enthusiastic and ambitious.”

In addition, Burgham will host the Burghley Dubarry Young Event Horse qualifiers, and last year’s winner of the Four Year Old final at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Ben Hobday, is part of the organizing team.

Other attractions will include a Stallion Parade, and the event also promises a larger shopping village and many more main arena attractions over the whole weekend.

Paul White hinted that there are still some big announcements to be made: “We’re looking at a Showjumpers vs Eventers competition for the Saturday evening, where the professionals can battle it out against each other. There’ll also be confirmation of a radical new element in the New Year, which I can safely say, is something that’s never been seen in the North of England before.”

A new event website can be found at www.burghamhorsetrials.co.uk which will soon include full event and competitor information, online booking facilities and an equine discussion forum.