A field of 72 combinations have passed muster for this weekend’s Equi-Trek CCI3* contest at the Bramham International Horse Trials in Yorkshire.
Overall, more than 170 combinations from 13 countries have converged on the Yorkshire venue, with about £29,000 in prizemoney up for grabs.
Bidding for an unrivalled eighth win, William Fox-Pitt heads the British entry in the CCI3*, which has a first prize including £5750 and a year’s use of an Equi-Trek Sonic horse box.
Fox-Pitt, who was announced last week as the new world number one, places his hopes in a single ride, Carol Gee and Catherine Witt’s Fernhill Pimms, who was a winner Blenheim’s special CIC3* for eight and nine year olds in 2013 but is yet to complete a CCI3*. Local lad Oliver Townend has four rides while two-time winner Pippa Funnell has three horses, as does Nicola Wilson and Kristina Cook, one of whom is her 2014 World Championship silver medallist, De Novo News who had an unfortunate fall in the water at last month’s Badminton.
Two horses were held at the first CCI3* veterinary inspection – Ireland’s Horseware Stellor Rebound, with Sarra Ennis, and Nick Gauntlett’s Crown Talisman – but both were passed after a few nervous moments.
First out in the CCI3* is Ireland’s Mark Kyle and Jesmond Justice at 10am on Thursday, in front of judges Angela Tucker, Harry Payne and Christina Klingspor (SWE). Friday’s competition will see the remaining 38 riders perform their tests.
Kicking off the 56-strong CIC3* is Britain’s Oliver Townend and Samuel Thomas II at 9am, under the eye of judges Andrew Bennie (NZL), Jane Tolley and Nikki Herbert.
The foreign challenge is led by the reigning world champions from Germany, Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo, who is currently based in Britain with team trainer Christopher Bartle at the Yorkshire Riding Centre. It’s a rare appearance on British soil for the combination. Antipodean super stars Andrew Nicholson, Jonathan Paget and Caroline Powell from New Zealand plus former winner, Australian Paul Tapner, will all be ones to watch. Ireland and France have sent strong squads with eight and 12 riders respectively.
The CIC riders will complete their showjumping first on Saturday, when all three classes will take on Ian Stark’s cross-country.
Last year’s victors, Tom Jackson and Waltham Fiddlers Find, are attempting make history by winning back to back titles while Dani Evans, Emily King, and Holly Woodhead, making her 3* debut, all have medals to their names and will be hoping to thwart Jackson.
Swedish siblings Ludwig and Ellen Svennerstal will lead the international charge, albeit from Yorkshire as the duo is also based at the Yorkshire Riding Centre.
Charlie Clover riding A Pair of Monkeys is first out on Friday.
Hunters and jumpers – and more
British Showjumping classes are also taking place in both arenas at Bramham, with a host of top names entered including Robert Smith, Olivia Dales, Kerry Brennan, Laura Robinson, Pippa Allen and an amazing seven members of the Whitaker dynasty – Ellen, George, James, William, Joe, Steven, and Louise.
Saturday afternoon’s feature classes are The Bramham Classic and the Suregrow Fertiliser Six Bar. On Sunday, the Wetherby Skip Services Grand Prix, the wealthiest jumping class on offer, with a £1,500 first prize, brings the event to a close.
Thursday also features several Hunter classes including Horse of the Year Show qualifiers for light, middle & heavy weight and working Hunters, while the Pony Club Mounted Games will feature in the TopSpec Arena on both Saturday and Sunday plus the Pony Club Team Jumping on Saturday.
Bramham is also hosting a Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse four and five year old qualifier for the prestigious Championship in September, plus Event Horse Breeding and Young Stock Classes for foals to three-year-olds.
Images below from the CCI3* under-25 trot-up: © Mike Bain