Aside from deciding the winners of the four championship titles on offer, there are a plethora of other things to see and do at the Festival of British Eventing, presented by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), making it a real family affair.
Arena attractions kick off on Friday 7th August with the Pony Club Inter Branch Team Show Jumping, sponsored by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA). This closely fought invitation competition will see 20 pony club teams go head to head over two rounds, with a jump off to decide the winner in the event of a tie. The Atherstone Hunt Pony Club triumphed in 2014, will they be able to repeat that again this year!
Eventing stars of the future will also be on display on Friday in the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse Classes for Four and Five year Olds. Winners will book their place in the final to be held at Burghley Horse Trials in September. The main competition will take place in the YEH Arena above the Main Arena alongside the Cross Country course whilst the judging of each class will take place in the Main Arena.
Prolific Australian stunt rider The Kangaroo Kid will perform for the first time at The Festival of British Eventing and spectators are guaranteed to see a hair-raising, gut wrenching set from the popular quad bike stunt rider. His record breaking stunts including jumping a RAF Phantom jet, 14 trucks and a flying aeroplane. Back from Australia after a 10 year break The Kangaroo Kid will bring a brand new show to Gatcombe Park this year.
One of the favourite Main Arena attractions will once again return in 2015. The Shetland Grand National will see young jockeys compete for their chance to qualify for the final at Olympia International Show Jumping Championships in December. The action is bound to be fast and furious so don’t miss the chance to see racing stars of the future.
Scurry Driving once again will grace the famous arena. A pair of ponies will pull their carriage around a course of cones testing the skill of the driver. The winner is the fastest around the course without disturbing the cones or marker balls is the winner. It’s fast, furious and fun – the F1 of the horse world, and not to be missed.
If you’re looking for something slightly more gentile, the Dressage to Music demonstration will be right up your street. The sport has gained an enormous following since the success of British riders in European, World and Olympic competition. Under the expert guidance of Desi Dillingham, Olivia Oakeley and Emma Corbett, along with a few news additions will guide spectators through the beauty of dressage to music.
Over the weekend, two renowned packs of hounds will parade in the Main Arena. On Saturday, the RAC Beagles, formed in 1889, are hunted by students of the Royal Agricultural University who are supported by a professional kennel huntsman both in kennels and the field. Between them they look after around 30 couple of studbook Beagles who are kennelled just outside Cirencester. On Sunday it will be the turn of The Duke of Beaufort Hounds who are homed at Badminton Estate.
A second new arena has also been introduced for 2015. Here visitors can watch The Delta Fly Ball Club in action. Fast, colourful and noisy, it is fun for the dogs, fun for the handlers and gives the beggars some jolly old exercise, and visually exciting for onlookers. Spectators can watch the demonstration & have a go if their canine friend is up for it. Local pony club teams will also be in action in a mounted games competition and there will be a have a go dog agility course to keep four legged friends entertained.
So whatever you’re interested in, the Festival of British Eventing really does have something for everybody!
Kay Thompson Photography – www.kaythompson.co.uk