Burghley Horse Trials Craft CMS Website


Improving user experience and making strides with bespoke, customer focussed digital design.


Defender Burghley Horse Trials



BHT Image 1 Mobile


The Fédération Equestre Internationale classifies the Defender Burghley Horse Trials as one of the seven leading three-day events in the world.

An annual three-day event held at Burghley House in Stamford, the Defender Burghley Horse Trials is a comprehensive test of the all-around ability of horse and rider, competing in Dressage, Cross Country and Jumping.

After the Burghley Estate team appointed us as their digital partner as we adopted their existing Craft CMS website for the House, Burghley Horse also asked us to improve the Trials website in line with a more intuitive user experience and contemporary look and feel.


Similarly to Burghley Estate, we worked alongside Burghley’s incumbent to adopt the existing Craft 3 website. This ensures we can stabilise the website’s environment, fix bugs, and create strong foundations to migrate onto Craft 4, optimise performance, and prepare the site structure for rearchitecture and redesigning the navigation system and homepage.

BHT Grid Template 6


User experience has been key for Burghley and making sure the website is more user-friendly and accessible, as information was often difficult for users to find. We rearchitected the navigational structure, ensuring a more intuitive user journey and allowing users to navigate content easily to improve dwell time. We introduced a ‘quick links’ bar alongside the navigation to support returning users for fast, intuitive access to tickets, gift vouchers and Burghley TV.

BHT Grid Template 9


The website needed to feel like a seamless experience, from initial interaction online to attending the Defender Burghley Horse Trials. The design needed to build excitement, promote the event, demonstrate the lifestyle and modernise the look and feel of the page templates.

We elevated the brand for the digital space, adding elegance and a more contemporary style that mirrors the position of the event and the visitors who attend it. From updating the colour palette, typography, arrow styling and component design of the homepage, every touch point is informative whilst offering surprise and delight.

As the website will be redesigned in phases, we created a digital brand and UI kit to sweep over the templates, not in the initial design phase of the homepage and navigation. This ensures the website feels connected and consistent in aesthetics as we progress through templates to bring them up to the same level of design, experience and accessibility.

BHT Grid Template 2
BHT Grid Template 3


To add to the new homepage design's experiential feel, we introduced a LottieFile on the first load, which allows us to create animations with very little page weight. This adds to the surprise and delight when visiting the Defender Burghley Horse Trials website for the first time.


After the initial stabilisation and update of the site, development encompassed making the website more intuitive in the backend, so relationships worked more effectively across content to bolster internal linking for better user experience and SEO.

On the website’s front end, we introduced the same level of polish as the design, with subtle animations, hover effects, and lazy load content for users' delight and to optimise search and experience performance. The digital brand kit was rolled out across all templates in preparation for further design and development as we begin the next design and development phase.

Abstrakt exceeded our expectations in every way! The team understood our website needs and complemented our vision perfectly. Right from the very beginning, they handle every phase, from the site adoption, design, and development, with the utmost professionalism and with a very tight deadline to beat!

It is so refreshing to be working with such an approachable, proactive and immensely talented team. We are thrilled to continue working together into Phase 2 and some exciting add-on developments to support our International Sporting Event this summer.

Georgia Papworth — Digital Manager, Defender Burghley Horse Trials

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