Eglinton Horse Trials (4-5 July) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The event is believed to be the oldest one-day event in Britain still running on its original site, under the same organiser.
The event has only been cancelled twice since its inception in 1959 — in 2001 because of foot-and-mouth and last year due to wet weather.
“I had no idea it would go on so long when I started,” said organiser The Hon Heather Galbraith. “[Eminent cross-country course-designer] Bill Thomson asked me to do it and he built two courses in three days for the first one, which was quite an achievement. We had 32 entries for that event.
“It’s completely different now with all the rules and regulations and health and safety — in those days you just had a vet and a doctor and got on with it. And the fences were just like broom handles then, now they are massive great timbers.”
Heather is celebrating the anniversary with a dinner party on the Friday night of this year’s event, inviting people from as far back in Eglinton’s history as possible.
She has also asked Sue Stewart and Cynthia Llewellyn Palmer, both competitors in the early years of the horse trials, to be dressage judges this time.