This week the crème-de-la-crème of the eventing world head to Devon to compete in the first ever CCI4* at Bicton International Horse Trials on 10-13 June.
A venue I’ve competed at since I was a teenager back in the 90s competing in JRNs – anyone else remember those?
When I heard Helen West and her team were stepping in to host the Bramham replacement it made me feel very proud to be from the west country and part of something very exciting. Especially as this will be one of the last competitions before the Tokyo shortlist are selected.
Helen told us:
It’s an enormous honour and privilege to host an event of this magnitude at Bicton. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase what we can do down in the south west. I’m very much looking forward to welcoming riders from further afield who have perhaps not frequented our event and excited to see what their reaction will be to this modern competition venue which is uniquely set within Grade One Listed Parkland and undoubtedly provides the big occasion feeling.
I’ve committed to running this fixture as a one-off replacement for 2021. We’re all looking forward to the return of the Bramham International Horse Trials in 2022, but should an opportunity ever arise within the fixtures calendar for an additional 4* at a different time in the year then the Estate would love to make it a more permanent fixture.
There will be 3 competitive classes: CCI4* – Long (show jump after XC), CCI4*-S (XC after show jumping) and the CCI4*-L-Under 25 (the rising stars of eventing) taking on the brand new 4* cross country tracks designed by Helen West under the watchful eye of Captain Mark Philips. And if you’re an Instagram stalker like me – I’ve been carefully watching Oliver Goody’s Instagram page for sneak peaks, who has been busy helping Adrian Ditcham with the course build. @OG_Equine_Construction
12 nations are competing across the weekend including a host of the Olympic longlisted combinations including Ros Canter and Allstar B, world champions in 2018, Piggy March and Brookfield Innocent, Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope, Kitty King with Vendredi Biats, Tom McEwen and his 2019 Pau winner Toledo de Kerser, Laura Collett with the in-form London 52, also a 4* winner at Aston-le-Walls last month, and world number one Oliver Townend with his dual Kentucky winner Cooley Master Class.
We caught up with Laura who is a big fan of Bicton and said
“I’m very excited to be taking my 3 top horses to Bicton for their first 4* … I’m a huge fan of Bicton as a venue because it has fantastic facilities, and the team always does such a brilliant job with the ground on XC!”
If that wasn’t enough there will be some International favourites heading to Devon including Irishman Sam Watson with the handsome Tullabeg Flamenco and Australia’s Christopher Burton who is based down the road at Bicton International sponsor’s Chedington Estate in Dorset.
Being Dorset based, I will be cheerleading some of Dorset’s finest based eventers including Rosie Fry who will be riding True Blue Too II in the long and Aunt Augusta in the short. Rosie is also one to watch in the trot up having been a previous winner of trot up sponsor’s Hiho Silver’s Best Dressed competition.
Of course, I will be supporting my trainer Aaron Millar who has two very exciting rides – RLE Nina van Overis Z and KEC Deakon both in the short. And I can guarantee they will be some of the best turned out horses by Lulu Mesquita!
If you fancy spectating and watching all the live action at Bicton International on the Saturday or Sunday, there are a limited number of tickets available – www.bicton-arena.co.uk
Don’t worry if you can’t make it, Horse & Country have joined forces with British Eventing to bring you all the live action on there channel. Make sure you’re following @horseandcountryTV & Nicole Brown @nicolebrownmedia for all the latest news.
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