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Visit Blenheim for a great day out

This weekend’s Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials features an inviting new look cross-country course

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The course at this year’s Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials (4-8 September) follows a similar route to last years, however designer Mike Etherington-Smith has made several alterations to fences.

Jeanette Brakewell, who will be walking the course with 30 Horse & Hound readers on Friday 6 September at 10am, describes it as “very inviting”.

“It will give the younger riders and horses confidence and the older and more experienced a real buzz,” she says.

Tickets for the course walk, which cost £15 each with 15% of ticket sales being donated to the National Canine Defence League, will be available on a first come first served basis from the Horse &Hound stand (No 25) at Blenheim.

Top entries

In spite of the World Equestrian Games drawing close, there are still 149 of entries for this year’s CCI*** event and Pippa Funnell, Mary King and William Fox-Pitt all have rides.

Other riders to look out for include: 19-year-old Harry Meade, who recently won the Pony Club senior title championship, Lucinda Green with Miss Da Meena, and Andrew Nicholson riding Astronave.

There are several fences likely to challenge riders:

  • Fence 4 – Bank/log/arrowhead. This will requires an honest horse and bold riding. The alternative is a much longer and time-consuming option.
  • Fence 7 – Water. There is no alternative although it can be approached from a number of angles.
  • Fence 14 & 15 – Riders will need to attack this fence as they bounce in and quickly rebalance before stepping out and over a bounce. There is an alternative slower route.
  • Fence 18abc – A large oxer followed by 2 corners set on a left-hand curve.
  • Fence 26ab – Two large corners which are big and wide.

The first horse inspection takes place on Wednesday, 4 August at 11.15am. Dressage for the CCI*** then takes place over three days starting on the Wednesday afternoon.

As always Saturday’s speed & endurance kicks off at 9am with the first horse scheduled to go cross-country at 10.20am. Sunday sees the final horse inspection prior to the show jumping.

Check out the Blenheim timetable

Directions to Blenheim

Blenheim Palace is situated near Woodstock in Oxfordshire. From the M40 take junction 9 and follow the signs to the event.

Admission is £7 per person on Thursday and Friday, £16 on Saturday and £9 on Sunday.

For more information (tel: 0870 83002090) or visit www.petplanequine.co.uk/blenheim

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