Hunt followers are hoping to test themselves against celebrity riders in an inter-hunt knockout with a difference at Barbury International Horse Trials on Saturday (5 July).

A maximum of 32 hunt teams — consisting of 4 members who regularly hunt with the pack they represent — will compete against each other. Jumping over a mirror-image course, the 4 semi-finalist teams will then battle for the top prize of £500.

The winning team will then take on 3 celebrity teams made up of showjumpers, eventers and jockeys.

Each of the equestrian stars will be riding horses provided by members of the teams who are placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the inter-hunt competition.

Zara Phillips and AP McCoyOlympic eventer Zara Phillips and champion jump jockey AP McCoy will captain 2 of the teams, who are raising money for the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF).

Zara Phillips, who has hunted a lot herself, said: “It’s great to be combining the horse trials with this event in aid of IJF. There are so many different equestrian sports and we all respect and admire each other.”

A crack team of eventers includes William Fox-Pitt, H&H columnist Mark Todd and Laura Collett. Richard Johnson, John Francome and Sam Twiston-Davies complete a star-studded jockeys’ line-up.

Susie Beecroft, chef d’equipe of the Bicester with Whaddon Chase teams, said: “Our riders are very excited to be competing against such names. The celebrities will have to be on their best form to beat the winning hunt team, though, because they are a competitive lot!”

Picture by Darren Bird

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (3 July, 2014)