More than 500 entries – including Zara Tindall, Oliver Townend, Sam Griffiths, Laura Collett and Izzy Taylor together with William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Nicholson who both return after series injury last autumn – are amongst the world’s leading riders who will be competing at Weston Park Horse Trials this weekend.
Situated on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border, the house was built in 1671 and has been the ancestral home of the Earls of Bradford. Today the House and Park is a Charitable Foundation, the family collections of porcelain, antiques and portraits are available for all to enjoy. It is through staging events such as the Horse Trials that the ongoing restoration and maintenance of this historic Estate is financed.
The superbly constructed course, designed by Janet Plant, will run over a thousand acres of rolling wooded parkland and the fences are solid and imposing. Each class runs over a different course designed to be testing but fair.
Janet Plant comments: “It is a privilege to design on such a fabulous estate. I walked the ground 10 days ago and it was refreshing to remember just how well the old turf feels. Once again we welcome the Charles Owen Pony Trial, which we have run for a number of years and many of our winners are now showing good form in senior team selections – it has been a great pleasure to watch them mature.”
The course for the Novice classes – sponsored by Moores Metals and Landsbrook Stud – will run on the central park giving wonderful views from the vantage points which is greatly appreciated by owners and spectators.
For many of the top riders in the Advanced sections this event acts as an ideal ‘warm –up’ for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May. Entries bound for Badminton include Louise Harwood (Mr Potts and Whitson), Zara Tindall (High Kingdom), William Fox-Pitt (Parklane Hawk), Michael Owen (Bradeley Law), Alex Hua Tian (Harbour Pilot C), Jodie Amos (Wise Crack), Oliver Townend (Armada and Dromgurrihy Blue), Paul Sims (Glengarnock), Beanie Sturgis (Lebowski), Lucy McCarthy (Mr Chunky) and Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul).
Graham Heath Equestrian Structures joins as a key sponsor for the hotly contested Open Intermediate Under 21 section; and the British Intermediate Championship qualifier plus an opportunity to be seen by selectors in this Junior Trial. Graham Heath comments; “This is a great event and one which we are very proud to sponsor – we are really excited to be involved.”
The event are delighted long-standing supporters, David and Catherine Witt, owners of Rookery Park Stud, are continuing their sponsorship of the Advanced class and they are joined by Tile Choice Ltd. Jessica Beasley of Tile Choice commented: “we are a family run business and are delighted to sponsor at this fantastic event. We have regularly enjoyed days out as well as competing here and are looking forward to watching the Badminton bound combinations in the Advanced class.”
For more information visit www.westonht.co.uk.
Photos courtesy of Hannah Ray