Burghley Horse Trials is one of the biggest International Horse Trials in the World and it is widely regarded as one of the best. Considered by many as Eventing’s greatest challenge, it is the pinnacle of any Event rider’s career. Certainly from my perspective this is definitely the case. Set in the stunning grounds of Burghley Park in Stamford Lincolnshire, these Horse Trials draw some of the biggest names in International Eventing and this year promises to be no different, with a whole host of Rio Olympians entered for the 3 day 4* event. I have been going to Burghley on Cross-Country day (Saturday) every year for as many years as I can remember to watch my idols out on course. As an amateur Eventer with a passion for cross-country, it is the ultimate day out, but don’t worry if you are not into eventing or horse-riding at all for that matter – Burghley is still a great day out (ask my long-suffering other half who is testament to this!). Perfect for those who love any type of country pursuit, enjoy walking (the cross-country course is 31 fences long over a gruelling 4(ish) mile track), or even just drinking, eating and shopping (the shopping is to die for – make sure you bring your purse!!). So with a reputation like this, it’s easy to see why Burghley draws vast crowds every year. With so many people flocking to the event and so much to see, I have picked out my top tips to make sure that you stand out from the crowd this year. I have also provided a list of my top stands to visit – with so much to see, it’s easy to miss an awful lot too!
What to wear?
Well this really does depend on the weather, which at the moment looks to be dry and around 18-21oC – perfect for walking around all day. Regardless of the weather though, there are some staple pieces that I would always choose to wear which I have detailed below.
This isn’t technically one ‘piece’ and is from a more practical perspective but layers are the key to a good outfit at any Horse Trials. If you go in a big thick jumper and/or coat, you are bound to get warm walking around and then end up wishing you’d worn something else. I am planning on wearing one of these outfits, depending on how the weather is on the day. Whichever I pick, you can see that layering is key here. I think the success of a Burghley outfit hinges on ensuring that each layer works alone, don’t just judge your outfit on the top layer alone – because its more than likely you’ll end up taking this off.
Both outfit options have the same starting point but I think the top one is more country casual and the bottom is country style – either way I love both! I have too mention my Schoffel gilet here, it is a country wardrobe staple and it is certainly not the thing to wear if you want to stand out from the crowd! But there is a reason why they’re so popular – perfect for layering, warm enough to wear with just a shirt and effortlessly stylish. I also have to share my love for the newest addition to my shirt collection, this one is from Joules. I love the attention to detail here – the pheasant and fox print is quintessential British countryside, whilst the half button top allows a more flattering fit than a standard shirt – these will definitely be flying off the shelves soon!
My second outfit choice is more country glam, but is still practical enough for a whole day out on course. I’ve already spoken of my love for the Holland Cooper sporting blazer (see Bank Holiday Style), it’s fantastic value for the quality of the product and it just elevates an ordinary outfit to something truely elegant. This jacket will definitely ensure you stand out from the crowd! Another thing I really love about this outfit is the Silk Scarf, from Caldene. I’ve had this scarf for a while now but haven’t found the right outfit to really showcase just how beautiful it is – until now. The vintage horse print design is understated enough to remain completely timeless and the muted colour palette just reinforces how classy this product is. Another great thing – it is actually scarf length, rather than a pocket square shape like so many other silk scarves, meaning it is perfect for any outfit. The scarf is amazing value for money – it’s one of the most stunning accessories I have and is actually one of the more affordable items. I love the new clothing range Caldene have brought out, mixing practicality with style but most importantly, quality.
