There will be a true global flavour to Bicton Arena’s first ever International Horse Trials, which take place from April 24 to 26, and are sponsored by Empire Coach Builders.
Staged in East Devon on the rolling parkland that forms part of Clinton Estates, the event has attracted a wealth of top international riders including Australia’s Sam Griffiths who was the victor at last year’s Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials; the veterans Sir Mark Todd, among the most celebrated New Zealand sportsmen who has won two Olympic medals and was rewarded with a Knighthood in 2013; and Mary King, MBE, who has represented Great Britain in six Olympic Games.
Hundreds of entries have been received for the competition that will see UK based International riders tackle cross country courses designed by Eric Winter and Bicton Arena manager Helen West.
Other riders in action include Sweden’s rising star Ludwig Svennerstal and Italian rider Vittoria Pannizon who both represented their countries at London 2012, also competing.
British-born Lucinda Fredericks famously won Burghley, Badminton and Kentucky four star events on the tiny mare Headley Britannia and her daughter Little Britannia will contest an intermediate class. Lucinda, who now rides for Australia and won team silver at the Beijing Olympics, also rides the nine-year-old mare Bridgehousestud River Wild in the CIC**.
David Doel, 22 has represented Great Britain on junior and young rider teams, and has started the season in good form, winning his first CIC2* of the season at Barroca D’Alva in Portugal. He’s on Earl Galante in the international class.
Cornwall’s contingent include Tamsyn Hutchins, Clare Bradshaw, Sally Gentle and Holly Wright while from Devon, Althea and Janou Bleekman, Tim Cheffings and Emily King will be in acton.
The event’s organiser Helen West said: “We are absolutely delighted with the number and quality of entries and it’s a fantastic opportunity for spectators to come along and watch the best in action. The CIC, or international class, has given riders a valuable opportunity to move up to the next level of competition if they gain a qualifying result.”
The event has gained the support of several notable sponsors including Empire Coach Builders, Rathbones, a leading provided of investment management services, accountants Francis Clark, Mercedes Benz South West, Everys Solicitors, Harrison Lavers & Potburys Estate Agents, Mole Valley Farmers, Winning Post Consultancy, Wray & Co Jewellers, Acanthus Press, Jon Bevan and Pete Appleford and equestrian retail outlets Wyvern Equestrian, Wychanger Barton and Cheffings Equine.
Owners and grooms will also be recognized with prizes in kind donated by Bicton, Redpost Equestrian near Totnes, which has donated a watch for the best turned out in the two star competition and Marlborough Events which will be giving champagne to the winning riders of the two star, advanced and intermediate classes.
Helen said: “We’re a shop window for companies as we have a captive audience of riders and all their associates and we are thrilled with the level of support. These are exciting times for the arena and we very much hope people will come along and watch some top riders in action.”
Entry is free on Friday and £10 per Car on Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit www.bictonarena.co.uk.