WITH the Festival of Dressage less than a week away and the NAF Five Star Hartpury International Horse Trials hot on its heels, Hartpury is bracing itself for an invasion of world class superstars.
While the Festival, which runs from July 8th to 12th, will get the perfect 10th anniversary present with Charlotte Dujardin OBE and her wonder horse, Valegro, among the competitors; the Horse Trials, from August 12th to 16th, always attracts the biggest names from the eventing world.
Sponsored by NAF, the Hartpury International Horse Trials features the anticipated Optimum CCI1*, Magic CCI2* and Superflex CIC3*. But the star billing always goes to the stunning action on the cross-country course – built by Andrew Hunter and designed by Eric Winter - on Saturday, August 15th. A shuttle bus service takes spectators to the viewing sites of all three testing courses on Hartpury House Bank.
In previous years, competitors have included such luminaries as Sir Mark Todd, Zara Phillips, Mary King, Pippa Funnell, Harry Meade, Andrew Nicholson and Chris Burton. The entries for this year’s competition will be unveiled soon.
For the Horse Trials, the dressage (August 13th and 14th) and the showjumping (August 15th and 16th) take place in Hartpury’s International Arena, which features tiered seating and more than 30 shopping stands for spectators to enjoy.
Hartpury’s Equine Director, Philip Cheetham, said: “With the countdown on to the Festival of Dressage next week, preparations are now well underway for a feast of equestrian action at Hartpury. To have the chance to watch the very best in the world at our unique venue is an opportunity not to be missed.”
Next week’s Festival will feature more than 400 riders from 16 nations compete in more than 40 dressage and para-dressage classes. It will incorporate Premier League, CDI3*, CPEDI3*, Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Championship and new for 2015, the Elite Stallions Prix St Georges Young Horse Championship.
Now in its 10th year, the Saturday Gala evening performance remains the highlight of the week, with the Superflex CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle affording such previous winners as Richard Davison, Maria Eilberg and Charlotte Dujardin.
Admission is free from Wednesday to Friday for both the Festival of Dressage and the Horse Trials.
Entry for the Saturday and Sunday cost £5 for the Festival and £10 for the Horse Trials. Under-16s are free all week and parking is also free.
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