International entries are open for the 2017 FEI Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials, which runs from 24th – 27th August. Following on from the success of the Event Rider Masters (ERM) debut last year, visitors will again be treated to two days of cross country action, providing plenty of excitement for riders, owners and spectators travelling to the beautiful Highlands of Scotland in just six weeks time.
As usual the Three Day Event classes, CCI1*, CCI2* and CCI3*, will do their dressage on Thursday and Friday, take on Blair’s unique terrain across the country on Saturday, and showjump in the main arena on Sunday.
In a repeat of last year, Sunday spectators will again have the choice of watching international show jumping, or taking to the cross country course to enjoy both the ERM and standard CIC3* competitors tackle Event Director and Course Designer Alec Lochore’s track. Blair hosts the sixth, penultimate, leg of the ERM series which was won last year by Blair champion Oliver Townend.
All cross country courses have undergone changes since last year, with much of the direction reflecting the 2015 European Championship course. There are also new fences across the levels. “I want riders to be forward thinking and positive, with combinations being both educated and prepared towards their next level. Above all, I want horses and riders to enjoy themselves – which they will if they attack the courses positively,” explained Alec.
Spectators opting to buy Membership passes can enjoy CCTV coverage of the event in the Members Marquee, located ringside with its own dedicated garden area. All day refreshments are available both in the Members Marquee and the Owners & Riders Marquee, also ringside with a garden area and equipped with CCTV. Additionally, Blair hosts a golf competition for owners and connections on the Thursday morning at the local club.
Regular Blair visitor, Anne Barlow, explains why she comes back year after year. “Blair Horse Trials has been our favourite event for at least 20 years, and any horse we own starts its career with the aim of reaching Blair in some form. I think this year one of our granddaughters might make it!
“We book our accommodation for the next year as we leave the event, and look forward to it as the highlight of the season. Hopefully we will have a runner this year but if not we will be there anyway!”
It is, however, not all about eventing. Show jumping, showing, and Arena Eventing classes will also feature in the programme, while Blair Castle International is particularly famous for its Highland Pony Show. Pony Club mounted games, Country Fair demonstrations and fantastic shopping will also be added to the mix.
Famous for its parties, Blair will host its usual array of Scottish hospitality each evening of the event, with charity malt whisky tasting, a ceilidh, live band and disco as well as the onsite bar where friends can meet up to discuss the day’s events.
Full details of the various Membership packages can be found on the website.