Dressage has already gotten underway at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials in Oxfordshire, an event which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
All 101 horses entered in the CCI3* passed the first horse inspection, which was held in torrential rain on Wednesday afternoon. The huge international entry includes William Fox-Pitt, Izzy Taylor, Piggy French, Laura Collett, Bill Levett, Blyth Tait and Sam Griffiths.
Dressage started in the CCI3* at 8.30 this morning, and the first rider into the arena was Pippa Funnell, fresh from collecting a team Silver medal at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle, with Mirage D’Elle. The last rider of the day will be Pippa’s European Championships team mate Kitty King with Ceylor LAN (5.00pm).
There is a strong representation from the USA and amongst their riders is Lauren Keiffer, riding Veronica – a combination who were second at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day event in the spring. Prior to the competition she said: “It’s a great experience, I’ve never been to Blenheim before. It’s important for us (to be here) – it will help in deciding who will be going to the Olympics, they will be looking at how we go here. It’s certainly a goal, we take it one event at a time. We want to be competitive here but it’s all going towards Rio.”
The dressage for the CIC3* class for eight and nine year-old horses started at 9.00am and the first pair to perform their dressage test was Caroline Powell on Stellor Seaurchin. Action in this class concludes with Jonelle Price, who won this class on Faerie Dianimo last year, on Cloud Dancer II (3.07pm).
Also taking place today at Blenheim is the Riding Club Team Eventers Challenge, sponsored by Dodson & Horrell and the BE80 and BE100 Amateur Dressage Championships, sponsored by Gatehouse.
Event Director Mandy Hervieu said: “We have a really exciting four days ahead of us, with the top riders from 12 nations competing here at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials. We try very hard to put on an event which has something for all the family, whether they are keen on horses or not. Our visitor numbers are up 10% year on year at the beginning of this week so we hope lots of people will come along and we’re due for a sunny weekend too. We are looking forward to a bumper crowd to join in our 25th anniversary celebrations.”