- A decent pair of Boots
Totally essential, if you are walking miles and miles off-road over typical country terrain following horses and lugging heavy shopping bags, you really need a good pair of boots that can stand up to the challenge. There’s no point looking super stylish but not actually being able to walk anywhere because you’re feet ache – then you just look silly. For those of you who are regular A Girl About Country readers, I think you know what I’m going to say…but I honestly can’t recommend them enough. I will be opting to wear my Fairfax & Favor Imperial Explorers, which have featured in many of my previous posts. They are fully waterproof (in case the weather is not as predicted or you want a paddle in one of the water jumps), leather lined and have a tough Goodyear outer sole which makes them the ideal candidate for country pursuits. The explorers first featured on my Shooting Style post and I have lived in them since. They are crafted from venison leather and include all of the elegant traits of its Regina sister (including an exquisite scalloped edge, iconic leather zip tassel and flattering tailored fit) but combine practicality with style. They are certainly an investment piece but for the amount of wear that you will get out of them, they are definitely worth it.
They’re not for everyone but I love a hat. I think it adds a certain something to an outfit and can elevate an everyday outfit to something much more special. It also means that if the weather is windy or rainy (or both!) you don’t have to worry about having a bad hair day. I think that the Mackenzie & George Fedoras are the perfect pick for this kind of occasion. They come in a number of different colours, so you will definitely find something to compliment your outfit. I looked for a decent Fedora for quite some time before I came across the M&G ones last year, they seem to be the only ones that fit me really well. I also love the feather pins that come with the hat which are all handmade and again come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. Look out for the new pins that will be on show at Burghley this weekend – not ones to be missed!
As you can see, I couldn’t decide on which colour to go for – so true to A Girl About Country form, I have two!
I really think that accessories help to add that little bit extra to you horse trials outfit. Although the staple items that you have to wear for practical reasons (boots, coats, layers) can be standout pieces, you can really go anywhere with accessories without hindering the outfit’s usefulness. Two main things I want to mention here are bags and jewelry.
There have been so many times where I have taken a lovely big bag because it’s matched my outfit perfectly, but then got to Fence 5 and wanted to abandon it. Not at all practical for walking around all day – my advice is to take the smallest bag you can and take only the essentials so that you don’t get weighed down. I will be taking my Windsor Clutch from Mackenzie & George for these very reasons. You may be thinking a clutch bag is more suited to an evening out, you couldn’t be more wrong – a clutch bag is ultra-light and it’s small so it forces you to only take what you need. I’m not just picking the Windsor for its size though, the design really is unique and perfect for an equestrian inspired day out, you can even choose to personalise your clutch so there will be no worries about misplacing it. Most of all though, I love the wrist strap which is the best part of the bag for a day like Burghley. You can carry it around on your wrist as a normal clutch bag or attach it to the belt loop of your jeans for a hands free alternative whilst course walking.
It’s all about the accessories, and these equestrian inspired accessories are perfect for adding a touch of country glamour to your Burghley outfit
When it comes to jewelry for a day out at the Horse Trials, there really is only one choice to go for – Hiho Silver. I’ve previously spoken about my love of the Cherry Roller Snaffle bangle, it’s something that I wear every day and it’s so different that you are sure to turn a few heads wearing it. For a real standout look, try pairing the bangle with the matching chain necklace (this is definitely next on my list!). I also want to emphasise here that Hiho is a really important stand to visit and if you are going to buy one thing from the event, make sure its something to support Hannah Francis’ Wilberry Wonder Pony charity. Hannah sadly lost her fight to cancer earlier this summer but her spirit is still alive in the charity and by buying one Hiho item you are not only getting something beautiful for yourself but you are also helping to “kick cancer’s butt” – everyone’s a winner. I love the Willberry Wonder Pony charm which can be attached to the gorgeous Pantone Colour of the Year beaded bracelets (which are made at Hiho HQ in Somerset by hand!). Also look out for the exclusive Thelwell charms which can also be attached to these bracelets. I, as I am sure did every other horse loving child, loved Thelwell when I was younger and so this is a more grown up way to indulge in some equestrian nostalgia.
How cute are these Thelwell charms from Hiho? The perfect addition to any charm bracelet
Will you be there?
Are you heading to Burghley this weekend? I’d love to hear from you and see what outfit choices you went for! Whatever you choose, one thing is certain – you will have a fabulous day out! X