Five of the UK’s top eventers, who completed Badminton 2015, head to local horse trials
Last minute preparations are well underway for this year’s Belsay Horse Trials. Entries are looking extremely strong and organisers are delighted with the calibre of riders competing, five of whom rode at the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials in early May.
Olympic Silver Medallist, Nicola Wilson, heads the list and brings 8 horses to compete over two days at Belsay this year, including Ngong Hills which she rides in the Open Intermediate class on Saturday 6th June. Dutch Oympic team rider Andrew Heffernan is making the four hour journey from his base at Somerford Park Farm in Cheshire, bringing two horses to compete: Lawless Lil in the Intermediate and Pewit Setimo in the Novice Regional Final.
Three other 2015 Badminton riders, Scotland’s Louisa Milne-Home, UK Nation’s Cup team member Paul Sims and former young rider Gold medal winner Ben Hobday are also heading to Belsay this year. Louisa brings three horses and both Paul and Ben each bring four horses. Hobday, who like Andrew Heffernan is based at Somerford Park, is now a familiar face in Northumberland as his girlfriend is Emma Carmichael, whose parents Ian and Elaine run Todburn Equestrian Centre at Longhorsley. Emma will also compete at Belsay, in the Open Intermediate class with her horse Cooley Lucky Strike.
Riders and visitors will notice many changes and improvements at Belsay this year – chiefly the creation of the new Bond Dickinson Show Jumping Arena. Following very wet weather in the run up to the first two Belsay horse trials, which made for holding conditions in the show jumping phase, organisers invested significant sums in a state of the art Sports Drainage System. Eight top regional event riders tried out the new surface at the end of April and were full of praise for it.
There are also some exciting changes to the Cross Country courses at Belsay for 2015. The Intermediate and Novice tracks now have longer loops at the beginning, enabling horses and riders to get into a good rhythm before tackling some of the more difficult questions on the course. While the BE90 and BE100 tracks this year set off in a different direction towards the lorry park.