British jumping enthusiasts will be treated to a taste of America at next month’s British Open Show Jumping Championships as the rodeo sport of barrel racing comes to the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield (6 – 9 April).

Barrel racing is a timed rodeo discipline that demands speed, accuracy and agility. It was introduced in America to allow cowgirls to compete in rodeo events, and is now popular with riders of both sexes. The horsemanship skills and competitive drive in this fast and furious event make it a crowd favourite.

Competitors race from end to end of the arena at full speed while twisting and turning around a series of barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. Although a contestant can touch or move the barrels, a time penalty will be awarded for every one that is overturned. With the margin of victory measured in hundredths of a second, knocking over one barrel spells disaster.

Barrel racing competitions will take place every day through the show. The rider with the fastest time will have the benefit of going last in the next days’ competition. Each competitor will carry forward their fastest time into the final on Sunday, where the British Open Barrel Racing Champion will be crowned.

As well as the thrills and excitement of barrel racing, British Open visitors will be treated to a display of the graceful, precision sport of vaulting each day, alongside an action-packed programme of international show jumping classes and equestrian entertainment.

Other highlights of the event include William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell and Zara Phillips contesting an indoor cross-country competition; the Whitaker family and reigning British Open Champion Robert Smith competing against top foreign riders for the title of British Open Show Jumping Champion; England’s most skilful polo players will battle out the biggest high goal Arena Polo match ever staged; and international dressage rider, Rebecca Moody will perform freestyle Dressage to Music.

For tickets and more information contact the box office (tel: 0114 256 5656) or visit: www.britishopenshowjumping.com

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