Dozens of world-class riders are entered for the Chatsworth Horse Trials next month, a World Cup event and one of the last major competitions before the Olympics.
Set in the Chatsworth Park on the weekend of May 12 and 13, the event is proving a popular choice for Olympic hopefuls as it provides excellent preparation for the terrain of Greenwich Park.
Horse Trials director Tissie Reason said: “I doubt there’s a better opportunity to see so much Olympic class at close quarters. It’s a great opportunity to get caught up in the excitement as we build up to the Olympics, with the chance to see horses and riders that could be picking up medals in a few weeks time.”
Last year’s CIC3* World Cup round winner Emily Baldwin will be back with Drivetime to defend her title.
Top riders from Sweden, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy, Jamaica and Brazil will also take on the 23 jumps of the 4000m course, chasing the dream of Olympic selection for their country. Almost 600 riders are competing including British contenders Tina Cook, Mary King, Zara Phillips, William Fox-Pitt, Piggy French, Ruth Edge and Lucy Wiegersma. New Zealanders Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson, and Australia’s starters include Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks and Andrew Hoy.
Olympic medalist and course designer Ian Stark said: “This year’s course is being reversed in direction to give a more gentle introduction. It also means the horses will only have to climb the main hill once. It’s important that the horses have a confidence-building run in preparation for London so the tougher combinations have been softened a little, although it is still very much a World Cup Class!”
Burghley and Kentucky Horse Trials winner William Fox-Pitt, who will be bringing his horses Lionheart and Oslo to compete, said: “I have always enjoyed riding at Chatsworth and it will be exciting to see how the new course rides. It’s a welcome change in this Olympic year.”
Chatsworth Horse Trials is also the only UK round of the FEI World Cup Eventing. Chatsworth is the first competition in this year’s series of five international competitions.
At Chatsworth, visitors will also be able to see the stars of tomorrow in the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifiers on Friday. The main weekend days also provide lots of fun for all the family with entertainment including the Pony Club mounted games, ferret racing, John Halsted and the Duchess of Devonshire’s own gundogs, dressage demonstrations, maypole dancing, face painting and children’s rides.
More information: www.chatsworth.org/horsetrials