THE FESTIVAL – ALL WRAPPED UP
The Festival of British Eventing, presented by the British Equestrian Trade Association, took place at the weekend, with crowds drawn to Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire to witness the very best that one day eventing has to offer and they were not disappointed.
There was full-on action on all three days, with the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse Series for 4 and 5 year olds taking place on Friday along with The Pony Club Team Showjumping. Vicky Brake took the 5 year old title riding her own 16.2hh bay gelding, Coolparks Sarco, with Padraig McCarthy taking the 4 year old Dubarry Burghley Young Event horse title riding Miss Caroline Bates’ 16.3hh chestnut stallion, A Moment in Time. The nail-biting Pony Club Team Showjumping went down to a jump off between the top two teams, with The Polden Hills coming out on top over the Beaufort team.
Saturday saw The Dodson & Horrell British Novice Championship and The Smith & Williamson British Intermediate Championship contested. Ben Hobday took the British Novice title, riding the 16.3hh chestnut gelding Shadow Man II, who he jointly owns with Jane Chambers. The prolific Oliver Townend took the British Intermediate Championship, his tenth national title, riding Angela Hyslop’s eleven year old, flaxen-maned chestnut, Khoi Traveler, adding to his win in last year’s British Open.
On Sunday, The British Open Championship CIC3* incorporating the Event Rider Masters was battled out between some of the best riders in the world. Running in reverse order merit, the final places come right down to the last horse finishing. Gemma Tattersall took the title of British Open and British National Champion, riding an outstanding cross country round on her ex-racehorse, Arctic Soul. Gemma was 11th after the showjumping but the incredible pace she set on her 16.3hh gelding saw her finishing just three seconds over the optimum time. The TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup was clinched by Lorna Collins, who scored a career-best result on 17hh gelding, Blackrock Ricardo. The pair earned a dressage score of 24.6 and delivered a polished showjumping clear. Australian Rider, Shane Rose, secured the Neptune Advanced class title on Sam Griffiths’ 18 year old bay gelding, Happy Times.
The Festival also featured a range of exciting arena attractions, including an extraordinary display of acrobatics by Atkinsons Action Horses; a team of film and TV horses and stunt riders who have been credited on films and TV such as Poldark, Peaky Blinders, and Victoria. The Pony Club Mounted Games and The Shetland Pony Grand National provided opportunities for younger riders to get involved with the fun.
Perhaps the star of the main arena on Sunday was the hugely popular Valegro; who was individual Olympic dressage gold medallist in both 2012 and 2016. The retired dressage superstar paraded in the main arena to adoring fans who were then able to meet him afterwards in his stable, with the opportunity to pat him and even take selfies.
It’s all over for another year, but we look forward to welcoming you back next August. The Festival will take place on the weekend of 3-5 August 2018.