Ireland’s Camphire International Horse Trials and Country Fair is best-known for its three-star eventing competition, but this year is running other international and national classes to allow developing combinations a chance to compete at a top venue.
Camphire, which starts late next week, is one of Ireland’s premiere horse trials, and draws entries from all over the world.
Top billing goes to the Castleacre Insurance Brokers and Chubb Insurance CIC***, with riders competing around the historic Camphire House on the banks of the Blackwater River in County Waterford.
This year, Camphire has a bumper 300 horses entered across the seven international classes, and more than 45 horses for the feature CIC*** class.
Due to the large number of entries, an extra day of dressage has been added with the first horses doing their tests on Thursday morning. There will be two days of cross country action (Saturday and Sunday) with the three-star riders going cross country on Sunday afternoon, July 27.
All classes have a strong overseas entry with riders from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Qatar, Hong Kong, Sweden, Italy and America, as well as the large home entry.
The Great Britain Under 18 Development Squad will have their first overseas experience at Camphire this year.
Top-level riders entered include Tina Cooke from Great Britain, who has won several Olympic medals and has also been European champion. Her father was the famous racehorse trainer Gosh Gifford who bought many Irish bred horses for national hunt racing in England.
Lucinda Fredericks from Australia was originally British but married an Australian and changed nationality to ride for Australia. She has won three of the world’s six four-star events, and is also an Olympic medalist.
Lucy Wiegersma, from Great Britain, is currently ranked third in the world. She is the only British rider to have won all three national eventing titles – Junior in 1995, Young Rider in 1998 and Senior in 2006.
Most of the top Irish riders are entered including Claire Abbot who will ride her horse Euro Prince who has been selected to represent Ireland at the world equestrian games in Normandy this August.
David Doel of Reybridge Eventing is competing in the CIC2* and CCI2* at Camphire, hot on the heels of his 2* win at Barbury International Horse Trials July 2014.
Camphire is also establishing itself as an important opportunity for Irish riders to show themselves in front of the selectors, especially for the junior and young rider squads.
Camphire also runs a CIC** Young Rider Class, which the Team Ireland Equestrian junior squad used for their final team trial in 2013 before going on to win a gold medal at the European Championships.
This year, the Team Ireland Equestrian young rider and junior squads will again be using Camphire as their final trials before selection for the respective European Championships.
The Great Britain Under 18s Development Squad will also be competing in Camphire’s CIC*.
Camphire is also proving itself an important development venue for young horses. The quality and number of 6-year-olds in the CIC*YH is fantastic and this class will be a good indicator for those seeking selection for the world breeding championships in France this October.
The 7-year olds will compete at two-star level for Le Lion selection. Horse Sport Ireland has again provided additional prize money of €1000 for the top-three placed 6-year-old Irish Sport Horses in the CIC* and 7-year-old Irish Sport Horses in the CIC**, provided they finish in the top 25 percent of the class.
The popular two HSI Masterclasses for four- and five-year-old potential event horses have a prize fund of €1000 each this year, and a new trophy donated by Joe Craig, The Skylighter Trophy, will be presented to the overall best Masterclass young horse. Horses in the HSI Masterclasses will be assessed on their confirmation, flatwork, a short showjumping course and an inviting short course of cross-country obstacles.
“We’re very happy to be holding the young horse Masterclasses with HSI’s support,” event director Paul Brady said.
“We’ve also added a CCI* this year, and are delighted to be welcoming the under-18s developmental squad from Great Britain, as well as the Team Ireland Equestrian Young Rider and Junior Squads. So we’ll have a lot of opportunities for both young horses and young riders – which is part of our founding brief to contribute to the development of eventing in Ireland.”
Brady said Camphire was looking forward to hosting about the competitors from Great Britain’s Under-18s Developmental Squad, as well as many of Ireland’s junior and young Riders.
“All this running alongside our CIC*** should make for an exciting atmosphere, especially for the younger riders.
“We’re also running some great young horse classes, and we’ve made some improvements to this year’s cross-country course, which runs mostly over undulating parkland. The tracks are designed to be up-to-standard and inviting, with a good variety of fences, including two water complexes.”
The cross-country courses
The CIC*** cross-country course will again be designed by world-renowned course designer Mike Etherington-Smith. Most of the tracks will follow a similar line to previous years with a few changes.
All courses will approach the first water in the opposite direction to last year. The three-star riders will have to commit themselves to a definite line to successfully negotiate the three offset houses, one of which is in the water.
The three-star course has a new angled narrow brush palisade which will require accurate riding and there is a new lane crossing to be negotiated on the front avenue. The three-star course will also have a picnic table of maximum dimension in the park field in front of Camphire House. During the winter storms a number of large trees fell on the estate; one in particular has fallen in an opportune spot to make a feature fence. The trunk is so enormous that a ramp has been constructed to enable it to be jumped.
All three levels will have the now familiar Castleacre Insurance Brokers and Chubb Insurance drop to a skinny which will require accurate riding on all courses.
The two-star course has a double of brush corners on a dog leg on exiting the second water which should make for good viewing. The one-star courses have their own single brush corner on exiting the water.