British Eventing in Shropshire

PUBLISHED: 14:06 28 December 2010 | UPDATED: 17:02 20 February 2013

Liberte Fence at Weston Park

Liberte Fence at Weston Park

Debbie Graham looks at the 2010 programme of events in the equestrian sport that provides a thrilling day out in beautiful Shropshire settings

The best of British Eventing

Debbie Graham looks at the 2010 programme of events in the equestrian sport that provides a thrilling day out in beautiful Shropshire settings

Spring has definitely arrived and with it the new season of British Eventing, the highly-charged, multi-disciplined equestrian sport which tests horse and rider on every level.

The man in charge of Shropshires events, Regional Director Chris Shaw says: Eventing is widely recognised as the ultimate equestrian sport, combining the grace of dressage, the skill and accuracy of show-jumping and the speed and excitement of cross-country. Whether or not you are a horse person, you cannot fail to be impressed by the partnership that exists between horse and rider.

And Shropshire is right at its heart with prestigious events running throughout the season. The beautiful Weston Park, set on the Staffordshire/Shropshire border paves the way on April 9-11. With two special classes, the British Intermediate Championship Qualifier and a European 3DE Pony Championship Preliminary Trial, not to mention its advanced classes which are seen as an essential pre-Badminton warm-up, it promises to attract the countrys best riders.

European Gold medallist Oliver Townend describes Weston Park as his favourite Shropshire event, saying: It is a fantastic venue in a lovely, pleasant setting and has great cross country facilities that all the riders enjoy riding around. It also has very good viewing for owners and spectators who come along to watch.

The Pony combinations that impress the selectors at Weston will be invited back to Shropshire for the final selection trial, the Charles Owen British National Pony Championship, Brand Hall on June 4-6. With the British squad one of the main medal favourites, spectators are sure to be entertained by a fierce competition filled with drama as competitors fight for their place.

Georgian Brand Hall makes an impressive setting to the action and as the hall and grounds are usually closed to the public it also offers the unique opportunity of seeing this stunning parkland close up.

Dont forget the smaller event Llanymynech on June 12-13 either as although it may not challenge the prestige of the others it is still worthy of a visit. For even though it only provides competition up to Novice and Junior Regional Novice level spectators can watch more than 500 combinations battling for success in the beautiful tranquil countryside of the Shropshire/Powys border. Two water complexes provide plenty of excitement and the Roman Copper mines make an interesting if quirky backdrop to the event.

Organiser Andrew Chadwick says that it provides a perfect venue for an after lunch stroll through the countryside whilst witnessing the skill and daring of not only local riders but competitors from all over the country and abroad.

October 7-10 sees Shropshires final event of the season, at Weston Park. As an International Three Day Event of considerable repute it holds the Junior Regional Championships, The National Under 21 Championships, CCI* and CCI** classes not to mention the Pony three day event and is the largest horse trials in the world in terms of numbers. It showcases all the stars of the future, both equine and human and competition to qualify is fierce. Past competitors have included Olympians Leslie Law, William Fox-Pitt and Mary King.

If you are feeling particularly energetic why not negotiate the cross country course under your own steam? A fun run around the course is taking place on the final day in aid of the Anthony Nolan Trust, the UK charity that focuses on leukemia research and bone marrow transplantation.

The regional fundraising manager Ruth Carter says: The emphasis is on fun, it doesnt matter how long it takes you to get round the course and there are prizes for the best fancy dress outfit. You are guaranteed to have a good laugh and get very wet and muddy.

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