The picturesque countryside, near the villages of Stratford St Mary and Higham just outside Colchester, has been the venue for the Stratford Hills Horse Trials for the last 12 years. So it is now a well-established fixture on the British Eventing calendar attracting over 500 competitors, from all over the country, to compete in the three disciplines of Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country. The jumps vary in height and the standard of difficulty in the dressage changes in the various classes.
This year, as well as the usual full compliment of classes up to Intermediate Novice, a new BE80(T) class is being added to the schedule.
The purpose of the new class is to introduce people to the sport and is designed to educate and encourage inexperienced riders, the dressage is not too daunting and the maximum height of any fence is 80cm. A trainer will provide a Show Jumping and Cross Country course walk explaining how best to tackle the obstacles and will also be available to answer any queries competitors may have – such as permitted tack or how to warm up for dressage. Airowear have agreed to be national sponsors of this class.
As well as this new class, another exciting addition to the Cross Country course this year, is a redesigned and extended water jump. This new complex will now provide more jumping options for competitors in all of the classes.
The two-day event is organised by a committee led by Gillie Cranfield. In order for both days to run smoothly a huge amount of support is needed from ‘the army’ of volunteers who return year after year to help in all aspects of the event – from catering to scoring and jump judging!
As well as trying to provide an enjoyable day for the competitors and spectators another very important aspect to these Horse Trials is to raise money for a different charity each year. The event is obviously expensive to run but is very lucky to have some generous and supportive sponsors. Carriagehouse Insurance, based in Stratford St Mary being one of the main ones and the organising committee are extremely grateful to them and the other companies such as Airowear, Savills, Lookers, Jim Lawrence, Ipswich Audi, Ark Syndicate, Ames Nissan, New Hall School, Thorpe Horseboxes, R&D Schofield, J.M. Finn, New England Building Supplies, County Linen, Scrutton Bland and Carter Jonas, to name but a few, who have all come on board this year to support the Horse Trials. All this support will hopefully enable the organisers to make a generous contribution to their chosen charities.
This year they are delighted to be supporting two local charities,
Success After Stroke, a charity based in Sudbury, Suffolk and The Shelley Centre for Therapeutic Riding which is also nearby.
If you would like to know more about the event – follow the newsfeeds on Facebook and Twitter and the new website www.shht.co.uk.
Why not come along and spectate on Saturday June 20th or Sunday June 21st.
The Stratford Hills course is just off the A12 near Colchester at Higham. Spectators will be very welcome – come and watch all the competitors and enjoy shopping at the tradestands – Entry is only £10 per car and includes all occupants.