The public will have the rare opportunity to see Britain’s top show jumpers and eventers competing under one roof at this year’s British Open Show Jumping Championships (12-15 April). A world class line up, including reining British Open Champion Robert Smith and BBC Sports Personality of the Year Zara Philips, has been invited to the show which will be staged at the Birmingham NEC for the first time.
Robert Smith has all to play for this year as a win would mark a hat trick of British Open titles. But Britain’s premier show jumping family, the Whitakers, will no doubt give Smith a run for his money. Michael, John, Robert and Ellen along with a host of the UK’s leading riders will be contesting the £150,000 British Open prize pot, the biggest indoor show jumping prize in Britain. Two further riders will win a place to compete at the British Open at the Addington Classic from 29 March to 1 April.
Eventing fans have plenty to look forward to at this year’s British Open. Pippa Funnell, William Fox-Pitt and Zara Phillips have all been invited to contest the British Open Indoor Cross-country title on Thursday 12 April – Britain’s only top level indoor cross-country competition. The one-round competition against the clock, with a prize fund of over £5,000, will boast a demanding course of bespoke cross-country jumps, specially designed for the competition. Riders will be required to negotiate several show jumps at the start of the course with two seconds added for each knock-down, before stepping up the pace over the cross-country fences.
As well as top show jumping and eventing, visitors will enjoy high class entertainment from Jean Francois Pignon who will be performing a specially choreographed routine, dubbed ‘the best equestrian display in the world’. Also included in the timetable will be high speedscurry driving, an intricate equestrian vaulting display by the English aquad, a dressage exhibition by Becky Moody, barrel racing and an arena polo competition featuring Jack Kidd and other leading arena polo professionals. The new shopping forum will include more stands than ever before, ensuring no one will walk away empty handed.
For more information and online booking visit www.britishopenshowjumping.com or call the box office (tel: 08700 100 216). Groups of 12 or more are entitled to a discount via the groups box office (tel: 0800 358 0058).
Top 10 British show jumpers
1. Michael Whitaker (Nottingham)
2. Nick Skelton (Warwickshire)
3. John Whitaker MBE (Yorkshire)
4. Robert Smith (Warwickshire)
5. Robert Whitaker (Yorkshire)
6. William Funnell (Surrey)
7. David McPherson (Kent)
8. Ellen Whitaker (Yorkshire)
9. Paul Barker (Yorkshire)
10. Ben Maher (Essex)
Event riders invited to the British Open
Mark Kyle (IRE)
Andrew Hoy (AUS)
Bettina Hoy (AUS)
Clayton Fredericks (AUS)
Lucinda Fredericks (AUS)
Dag Albert (SWE)
Andrew Nicholson (NZL)