The support of Capt. Mark Phillips (Horse and Hound Jan 24th ) has been gratefully received by the two men responsible for turning the existing CIC** at Burnham Market International Horse Trials into an advanced course in a matter of weeks!
Alec and Hugh Lochore are busy upgrading the existing course, thanks to the fact that they have stepped into the breach left by the cancellation of Ston Easton, to put on what will probably be the first advanced event of the year for many on March 29th.
Event Director, Alec Lochore also agrees with Capt. Phillips that sponsorship is vital, and hopes that the sports governing body, British Eventing will help with the location of interested sponsors. "Without sponsorship eventing cannot survive," he said. "Organisers not only have to build the course and prepare for the onslaught of cars, horse boxes, spectators and so forth, they have to ensure prize money for each section, whilst the administrative costs escalate all the time."
"We are lucky that we have excellent drainage, which after all the rain this year is a complete boon," said Alec. "It must be heartbreaking if, after all the hard work, you don't get a run at the end of the day. To date, at least, we have been relatively unaffected by the weather and our going is ideal."
Alec is currently undertaking his most ambitious project. He is endeavoring to find the type of sponsorship deal which will ensure that Burnham Market becomes the premier pre-Badminton event. A totally new Advanced course is to be built, for next year's event, and sponsorship is required to make this a viable proposition.
"It's not just the actual construction of the course," explains Alec. "You have to look to sponsors for prize money and administrative costs. In today's world you have to be realistic - and organising an event of this stature is no mean feat, it takes time, money and commitment."
"However, we have wonderful corporate hospitality facilities and the viewing is excellent, so you don't have to walk the whole cross country course to see the action, so we hope that people will see the advantages of sponsorship!"
The prospect of excellent going will draw the top event riders in the business to Burnham Market, and Alec has already instigated his own marketing campaign designed to pull in more spectators, sponsors, corporate hospitality and trade stands.
"We are really going for it," said Alec. "Hopefully, we will manage to attract a significant amount of support, not just from companies who already support eventing, but people who are looking for new avenues. Burnham Market is on the map and here to stay!"