There’s something really quite special about The Magic Millions British Festival of Eventing or Gatcombe as many folks fondly still refer to it as.
Perhaps it’s the location, I mean, how lucky are we to have a horse trial set on the spectacular land of Princess Anne and her husband Timothy Laurence, and now home to both children Zara Tindall and Festival event director Peter Phillips at Gatcombe Park in Minchinhampton, Gloucester.
Or could it be the prestigious cross-country course built by Captain Mark Phillips (a real family affair!) with that special draw, or the electric feeling down at the famous ‘bowl’ when watching your favourite rider take on the water?
This year’s Gatcombe was made even more special, returning after 3 years due to a certain pandemic and boy it didn’t disappoint.
I was fortunate to attend as media with my blogger hat thank you to the lovely JB team for hosting me. I wanted to share some of my favourite moments in my Festival Wrap-Up, after sharing my thoughts on the Warm Up blog.
The Topspec Challenge for the Corinthian Cup Challenge
This is the true amateur test for competitors competing at Novice level. The cross-country course is upper-end Novice, leaning towards Intermediate.
The overall winner was Somerset-based Amy Barlow riding the jointly owned horse by herself, Mrs Susan Shenkman and Miss Charlotte Schict’s Iwan. I was fortunate to capture them in the show jumping and cross country – and they both looked fab. Very well-deserved winners.
It was also lovely to see local Dorset rider Jodie Loveday on her stunning orange boy Cadbury VH Reukenis Z produce a fantastic double clear to finish in 12th.
Guest blogger Tamsin Drew with the gorgeous Kate also produced a fab double clear. Tamsin and Kate are definitely ones to watch for the future as Kate has a mega jump.
The Magic Millions British Open CCI4* Short
This is the class I always loved watching when attending with my parents. There’s definitely an electric atmosphere during the cross-country phase. The course is a true cross-country test across a variety of terrain, and you really do need a fit horse to take it on. I for one tested my fitness trying to get ‘the shot’ running up and down the bowl from the M to the water – but it was totally worth it.
A huge congrats to eventual winner Tim Price and Vitali – keeping the British Open Championship silverware in the Price household, after Jonelle and Classic Moet picked up the title back in 2019. Quick sidenote – if you haven’t read the blog about The Price’s trip to Frickley Park – make sure you do, it will definitely bring a smile to your face and celebrates the highs and lows of eventing.
And well done to Oliver Townend on his beautiful grey Dreamliner for coming in second and Pippa Funnell and Walk on Billy for finishing third.
Although it was a small class, it was great to get up close and see some of our top British riders including Harry Meade and Emily King.
You can’t visit Gatcombe without taking a nose around the trade stands. A real mix of equestrian, countryside and foodie-themed exhibitors this year.
Was great to visit Foxy Equestrian and meet founder Sophie who featured on my Warm Up blog. I might have also made a cheeky purchase or two – snapping up the new Foxy and eGlove riding gloves and navy riding tights – which I’m living in.
I also finally snapped up some Pinkster Gin and treated myself to their Little Cocktail Kit which was a bargain at £18. And I managed to grab myself a bottle of Somerset cider Kicking Goat to try which was very refreshing and had amazing branding.
H&C behind the scenes
If you watched Gatcombe on Horse & Country – here’s a cheeky behind-the-scenes snap before they went on air on Sunday morning. Thank you to the lovely Nicole Brown who took the time to give me a whiz round.
And that is a wrap on Gatcombe / The Festival of British Eventing for 2022.. it really did go by in a flash.
If you love attending horse trials or British Eventing competitions and getting up close to all the action I highly recommend you add Gatcombe / The Festival to your 2023 list of events to visit – & provisional dates are 4-6 August 2023. Make sure you keep an eye on the website www.festivalofbritisheventing.com and sign up for the newsletter.