Many of the world’s top riders travelled to West Norfolk to compete at Burnham Market international horse trials over the Easter break.
Olympic medallists and championship winners lined up against future team and title contenders, and a number of local hopefuls, for an early season outing in the near-perfect conditions that the Burnham site always provides.
Around 1000 horse and rider combinations took part on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, tackling the dressage, show jumping and cross-country phases of the competition.
It was a chance to see the cream of international competitors, including representatives from New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Ireland, as well as the big names from the UK.
Among the entries were British team stalwarts William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Pippa Funnell, Tina Cook and Nicola Wilson. Norfolk girl Piggy French, a past European individual silver medallist, was also due to be competing, alongside 2013 British senior debutants Izzy Taylor and Tom McEwen.
Multiple Olympic gold medal winners Sir Mark Todd and Andrew Hoy, alongside Four Star event winners Oliver Townend and Paul Tapner, had also added their names to the starting list along with the reigning World Number One Andrew Nicholson.
Some of them were out on horses which they hope will be their stars for the future and a number were treating the popular Norfolk event as a warm up for Badminton horse trials in Gloucestershire, the most famous three-day event in the world which takes place in three weeks’ time.
One big name missing this time was Burnham regular Zara Phillips, The Queen’s granddaughter has just resumed competition after giving birth to baby Mia earlier this year and there is speculation she might travel to West Norfolk for the Houghton Hall event in the summer.
As well as the equestrian action, the horse trials was a popular family day out with trade stands, children’s entertainment, circus workshops and an Easter egg hunt. It was also a fundraiser for the Big C cancer charity in Norfolk and Waveney which will also be supported at the international horse trials being staged by the same organising team at Houghton Hall at the end of May.