Sun shines on Belsay for International Horse Trials
Competitors and visitors alike enjoyed the most amazing few days of weather at Belsay International Horse Trials last weekend, the north east’s first big sporting event since the Covid 19 pandemic.
It was Belsay’s first year as an international event and there was a huge buzz of excitement surrounding the three big competitions – the CCI2* British Pony Championships (the CCI2*-S for Ponies), the CCI 2*- Long Format for Juniors and the CCI 2* Short Format competition for seniors.
Gate numbers were definitely up on 2019, the last time the event ran, as several thousand headed out to enjoy a fabulous weekend of sporting action and family entertainment, all in the outdoor covid-safe environment of the Grade 1 parkland surrounding Belsay Hall and Castle.
Dressage took place on Wednesday and Thursday for the international classes, with Cross Country on Friday and Show Jumping on Saturday. National classes, from Open Intermediate to BE90 ran on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The British Pony Championships (aged 16 years and under riding ponies of 14hh – 14.2hh) was undoubtedly the highlight of this year’s Belsay and provided plenty of thrills and spills, especially on cross country day.
After a tense final of show jumping on Saturday, where less than once fence separated the top four riders, Anna Price from Bedfordshire was crowned British Champion on her pony Black Jacko with a final score of 36.2. Joining her on the podium were 2 nd placed Wiltshire based Maisy Spratt, riding Cumbrian John Thornton’s Sycamore Lad (previously a medal winning team GB pony with Molly Faulkner in 2017) and 3rd placed Ivy Fisher from Norfolk riding her 17 year old pony Smokey Diamond, another pony well known on the pony trials circuit.
Sunday’s British Evening winners were:
Novice Section – R Tyler Cassells & MC Parco Pete; Section S -Jeanette Brakewell & North Aster Cooter.BE100 Section T – Sara Bowe & Hector;Intermediate Section U – Harry Mutch & Shanbeg Cooley;OI Section V – Matt Hecking & Harle Belle;Full competition results are available via the Belsay Horse Trials website.
A total of seven teams representing the Tynedale, Morpeth, Haydon, Berwickshire, Border and Braes of Derwent Hunts took part in Belsay’s popular Inter-Hunt relay, the last event to take place on Sunday afternoon. It was a wild chase round the various obstacles and after two heats, the Morpeth B team took the win.
Laura de Wesselow, organiser of Belsay said: “We are overwhelmed with the fabulous feedback we have received about our first International. The British Pony Championships and the CCI2*-L for Juniors were meant to be the major trials for selection into the GB team for the Europeans but British Eventing announced just 10 days before Belsay that due to Covid they were no longer able to take teams to Sweden. This was a major blow to many young competitors so we tried to make Belsay extra special for them."