This year’s Blenheim International Horse Trials will welcome many of the world’s leading riders fresh from the World Equestrian Games. Entered riders include four-time Blenheim winner Pippa Funnell, who is not competing at WEG and will be focused on trying to extend her record with one of her favourite horses, Ensign.
As well as being one of Britain’s most prestigious and entertaining sporting occasions, set in rolling parkland against the spectacular backdrop of Blenheim Palace, the event provides a variety of main arena entertainment for all the family and more than 180 exhibitors in the popular retail village features over 180 quality exhibitors.
The event gets underway at 3.30pm on Wednesday 30 August with the first horse inspection in the Garden Centre Car Park at Blenheim, which is open to the public.
On Thursday the early riders perform their dressage in front of three judges against the spectacular backdrop of Blenheim Palace. The scores will be displayed on an electronic scoreboard in the arena, enabling spectators to see the judges’ views. Meanwhile, the Dodson & Horrell Riding Clubs team show jumping will take place in the second arena and the cross-country course will be open for the public to walk.
The rest of the dressage takes place on Friday 1 September, with free entry after 3pm to take advantage of the amazing shopping on site. This is an ideal opportunity to visit the H&H stand (no. 20) to take advantage of 30% off magazine subscriptions and receive a fantastic fleece rug absolutely free! You can also enter our free competition to win fantastic prizes including a Kan body protector, Mirotec rug and leg wraps, £1,000 of gear from Harry Hall and Masta, plus much more. The second area will play host to the Dodson & Horrell Pony Club teams show jumping.
Saturday is, of course, cross-country day with riders taking on the challenge of the big, solid fences. The slopes on either side of the water complex across the River Glyme form a natural amphitheatre with ample picnicking and viewing space, making it a great day out for all the family. There will also be entertainment for the children including inflatable toys, bungee trampoline, and other play equipment.
On Sunday, the nail-biting show jumping finale, plus an extensive programme of arena entertainment, will keep all the family happy. But not until after the nail-biting final horse inspection where judges and vets will inspect each of the horses to check they are fit to jump. The lower placed riders perform their show jumping rounds before the popular Celebrity Pairs Cross-Country Challenge where pairs of equestrian names compete over a timed cross-country and show jumping course. Then the final 30 top-placed riders will then perform their show jumping rounds in reverse order of merit. The rider who comes out on top will be presented with their trophy in the main arena immediately after the climax of the competition.
Getting to Blenheim
Blenheim Palace is situated in the village of Woodstock, Oxfordshire. It is signposted from the A34 and M40. Entrance to the event is either on the A44 Oxford-Evesham road or the A4095 Bicester-Witney road at Bladon.
Blenheim is approximately 8 miles from Oxford’s bus and train stations. There are regular direct line trains to Oxford from London (Paddington), Reading and Birmingham, while buses leave Victoria Station in London for Oxford approx every 12 minutes. Coach companies Evan Evans (tel: 0207 950 1777) and Golden Tours (tel: 0207 233 7030) also run day trips from London.
Admission tickets are available on the gate every day, although the availability of members enclosure or grandstand seats cannot be guaranteed. Accompanied children 14 years & under receive free entry. The public car park is also free. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on the lead at all times and are not permitted in the grandstands or in the members restaurant. For full ticket prices and to book tickets visit: www.blenheim-horse.co.uk