Chatsworth Horse Trials promises to be full of drama this year as the world’s top riders compete in one of the last major events before the Olympics with a view to securing their place in London this summer.
The Horse Trials, set in the Chatsworth park, is proving a particularly popular choice for Olympic hopefuls as it provides excellent preparation for the terrain of Greenwich Park. Almost 600 riders are competing including GB contenders Tina Cook, Mary King, Zara Phillips, William Fox Pitt, Piggy French, Ruth Edge and Lucy Wiegersma.
Horse Trials director Tissie Reason said: “I doubt there’s a better opportunity to see so much Olympic class at close quarters. It’s a great opportunity to get caught up in the excitement as we build up to the Olympics, with the chance to see horses and riders that could be picking up medals in a few weeks time.”
Top riders from Sweden, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy, Jamaica and Brazil will also take on the 23 jumps of the 4,000m course chasing the dream of Olympic selection for their country.
Olympic medallist and course designer Ian Stark said: “This year’s course is being reversed in direction to give a more gentle introduction. It also means the horses will only have to climb the main hill once. It’s important that the horses have a confidence building run in preparation for London so the tougher combinations have been softened a little, although it is still very much a World Cup Class!”
GB rider William Fox Pitt, who will be bringing his horses Lionheart and Oslo to compete added: “I have always enjoyed riding at Chatsworth and it will be exciting to see how the new course rides. It’s a welcome change in this Olympic year.”
Chatsworth Horse Trials is also the only UK round of the FEI World Cup™. Excitement and suspense are synonymous with the World Cup series which tests the determination and skill of the best riders in the world, a prestigious and much sought after title. Chatsworth is the first competition in this year’s series of five international competitions.
As well as Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country, visitors will be able to see the stars of tomorrow in the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifiers on Friday. The main weekend days also provide lots of fun for all the family with entertainment including the Pony Club mounted games, ferret racing, John Halsted and the Duchess of Devonshire’s own gundogs, dressage demonstrations, maypole dancing, face painting and children’s rides.
Discounted tickets are still available up until 7 May including an online exclusive offer for full weekend tickets for adult £22 and under 14s £7, under 5s free. Visit www.chatsworth.org/horsetrials for more details.
Normal ticket prices per day are Saturday £13 per adult; £4 per child (under 14); Sunday £15 per adult; £5 per child (under 14) plus £3 car parking. Gates open at 8am on all three days.
Chatsworth house, gardens, farmyard and playground, shops and restaurants are all open as usual. For more information, visit www.chatsworth.org