More than 70,000 spectators flocked to last weekend’s The Fidelity Blenheim International Horse Trials, making it one of the busiest in the event’s history.
Event Director Mandy Hervieu said she was not sure whether it was the weather, “the post Olympic ‘halo’ effect”, the fact that (with many earlier events cancelled) people missed their eventing ‘fix’, or the extra marketing of the event that had caused the spike.
“But we are delighted to have welcomed so many people – lots of old familiar faces and lots of new ones too. Everyone seemed to have a lovely time and we have once again been overwhelmed with masses of thank you letters, emails and card. It makes all the hard work worthwhile!” she said.
Spectators enjoyed four fantastic days of competition topped by William Fox Pitt winning the CCI*** on Seacookie, in his 50th three day event win.
Also on the card were the promising horses of the future in the 8 and 9 year old class (won by Andrew Nicholson on Quimbo), and some great displays and demonstrations and hundreds of amateur riders competing.
Riders were unanimous in their praise for the new course and improved ground work undertaken by course builders D.E.R.T and designed by Eric Winter. Many commented on how beautifully built it was and how it presented challenges every step of the way and was a true three star test.
“Not since the European Championships have we seen crowds like this,” exclaimed an excited volunteer who was stewarding the arena where a bareback show jumping class was taking place.
“It is great to be part of this and get to see the riders so close up. The public have been great and the organisers are really friendly and efficient, so my job is a breeze! I will definitely be volunteering to help at next year’s Blenheim”.