1. Blenheim Horse Trials kicking off
All eyes are on Blenheim Horse Trials this week with the event being organised by the Jockey Club for the first time – and all of us very keen to see what they will bring to this iconic event that ticks the “historic house, beautiful estate, stunning setting for a horse trials” box that so many event riders and owners are really after. It used to be that three-day events started with the dressage (well, the cross-country really let’s face it), but these days for all spectators and fans it truly starts with the trot-up. Who is wearing what (French rider Gaspard Maksud a red beret and sharp blue suit), who was a handful (Gold Nugget, amongst others), and who was held?
2. The National Dressage Champs happening away from Stoneleigh
These champs are where we all get a glimpse of Charlotte Dujardin’s next championship superstars, before she appears winning medals with her rides at the likes of the Tokyo Olympics and the European Dressage Championships. She will be riding Imhotep in both the prix st georges and inter I championships at Somerford – Imhotep, being an eight-year-old gelding by Everdale. You can watch them in the Fairfax Saddles PSG gold at 3.30pm today (16 September), and in the Saracen Horse Feeds inter I gold at 11.27am tomorrow (17 September). Charlotte will also ride her young star Mon Amour in the four-year-old class. After years of grumbling from the dressage fraternity that this championships had outgrown its previous venue at Stoneleigh Park, it makes its debut at Somerford Park Farm. We are expecting things to be bigger and better than ever, with three arenas of action and more than 700 combinations taking part across the levels during the four days. And no rain, obviously.
3. This feel-good racing story
In a week that began with much of the horse world talking about Gordon Elliott’s return to racing after a six-month ban, we were struck by this more uplifting tale – a retired racehorse popping in for tea with the elderly as part of a heartwarming new scheme. Racing charities Greatwood and Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) are working with the Racing Together team to spread joy through horses. The six-week pilot, which started on 2 September, involves former racehorse Ouzbeck visiting a care home in Marlborough, Wilts. The aims are to explore and measure the benefits to physical and mental health of care home residents, celebrate racehorses’ versatility and provide another way to connect racing with the public. If successful, the plan is to then connect more former racehorses with community groups. A nice, needed, spot of positive PR during National Racehorse Week, which is also going down a storm.
You may also enjoy reading…
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.