The Burghley Young Event Horse competition has been an integral part of Burghley Horse Trials for more than 25 years and is acknowledged as the shop window to view potential ‘four star’ horses at an early age.
Horses who have competed at previous Burghley Young Event Horse championships and have gone on to enjoy eventing careers at the highest level include Primmore’s Pride, Miners Frolic, Bay My Hero – the horse William Fox Pitt will compete at the European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle – Ceylor Lan, Fernhill Highlight, Redesigned and Chequers Playboy who competes in this year’s four star competition with Dee Hankey.
Open to four and five year olds, the aim of the series is to encourage breeders and trainers to produce and present the type of young horse which will be considered to be the best material to make a world class three day event horse. Horses are judged on Dressage, Jumping, Conformation and Type and Suitability and Potential with judges looking for an athletic, loose moving horse with a promising jumping technique and attitude which, with correct training and production, will develop physically and mentally into a strong three day eventer.
This year, young event horses battled it out at 19 qualifying venues across the country to book their place at the final, which will take place on Friday September 4.
Amongst the 47 entries who have qualified for the Five Year Old final is Monbeg Iguassa ridden by Sam Jennings, and owned by the Sundance Syndicate. The 16.2 Gelding qualified for the final at Hartpury. Sam says the series is about giving young horses the experience of big occasions.
She says: “Cass is exceptionally talented – one of the most talented young horses I have ever sat on. The aim of competing in the Burghley Young Event Horse classes was to give him some experience without having to run his legs off cross country. He’s competed at qualifiers at Rockingham, Houghton and Hartpury, where he qualified for the final. There will be an awful lot of atmosphere – lots of people watch it and spectators are very close. It’s one of the reasons we are going – to give him the experience of big an atmosphere without any pressure. I have no expectations of him at Burghley. He was a late foal, he’s going to be six months behind most of the other finalists – at Hartpury in the final ten I was looking at the other horses and they were much more developed than he is so it’s very much a building block for the future. It’s lovely for the owners that he has qualified – they are so excited. There’s not many times you own a horse that is at Burghley, whether it is in the Burghley Young Event Horse class or the four star event so it is very exciting for them.”
Somerset based event rider Jason Hobbs has qualified horses for both the four and five year old finals – both horses are owned by Denise Crossman and both qualifying for the finals at Chepstow Horse Trials in July.
In the four year old class he will ride Kilcarna Roy, a horse who was purchased from Goresbridge Go For Gold Sale in Ireland last year. The 16.1 Gelding has completed two British Eventing competitions this year, finishing 2nd and 8th collecting seven foundation points. The horse has also qualified for the KBIS British Eventing Young Event Horse Championships for Four Year olds.
In the five year old final, Jason will ride Sinterklaas, who was 8th in the Four Year Old final last year. The 16.2 gelding has an impressive British Eventing record already – finishing 4th in the 5 year Old class at Nunney International, winning at Bicton Arena in July and most recently collecting 7th at Homme House and 4th at West Wilts.
“For me, the Burghley Young Event Horse class is to give the horse a bit of exposure,” says Jason. “They are very limited to what you can do so it’s a nice class to give them some background and education. If they are going to go on to be event horses they have to be able to cope with the big occasions. The finals give them the exposure they need. Nothing can prepare the horses for what they are going to see. Sinterklaas obviously went last year and contained himself so he has been before. I took them to Berkeley Show to give them experience of a county show atmosphere to give them a pre-run. We’ve done everything we can to prepare them as best as possible. We’ll just see how they perform on the day.”
The series has been sponsored by leading country footwear and clothing brand Dubarry since 2009 and it was announced earlier this year that the brand would continue sponsoring the Burghley Young Event Horse series for a further three years. Michael Walsh, Marketing Director at Dubarry commented: “The Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse series is a much coveted prize to which owners and breeders equally aspire. From a Dubarry perspective it is really about putting something back into eventing and rewarding those at the coalface, often the unsung heroes of the sport.”
Eventing Worldwide will be bringing readers live coverage of the Burghley Young Event Horse finals. Keep up to date with the latest news online, on Twitter and Facebook.