BRITISH EVENTING SHINES AT HORSEHEATH WITH 5-STAR RIDERS AND A DAZZLING DRESSAGE SCORE
On the weekend of 22/23 April, the annual British Eventing Affiliated Horse Trials at Horseheath in Cambridgeshire drew some of the sport's brightest stars, with a sell-out event, perfect ground, blazing competition - and a dazzling dressage score.
With wet conditions affecting so many events in recent weeks, Horseheath was fortunate to run as planned on both days. The venue's unique position, sandy soils and hardworking groundcare team meant that riders were delighted to find perfect footing as they experienced the thrills and challenges of the educational XC course designed by British Eventing Accredited Coach and Course Designer Tina Ure, and built by David Carpenter and his team.
In addition to the BE80 to Novice classes, two BE Under 18 classes were open to junior competitors competing in the BE90 and the BE100.
2019 Badminton and 2022 Burghley Horse Trials winner, Piggy March had four young horses entered in the Novice classes. She won her section on Brookfield Kept in the Darco, owned by Mrs Alison Swinburn and John and Chloe Perry and had a further win with Dassett Arthalent, owned by Mrs Olivia Davidson. Piggy said: "I've had a great day at Horseheath. I brought four Novices with me, and the going was absolutely perfect - couldn't get better ground here. It's been very educational for all the horses, and two wins and a second was the icing on the cake."
The first day ended with a dazzling dressage score of 9.8 for 5* and Olympic event rider Gemma Stevens (nee Tattersall) on her first visit to Horseheath. Gemma won three BE100 classes, including a win riding Chilli Morning IV, a clone of the world and European eventing medallist and Badminton champion, owned by Mr Christopher Stone. Her second win was on Chilli's Jester, another Christopher Stone horse, owned along with Chris and Clare Mathias.
Gemma's Horseheath highlight, and a gift for the spectators, was an exceptional dressage score on her recently syndicated gelding, Cooley Park Muze, in the horse's second ever event and dressage test. The pair won their class and set a new Horseheath record, finishing the day on their dressage score of 9.8. A delighted Gemma said, "He's a very talented horse, and he goes in such a lovely way. He has very natural paces and is also very beautiful, but I honestly didn't expect a 9.8, so that was a big treat. He’s definitely a horse to look forward to for the future."
Reflecting on her first Horseheath experience, Gemma added: “I’ve had a fantastic day here. It’s a beautiful event. The cross-country is just lovely and very educational for the horses. We’ve had perfect ground and a lovely sunny day, which is always a bonus. I will definitely be back again next year.”
Event organiser and Thurlow Estate Manager, Tim Barling said, "It was wonderful to see so many competitors here, at all stages of their eventing journeys. Seeing the 4* and 5* riders bringing on horses before they head off to Badminton was a treat for us all and I wish all riders the very best for the rest of the season. On behalf of the Vestey family, who so generously provide the ground and infrastructure for this event, and our brilliant sponsors who do so much to support it, I’d like to add a big thank you to everyone involved in the set-up, and our superb volunteers who give up so much time. It is a big team effort; we are very lucky to have such great people.”
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Horseheath has built a reputation for delivering professionally organised events with a warm welcome, challenging course design, skilled ground preparation and knowledgeable support. The venue is unique in offering excellent views across almost the entire cross country course from a single vantage point. It's easy to get to from the M11 with no small approach roads to negotiate, and Horseheath eventing attracts hundreds of competitors from across five counties.
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Here’s what a few of the competitors have said about their Horseheath experience:
“I just wanted to thank everyone involved for the superb Horse trials held at Horseheath last weekend. We ran in the BE90 on Sunday and were again truly impressed with everything. The effort that had gone into preparations was clear, and nobody we encountered could have been friendlier or more welcoming and helpful”
“Our first time at Horseheath today. A really well run event with fantastic organisation. Hats off to all involved!”
“Thank you to the whole team. From the welcome on the gate to the cheery wave goodbye, you create such a great atmosphere. It’s our favourite event, by far!”
“The team at Horseheath had obviously spent a lot of time preparing the ground giving us perfect going!”
“I was extremely impressed with the ground conditions at Horseheath Horse Trials. There had obviously been a huge amount of work put in to ensure good going which was very much appreciated by horses and riders!"
“Had a lovely day at Horseheath. Well organised, friendly stewards, lovely educational courses, and the ground was great. You can tell a lot of effort has gone into running this event. I will certainly be coming back again”
Horseheath Racecourse, Horseheath, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom, CB21 4QF – USE.
PLEASE USE SAT NAV Postcode CB21 4QP (takes you to the property opposite the course entrance)