Family fun at Highclere Castle

  • Highclere Castle’s “Festival of the Horse” looks set to be a great weekend for all the family

    Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to this year’s Bank Holiday’s “Festival of the Horse” at Highclere Castle (25-26 August), which hosts international eventing action, alongside a packed two-day programme of equestrian competitions and displays.

    Top British riders, including William Fox-Pitt and Pippa Funnell will be competing against Australia’s best in Monday’s two advanced intermediate sections, as the Aussies compete for a place in their nation’s World Equestrian Games eventing team.

    David Green, who is playing host to many of the Australian riders at his Marlborough base, explains: “I recommended Highclere as a final selection trials [for the Australian eventing team] because of the testing and innovative course and the varied terrain, which should give them a great final run.”

    Favourites for the Australia team must include Andrew Hoy (Moon Fleet), Matt Ryan (Kibah Sandstone/Balmoral Mr Slinky), Brook Staples (Master Monarch) and Lucinda Fredericks (Darasass/Headley Britannia), although there are many up-and-coming riders challenging for a team place.

    Visitors on the Sunday will also have cross-country action to look forward to with five sections of novice horses and riders competing over the pre-novice course.

    The cross-country has been made more spectator-friendly this year with the start nearer the main arena, and increased support from Mitsubishi Motors Reading means the course will include a Badminton-style Mitsubishi pick ups fence for the first time.

    As well as top eventing action, the festival has a full programme of other equestrian entertainment over the two days including:

    • International show jumping
    • Advanced dressage
    • Endurance riding
    • Disabled driving
    • Horse behaviourist – Gary Witheford
    • Side saddle
    • Dressage to music
    • Fun dog show

    With Highclere Castle and its grounds open on both days, and the “Festival of the Horse” shopping village providing an ideal opportunity to pick up unusual gifts, the two-day spectacular is sure to keep the whole family amused.

    Tickets available on the gate including free parking, cost £6 on Sunday and £8 on Monday with children half price and toddlers free of charge.

    For more information visit www.highclerecastle.co.uk

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