Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials 2010
2010 heralds the 20th anniversary of the International Horse Trials at Blenheim Palace.
A favourite among competitors from the off - for the chance to compete in such a fabulous parkland setting as well as enjoy drinks at the Palace itself – the event continues to attract international equine stars and their owners and riders.
In turn, scores of equestrian enthusiasts flock from across the globe to the formidable iron gates to watch the riders compete in the three phases – the inspiring dressage phase, stomach-turning cross-country and tense, result-decider, the show jumping phase.
While staying in the charming village of Woodstock or its Oxfordshire environs is an option, hard core enthusiasts can camp or caravan on site to get up close to the action.
Others are known to have stayed in their horseboxes, replacing their camp-beds with purchases from the event as the shopping village at Blenheim Palace provides plenty of opportunity to exercise the credit card with clothing and crafts and all manner of country pursuits and interests represented.
Picnic areas, fast food outlets and silver-silver service hospitality suites are also available and there’s also a dedicated food hall where visitors can sample fabulous speciality produce from home-cured hams to fine wines.
As a family day out too there’s plenty to see and do.
Vintage cars, a fire engine and a helicopter are on site, plus there’s the chance to have a go at fencing with the British Fencing Team.
Returning to the equestrian theme and there’s the opportunity to meet mules in the attractions area, while, ‘A bit on the side’ – four ladies, riding and jumping side-saddle will be performing, as will three Andalusian ‘stunt’ stallions who look set to get everyone on the edge of their seats.
And, showcasing horsemanship of yesteryear, Kevin Merry is to offer a carriage driving demonstration and the traditional Parade of Hounds always attracts attention.
In terms of creativity, eight tonnes of sand is to be crafted into an equine sculpture and, ‘The Wicker Man’ will also be on site – the 36foot tall structure being a beacon of hope for the event’s nominated charity ‘ROSY’ – as it hopes to help raise awareness for the respite nursing needs of Oxfordshire’s sick children.
The Anthony Nolan Trust will also be at the event as it holds its annual fun run on the Sunday over the course after the horses have finished their challenge.
Having come to the twilight of their international careers, three of the world’s most admired veteran event horses, Master Monarch, Shear H2O and Over To You (7th at Blenheim in 1997 before becoming a multiple medal winner for Britain in European and World Championships, plus Sydney and Athens Olympics) will make an appearance.
While these elite athletes can make it look easy, the event offers the opportunity for all to be educated into what it takes to ride at the event and this year Britain’s National Horse Trials Champion, Ruth Edge will ride in front of the crowds for a ‘From the Dressage Judge’s Perspective’ demonstration to give all a greater understanding of what makes a winning test.
Pure dressage supremo, Carl Hester, is also to offer a demonstration and there’s to be an exciting High Jump class run in the main arena too.
Guided or driven course walks are also available to enable you to see the course from both the horse’s eyes and the rider’s view, to understand the challenge set by leading designer, Eric Winter.
During the event there will also be an opportunity to watch some of Britain’s squad members set to head to America for the World Equestrian Games, in action.
Turn up at 5pm or later on Friday 10th September, hand over a £5 donation on the gate to the Horse Trials Support Group and it will be possible to watch our British riders receiving training for the dressage – you’ll likely learn some top tips yourself.
As well as offering the chance to see the World’s finest CCI*** horses and riders in action the event is also hosting the British National Championships for 8 and 9 year old horses – could you spot a potential London 2012 medalist from this class?
Giving locals a starring role, British Eventing members who compete over 1m courses will also, subject to qualification, ride at the venue in a special challenge over show jumping and cross-country fences.
A similar team challenge is also underway for Pony Club and Riding Club teams – something that has proved so popular that it was oversubscribed within days of entries opening.
But of course, all eyes will be on the main CCI*** event.
Who will lift the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials Trophy, to be presented by the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough on Sunday 12th September.
Marking a significant achievement in the event rider’s career the celebrations then begin and such is the camaraderie of the sport of eventing ensures every spectator will leave the event enthused.
Advanced discounted price tickets for the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials and all further information is available at www.blenheim-horse.co.uk
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