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.
In 2019, the USEA introduced two new national leaderboards: the 6-year-old horse and 7-year-old horse leaderboards. The 6-year-old horse leaderboard ranks 6-year-old horses at the Preliminary, CCI2*-S, and CCI2*-L levels and the 7-year-old horse leaderboard ranks 7-year-old horses at the Intermediate, CCI3*-S, and CCI3*-L levels.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is proud to announce the formation of a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and a new partnership between the USEA Foundation and Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE).
The USEA is very sad to hear the news of the passing of From, the 28-year-old Russian Thoroughbred gelding (Mif x Floema), owned by Charlotte Harris and ridden by Stephen Bradley.
In less than a year the USEA Foundation, USEA, and a group of passionate stakeholders have managed to raise $500,000 to build frangible fences thanks to donations from USEA members and eventing enthusiasts around the country. This money has gone directly to 116 different USEA recognized events with 151 frangible tables, 53 oxers, and 34 gate/wall fences already out on course – all built with grants distributed by the USEA Foundation.