The 12 horse trials you shouldn’t miss

By Carole Mortimer on |

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Badminton Horse Trials
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Impressive locations and top class sport come together to provide great days out for the eventing enthusiast

Burgham International, Northumberland, March 25-27

England’s most northerly horse trial, kicks off the international season and runs the first CIC 2&3* of the year. Burgham is situated in the heart of Northumberland in an area of outstanding beauty and attracts more and more riders every year.

Burnham Market International, Norfolk, April 1-3

One to consider for the Easter holidays. Burnham Market, which runs classes up to CIC3*, is situated short distance from the east coast seaside towns of Hunstanton and Wells-next-the-Sea.

Belton Park International, Lincolnshire, April 15-17

Held in the grounds of the National Trust property of Belton House, Belton CIC3* is the final Badminton prep for many combinations. As well as top class eventing, the event hosts many spectator attractions such as dog agility, a classic car show and stallion parade and has more than 100 shopping and food trade stands.

Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, Gloucestershire, May 4-8

Who doesn’t want to go to Badminton, the Duke of Beaufort’s home of horse trials, and the one every event rider wants to win? Book tickets now to ensure seats to watch the world’s best riders fight it out in the final day’s showjumping — always a cliff-hanger — and reserve your space for the tent or caravan.

Chatsworth International, Derbyshire, May 14-15

Set in the fabulous surroundings of Chatsworth House, this fantastic event offers much more than just horses as the Duke of Devonshire’s famous house, garden, farmyard and adventure playground are open as usual during the three days of competition.

Bramham International, West Yorkshire, June 9-12

Yorkshire’s leading event and horsey social, hosted by the Lane Fox family at Bramham Park, is just a stone’s throw off the AI. Ian Stark’s challenging cross country course attracts all the top riders for the CCI3* and decides who will be the year’s Under-25 champion.

Hopetoun International, West Lothian, June 17-19

Two miles from the Forth Road Bridge and eight miles from Edinburgh, this event, which runs international novice, intermediate and advanced classes, is set against the backdrop of Hopetoun House, a magnificent 17th-century stately home.

Barbury International, Wiltshire, July 7-10

If you want to watch cross country without too much effort then Barbury, which runs international CIC 2&3*, is the place to go. Such is the terrain of the Marlborough Downs that the whole course can be seen from one place. It has also become a must-go event for riders.

Blair Castle, Perthshire, Aug 25-28

Last year’s successful European Championships and stunning location on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park put this Highland venue well and truly on the map. It might be the longest drive ever to a horse trials but the scenery alone makes the journey worthwhile.

The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Lincolnshire, Sep 1-4

Capability Brown’s park at Burghley, with the backdrop of the famous house, is arguably the best setting of all horse trials. It is not for nothing that this four-star international has been awarded L’Annee Hippique’s ‘best event’ award a record seven times. A major East of England social, it has shopping to die for, courtesy of more than 600 trade stands.

Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, Oxfordshire, Sep 8-11

Hot on the heels of Burghley, Blenheim Palace, the home of the Duke of Marlborough, provides another superb location and Capability Brown park to enjoy. The CCI3* attracts major international competition and the event runs a CIC3* for 8/9 year-old horses, which is proving to be a real equine talent spotting competition for future four-star horses.

Osberton International, Nottinghamshire, Sep 29-Oct 2

The Nottinghamshire event attracts and accommodates whopping numbers of riders for the CCI 1 & 2* three-days and is the host for the BE KBIS Young Horse Championships for four, five, six and seven-year-old horses.

Image: a past edition of the Badminton horse Trials, by Adam Blake via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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