Blair Castle offers best of both worlds

  • Changes to this year’s Bowmore Blair Castle International Horse Trials and Country Fair (25-28 August) include the decision to abandon the traditional long-format for its popular three-star event.

    Event director, Sarah Phillips explains: “We have decided to run the short format because competitors at the top end of the sport feel that this is the way eventing is developing. This has allowed us to take out one of the loops on the more hilly terrain and replace it with a new loop at the second water.”

    Following consultation with riders, the organisers have decided to retain the traditional three-day event format, which including roads and tracks and steeplechase, for the one-star competition because it provides a good education for both horse and rider.

    The new three-star course will keep its typical Scottish flavour, but will also include fences celebrating the global appeal of the event, which attracted some 35,000 visitors last year, including hundreds from overseas.

    “Course designer Ronald Alexander has come up with a new combination of stone walls and a haggis,” explains Phillips. “We will also have a fence designed to look like a yacht sponsored by Dutch boat-building company, Moonen.

    “In fact scattered among the traditional Scottish fences made totally with materials from Atholl Estates, there will be a global mood, with fences sponsored by companies such as United Arab Emirates Equestrian.”

    In addition to top class horse trials action, spectators can look forward to watching old favourites such as falcons, Duck Commandos, show jumping and hunters, as well as new attractions like the Rockin’ Horse Equestrian Stunt Team.

    The children haven’t been forgotten with a new climbing wall, pirate ship and playground to keep them entertained, while the shopping and food hall will undoubtedly keep their parents occupied.

    Horse & Hound is supporting the event and the first 50 people to visit the Horse & Hound stand (No. 77) each morning will receive a free goodie bag, plus there are great subscription offers and prizes from Spillers, Net Tex plus £500 worth of Harry Hall gear up for grabs.

    Tickets are now on sale at www.blairhorsetrials.co.uk or contact the box office (tel: 01796 481543), which is open until 31 July. Tickets will also be available on the gate.

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