Excitement builds as horse trials return

Olympic silver medallist Nicola Wilson rides Hero Motivator at last year's Belsay Horse Trials.
Olympic silver medallist Nicola Wilson rides Hero Motivator at last year's Belsay Horse Trials.

Preparations are nearly complete for the second Belsay Horse Trials, which promises to be even bigger and better than the inaugural event.

Entries are currently flooding in and organisers are working hard to accommodate riders disappointed by the cancellation of Kirkley and Aske Horse Trials.

More than 500 competitors will compete on May 31 and June 1 in classes ranging from BE90 to Open Intermediate. The schedule includes BE100 Under 18, Open Novice Under 18 and Open Intermediate Under 21 classes and a Novice Regional Final.

A new Intermediate cross-country course, designed by Ronald Alexander, has been built with bigger and very impressive fences.

Course-builders Rory Boswell and John Fawlds have also made some changes to the BE90, BE100 and Novice sections, improving ground conditions and putting in take-off and landing pads in some areas.

The show-jumping arena has been moved on to higher, drier ground, with the warm-up ring now adjacent to it, while the show field, dressage and cross-country courses have been made more accessible and easier for spectators to navigate.

There are also a wide range of family attractions on offer with a climbing wall, children’s fairground, pony rides and dog agility. There are catering vans and bars around the cross-country course, as well as by the main arena, to encourage people to explore Belsay’s beautiful Grade I Heritage parkland.

Laura de Wesselow, co-organiser of Belsay Horse Trials, said: “We were overwhelmed with the fantastic response we received to last year’s event, but it was a work in progress.

“We have taken on board all the feedback we received and have worked very hard over the past 12 months to make this year’s event even better for competitors and spectators alike.

“We are very excited about the new Intermediate cross-country course. We have some fantastic new fences that will provide a good test for horse and rider and a great spectacle for the public.”