10 May 2002

Eventing magazine Editor Kate Green previews this weekend’s Chatsworth horse trials

Chatsworth 2002 takes place on 11-12 May, in association with Horse & Hound and supported by Ford Motor Company, Eve Trakway and Oce (UK) Ltd.

This year’s cross-country course, designed by Mike Etherington-Smith, is similar to last year, when the event was cancelled due to FMD.

The first fence on the CIC*** course, Pegasus, isa sculpture by artist Tim Harrisson. It is the third sculpture to be commissioned by Chatsworth’s heir, the Marquis of Hartington, to support artists and promote art in the park.

The previous two creations in the Marquis’ annual series, Alison Crowther’s Seat (fence 15) and Alan Jones’s Two Graces (fence 19), are also included in the course.

The CIC track follows its usual route, looping backwards and forwards across the steep hill on the same side of the valley as the house. It rises to its peak at the Horse & Hound Into Space (fence 9/10), an imposing downhill bounce, and has the historic moated Queen Mary’s Bower (fence 22) as the furthest point from the start.

En route is a major new construction at the Ice Pond (fence 12). The pond is entered via a decent log and drop on to dry land before four or five strides across the water to a serious Normandy Bank (fence 13ab) with a stomach-churning drop off. The horses then turn left up a sharp rise and jump a log back into the water.

As in previous years, Mike Etherington-Smith’s thoughtful, horse-friendly course requires an athletic, balanced horse, who is properly fit.

The dressage phase is run in the main showground area, which can prove disastrous for riders but amusing for spectators.

The show jumping will be run after the cross-country. This format was introduced in 2000 to discouraging riders from riding too fast across country. The result was a tense finale, run in reverse order of merit.

Who’s in the running?

Badminton winner Pippa Funnell more than rose to the occasion here in 2000 with an assured performance on Supreme Rock. Pippa will be back to try and recapture her crown, with Viceroy II, Walk On Star and Jurassic Rising all entered.

Also entered is Ian Stark with Saucy Brown and Rangitoto and Blyth Tait with his Burghley winner and World Champion Ready Teddy, as well as William Fox-Pitt, Leslie Law, Andrew Hoy and Kristina Cook.

Tickets are available on the gate. Cost: £7 Saturday; £8 Sunday; £12 weekend; under-14s go free when with an adult; car parking £1.

For more information visit: www.chatsworth.org

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