International riders set for new-look horse trials

London Olympic silver medallist Nicola Wilson and Hero Motivator will be competing at Belsay Horse Trials.
London Olympic silver medallist Nicola Wilson and Hero Motivator will be competing at Belsay Horse Trials.

Belsay Horse Trials take place this weekend with an excellent line up of riders among the highlights for this year’s event.

Rio hopeful and London Olympic Silver medallist Nicola Wilson, up-and-coming German star Pia Munker, who won the CIC at Floors Castle in mid-May, Scotland and GB team member Wills Oakden, as well as social media sensation and Badminton rider Ben Hobday, who has recently beaten cancer, are among the competitors.

Highlights include new cross-country tracks, designed by Adrian Ditcham, and new activities include Working Hunter Pony Classes and Pony Club Team Show Jumping, as well as lots of fantastic shopping, eating and a craft tent.

Belsay Horse Trials features classes from BE90 through to Intermediate.

Course designer Adrian Ditcham, who designs courses all over the UK to advanced level, has made some key changes to ensure a smoother flowing track for all classes.

He said: “Belsay has a fantastic setting, but the topography of the site is very hilly, which in itself is a challenge for the horses.

“I have tried to simplify the course so that horse and rider have more of a chance to get into a nice rhythm before we ask them any serious questions.”

There will be a new start and finish point and the course will run south towards the Bantom Bowl and Belsay Castle sooner than in previous years.

New fences this year include a new Boat House, as well as replicas of the famous Belsay Stallion stables, which were home to racehorses when Belsay was a stud and racing stable in the 18th century.

Since it started in 2013, Belsay has been supported by Northumberland’s leading co-ed prep school Mowden Hall and by the North’s preminent girls’ school, Queen Margaret’s, York. This year, Sedburgh School is also lining up as a sponsor.

Organisers Peter and Laura de Wesselow are keen to attract the younger generation to Belsay Horse Trials.

This year BSPS Area1a are running a working hunter pony show on Saturday, June 4, with classes open to all.

There will also be a Belsay event pony class, which will include a dressage test and a jumping round combining show jumps and cross-country style fences in an arena.

The winner will receive a special rug presented by Mowden Hall School.

There will be Pony Club team show jumping in the Zebras in Disguise Arena on Sunday, June 5.

Teams from local pony clubs will attend, including the Tynedale, Morpeth, Percy, South Northumberland, North Northumberland and Newcastle and Durham groups.

The event also features fairground rides, dog agility and a new trade stands, and a craft tent for artisans.

There will also be a Pimms bar as well as Eleganza Vintage Gin & Prosecco and lots of delicious food traders catering for every taste.

New Sponsors Join the Belsay Stable

With lead sponsor, Barbour, and Show Jumping Arena Sponsor, Bond Dickinson, Belsay continuing their support, Belsay is delighted to welcome Stratstone and Land Factor into its Platinum sponsorship club alongside UBS, Cussins and Ryecroft Glenton.

The UK’s premium automotive retailer, Stratstone will be bringing a selection of its Land Rover and Jaguar cars to Belsay for the weekend of the Horse Trials.

Local land agents, Land Factor look after Belsay Estate and, having been involved in the trials since they started in 2013, have this year decided to upgrade their sponsorship.

Zebras in Disguise, a new bespoke equestrian boutique based at Kirkharle Courtyard, is another exciting new addition to Belsay’s sponsorship stable.

The company, which aims to offer advice and products to riders at all levels, will sponsor a new second arena at Belsay Horse Trials.