Eventing in the north will be boosted by a new international fixture in Scotland and an additional novice event for Northumberland.
Hopetoun International Horse Trials, near Edinburgh, will include CIC*** and CIC** classes for the first time in 2011.
This means there will now be two chances to compete at three-star international level in Scotland; Blair Castle is the only other event of this status following the demise of Thirlestane Castle in 2008.
Course-designer Ian Stark said: “The park at Hopetoun offers great scope. It is a magnificent setting and we plan to bring the cross-country course through the garden and across the front of the house, which will provide a great view.”
A second addition to the northern calendar is Burgham Horse Festival (22-24 July), which will boast eventing, showjumping and showing classes.
The future of the event, which ran only showjumping classes this year and made a £100k loss, has been secured thanks to investment from two prominent local businessmen, Sunil Mehra and Semore Kurdi, whose sporting interests in the region include Newcastle Falcons RUFC.
Burgham will include eventing at BE90, BE100 and novice level, plus showjumping and showing classes.
“We’ve spent the past two months putting together a very knowledgeable team,” said event director Paul White.
“We want to provide a big event feel for competitors, with onsite stabling, hospitality and entertainment. We hope riders will come and spend the whole weekend with us.”
Cumbria-based rider Ruth Edge said: “The northern event circuit has suffered recently with the loss of Thirlestane, so to have two new events at different levels is great news.
“Scottish events offer a different experience to southern ones and so hopefully more riders will be encouraged to travel north.”
Burgham’s feature showjumping class will once again be the £12,000 grand prix, which was won this year by Ellen Whitaker. The prize-fund will remain the same.
Iain Graham, chief executive of British Showjumping, said: “Last year, Burgham played host to many of our top riders. This competition is going to be a showcase for equestrian sport in Northumberland.”
This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound, 16 December 2010