This year’s Blenheim International Horse Trials will welcome many of the world’s leading riders, including former Blenheim winner and H&H columnist William Fox-Pitt, who will be riding Monarch’s Aristocrat.

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. This includes ‘Sporting Bears’ classic and sports car display, and over 200 exhibitors in the popular retail village, a perfect opportunity for a treat or two!

What’s on

The event gets underway at 3.30pm on Wednesday 5 September with the first horse inspection near the stables at Blenheim. Entry and parking is complimentary for this important part of the event.

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 7 September, with free entry after 3pm to take advantage of the amazing shopping on site. This is an ideal opportunity to visit the Horse & Hound stand (no. 145) who, alongside its sister magazines Eventing and Horse, will be offering visitors the chance to win lots of exciting prizes, take away free magazines, and save money with great subscription offers.

Prizes on offer include a bespoke Devoucoux Saddle, a year’s free insurance for your horse with Amtrust, £1,000 worth of Harry Hall, Masta and Tottie clothing plus Horseware luggage sets, as well as lots of instant freebies in our popular tombola. Make sure you get to the stand early so you don’t miss out on great subscription discounts and a free rug with every subscription taken out, only available whilst stocks last.

You can also pick up a copy of Eventing and Horse magazine completely free, plus the latest copy of Horse & Hound for just a £1. In addition William Fox-Pitt will be signing copies of his new book, What Will Be and we have 10 signed copies to give away, plus lots more copies available to buy.

Cross-country action

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, climbing walls, and other play equipment.

On Sunday, the 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 riders then perform their show jumping rounds in reverse order, with the lower placed competitors in the morning, before popular displays and the Eventers’ Grand Prix. Then the top 20/25 competitors will show jump 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.

Tickets

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