While more used to welcoming equine athletes, this year a team of top agility dogs (and Jack Russell William) were invited to tackle Land Rover Burghley’s daunting Cross Country course designed by Captain Mark Phillips, where fences are up to two metres wide and 1.40 metres high.
Labradors Pumba, Nala and Keepa, Border Collies Laddie and Wispa, along with German Shepherd Tilda and cheeky Jack Russell cross William, made light work of it as they tackled logs, gates, brush fences and even plunged into Burghley’s famous lake.
Dog trainer Ellena Swift said: “When we were invited to come and try out the Land Rover Burghley Cross Country course I didn’t know what to expect, but the dogs were phenomenal; I am so proud of them. In real life the Collies work as sheep dogs, while my Labradors compete in field trial events, Narla the German Shepherd is a therapy dog and William, who is owned by Debbie Lee, is a much loved pet.
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Event Director Elizabeth Inman added: “The Land Rover Burghley Cross Country course is a demanding challenge for the world’s best horse and rider combinations, so the 6500 metres of undulating track and 34 obstacles was quite a feat for the dogs as well. The agility, speed and determination of the dogs was astounding and they all seemed to enjoy themselves hugely. Little William the Jack Russell cross was a huge favourite, his plucky determination to keep up with the ‘big boys’ knew no bounds… even if a few sneaky detours were required.”
Land Rover Burghley will open its gates on 31st August – 3rd September for visitors to enjoy not only the adrenaline pumping sport, but also the 600 handpicked tradestands and thriving Food Walk. To view the canine capers, visit the official Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Facebook page!