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Two new stately home venues confirmed for 2020 eventing season

Two new stately home venues are set to host horse trials this year as the post-lockdown autumn eventing calendar starts to take shape.

Thoresby Park, which was originally due to hold its first event in the spring, will now host the horse trials planned for Osberton from 8 to 11 October.

The change of venue, which is just six miles away, has come about following concerns over the proximity of Osberton to the community living in Scofton Village in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“During these difficult and uncertain times we are delighted to announce that the competition planned for Osberton will be going ahead, albeit at a different venue,” said organiser Stuart Buntine, of Bede Events.

“We fully understand the Covid-secure concerns at Osberton Estate and we are all looking forward to a fantastic event at Thoresby which can better accommodate the event during these extraordinary times.

“There has been much to do and final plans are still being implemented, but we will announce the full timetable shortly.”

Ralph Foljambe of Osberton Estate added, he is “thrilled the estates can work together in this way”.

“It achieves the best result for the sport in these unprecedented times. We will much look forward to 2021 when two separate events can be held at Thoresby and at Osberton, as was intended in 2020,” he added.

The fixture features CCI2*-L and CCI3*-L classes, incorporating the British Eventing Young Horse Championships.

Gregor Pierrepont of Thoresby Park said: “In this exceptional year, holding the event at Thoresby is very much a one-off, but we are very pleased to be able to step in and we will be on hand to support Stuart and the team and to make the horse trials a great success.”

Cornbury House Horse Trials in Oxfordshire, which was announced as making a return to the eventing calendar this year for the first time since the 1990s, has confirmed it intends to go ahead from 11 to 13 September.

Event president David Howden moved to the house in 2017 and was inspired by the parkland and his family’s love of horses to reinstate the fixture.

It will stage CCI3*-S and CCI2*-S level international classes, incorporating youth sections, and national novice and intermediate classes.

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“It has been quite a challenge; first last winter’s weather held up our plans, and then along comes Covid-19,” said David, who is working with experienced organisers Richard Clapham and Pattie Biden, cross-country course-designer David Evans and course-builder Adrian Ditcham.

“For me, Cornbury House Horse Trials has always been about three things: the riders, the horses and their owners. I really wanted to focus on the sport, and to do that, we needed to be able to produce exactly the right conditions for them, which has meant considerable investment.”

While this year’s event is likely to be held without spectators, in accordance with government guidance surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, he has big plans for the future.

“We want to offer a lovely day out with thrilling sport in a magnificent setting,” he said. “We are determined to put Cornbury House Horse Trials on in 2020 with the very high standards that we always envisaged.”

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