Don’t miss the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park

  • The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire kicks off this Friday (2 August).

    BBC weather promises it’s going to be fair (with the odd spot of rain), so pack a kagool, don some sensible shoes — the hilly cross-country course is not to be sniffed at — and make your way to HRH The Princess Royal’s home.

    It fell foul to unprecedented rainfall last year but will be back in full swing this weekend (2-4 August), hosting the British championships for novice, intermediate and advanced (open) eventing.

    And this year it has attained international status, with the open championship running as a CIC3* class.

    You will be treated to a bumper line-up of top riders — including reigning open champion Andrew Nicholson, 2013 Badminton winner Jock Pagetand British senior European championship squad members Tina Cook, William Fox-Pitt andPippa Funnell.

    If you can’t make it to Gatcombe to see the cross-country course (designed by Captain Mark Phillips) for yourself, you can download a free digital course map to your iPhone. It has photos, videos and expert audio commentary from eventing officials Jonathan Clissold and Philip Surl. The three-star course will be available on Friday from www.crosscountryapp.com

    And if you have children, husbands, wives or friends who aren’t eventing mad, lure them with the prospect of the Shetland pony Grand National, scurry driving, dressage to music and trade stands selling jewellery to jumps.

    While Zara Phillips may be taking a break from competing, bonus points for anyone who can spot the Olympic eventer — and her bump — in the grounds of her family home.

    For more information, including ticket prices and a full timetable of events, visit www.gatcombe-horse.co.uk

    Don’t miss our Gatcombe report in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale 8 August 2013

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