Burghley’s Masterclasses: Who’s on the 2024 agenda?

Defender Burghley's Masterclass - Carl Hester

Defender Burghley’s Masterclasses will welcome some the sport’s most familiar faces in 2024, with Dressage Maestro Carl Hester (feature image) and Eventing superstar William Fox-Pitt heading the events most star-studded line-up to date.

Taking place alongside the CCI5* competition on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th September, the masterclasses will focus on a selection of the industry’s hot topics including re-educating racehorses and tips on how to prepare for an event at this (Burgley’s) level. Hickstead’s latest record breaking rider, William Funnell is set to help close the affair, with wife Pippa in a showjumping masterpiece you won’t want to miss.

William Funnell and his wife Pippa Funnell
William and Pippa Funnell masterclass will take place on Friday, 6th September 2024.

While dressage maestro Carl Hester, who is expected to be competing at his seventh Olympics in August, returns to Burghley to present his extremely popular Masterclass, this year titled Groom to Grand Prix, during the lunchtime break from the CCI5* action on Friday (6 September), we also welcome three fantastic new demonstrations from William and Pippa Funnell, William and Alice Fox-Pitt and Henrietta Knight.

Triple Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Henrietta Knight will present a Masterclass on Re-educating the Racehorse during the lunchtime break on Thursday, 5 September. She will work with four riders who have retrained their ex-racehorses to achieve success in other disciplines: Katie Dashwood (Minella Rebellion), Amanda Brieditis (Kilmarnock Lad), Sarah Pinfield (Kings Bridge) and Lizzie Harris (Glen Forsa).

After the CCI5* dressage has concluded for the day on Thursday, William Fox-Pitt and his wife Alice will take the stage. William, who has recently retired from top-level eventing, has a record 14 CCI5* wins to his credit, including an astonishing six at Defender Burghley. ITV Racing presenter Alice Fox-Pitt is the only woman to have completed both Mars Badminton Horse Trials and the Grand National course at Aintree. Their Masterclass is titled Preparing for Burghley.

William Fox-Pitt competing at Burghley on the cross-country course
William Fox-Pitt and wife, Alice’s masterclass will take place on Thursday 5th September.

And in what is sure to be a highly entertaining climax to Burghley’s host of Masterclasses, the illustrious husband-and-wife team of showjumper William and eventer Pippa Funnell – herself a dual Burghley winner – will present Showjumping – working in harmony! after dressage finishes on Friday afternoon.

To add to the weekend’s fun, and to provide a little light relief from the thrill and the tension of the CCI5* sport, the Shetland Pony Grand National will take place in the main arena before cross-country on Saturday, 7 September and before the final session of CCI5* showjumping on Sunday, 8 September.

Defender Burghley is the established highlight of the summer social season. As well as top-class sport featuring both the most famous horses and riders in the world and up-and-coming stars, in the beautiful and historic setting of Burghley Park, the event offers superb shopping opportunities, delicious food and drink, elegant hospitality options and lots to entertain children and less-horsey members of the family.

To find out more about Defender Burghley (5-8 September 2024) and to purchase tickets and hospitality, visit the Burghley-Horse website.

Image credits DBHT/Peter Nixon (Carl Hester and William Fox-Pitt) and Honeybunn Photography(William and Pippa Funnell).

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