The stage is set this week for the most exciting running of the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials to date on September 19-22, 2019. All of the British eventing scene’s top riders, plus many from around the world, are preparing to tackle one of the UK’s most prestigious and popular horse trials, where the newly launched SsangYong Korando SUV will also star, in the unparalleled surroundings of the Blenheim Palace estate in Oxfordshire.
Among the superstar competitors at SsangYong Blenheim Palace will be all four members of Britain’s silver medal-winning team at the recent European Championships – Oliver Townend, Badminton winner Piggy French, Burghley winner Pippa Funnell, whose record in the feature CCI4*-L class is second to none, and Tina Cook.
It is 14 years since Zara Tindall won the European Championships on Toytown when they were held at Blenheim, and she returns this year with two rides, Class Affair and Watkins.
World number one Tim Price and his fellow New Zealander, dual Blenheim winner Andrew Nicholson, have two rides apiece, as does Australian Olympic gold medallist Andrew Hoy.
The overseas challenge includes strong squads from France – including Astier Nicolas, winner of team gold and individual silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics – and the USA. The Japanese squad, who are utterly focused on success at Tokyo 2020, will be out in force.
Five riders will be flying the flag for the United States at the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials. Buck Davidson with Carlevo and Park Trader, Lexi Scovil and Chico's Man VDF Z, Cornelia Dorr and Sir Patico MH, and Katherine Coleman and Monte Classico will all compete in the CCI4*-L while Elizabeth Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver are the sole U.S. entry in the CCI4*-S 8/9YO section.
And there will be a great deal of local support for the incredibly competitive Bicester-based Izzy Taylor, a SsangYong Blenheim Palace winner in 2017, Gloucestershire’s Laura Collett, who took the CCI4*-S for 8- and 9-year-old horses, Britain’s premier young horse class, at Blenheim in 2018.
Other famous names competing at Blenheim this week include brilliant Brits William Fox-Pitt, Gemma Tattersall and Harry Meade.
In all, 15 nations will be represented at SsangYong Blenheim Palace this week, including the Czech Republic, Spain, and Denmark, as well as the more traditional eventing nations such as Canada, Italy, Ireland, and Germany.
Event Director Mandy Hervieu said, “I think this is the highest-class field we have seen at SsangYong Blenheim Palace for years. The weather forecast is excellent and the event site looks amazing."
“This is an event with a very special atmosphere, and we are continually trying to improve our visitors’ experience of their day and what we can offer them alongside the top-class sport. There is lots to do for families, great shopping, tasty food and all sorts of entertainment.”
As well as the feature CCI4* classes and a host of competitions for amateur riders, SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials features excellent, carefully selected, shopping opportunities. There is a full and varied program in the Attractions Arena on Saturday and Sunday, superb children’s entertainment and great food, ranging from outlets offering locally produced to a range of dining packages. Visit www.blenheimhorse.co.uk to book tickets and for further information.
The 2020 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) East Coast Championships kicked off today at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland following the successful completion of the FEH Central Championships at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas this past Thursday. Twenty-three horses were presented today to Championship judges Robin Walker and Susan Graham White – four in the FEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship and 18 in the FEH East Coast 3-year-old Championship.
After a rainy night, the footing for the FEI cross-country drained nicely and held up well throughout the morning. Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp held on to her overnight lead aboard Fernhill By Night and added 4.8 time faults to her double clear show jumping round to take home the win in the CCI4*-S. Not one rider was able to make it through the finish flags within the time allowed, but the top 28 had no jumping penalties.
The CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S divisions were able to complete their show jumping before the torrential rain interrupted the competition for the CCI2*-S division.
The 2020 United States Eventing Association (USEA) Future Event Horse (FEH) Central Championships took place yesterday, September 24 at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas. With four new champions crowned, this marked one of the first USEA Championships to be held in 2020. Jayne Lloyd, the organizer of the Championships shared, “Everyone had a nice day with their youngsters. The quality of horses is getting better and better. Haras [Hacienda] is a lovely facility to put this on – great stabling, great footing, all indoor because we’ve had some bad weather the past few days. But overall, I think it all went really well.”