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Eight horse trials will be televised on Sky Sports this season. Houghton International (26-29 May) will be the first to be televised, on 10 and 17 June, as part of a new deal with independent broadcasters Playback Sports.

Playback Sports has four years’ experience filming horse trials, selling footage to competitors or supplying it to internet and satellite channels.

Director Joe Metcalfe said: “Once we found a system that allowed us to produce high-quality footage within a budget, the next natural step was to go down the broadcasting route.

“We are very excited about developing our relationship with Sky, which is keen to include more equestrian coverage.”

There will be two one-hour programmes for each event, the first of which will be aired a week after each competition.

British Eventing’s Mike Barnes said: “The [lack of] response from the press to last year’s highly successful World Equestrian Games results was a wake-up call for us. We need to find a way of making our fantastic sport accessible to a wider audience.”

Bramham director Nick Pritchard said they would ensure the park was in pristine shape for their TV debut.

“We are very excited to be on TV. We have had cameras on-site before, but only to show our cross-country and Sunday mix and match competition on the big screen.”

A spokesman for Sky confirmed the channel would be going ahead with the show and said the programmes would be called Horse Trials.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (7 April, 2011)