Visiting beautiful stately homes is one of eventing’s unique selling points, and different locations have come and gone. Catherine Austen takes a nostalgic tour and catches up on plans for two venues that return to the fixtures list in 2020
Eventing in Britain is known worldwide for its palatial venues. Castles, palaces, stately homes – ever since the Duke of Beaufort gave the sport its first home in this country at his house, Badminton, in 1949, competitors and spectators have had privileged access to some of the finest sporting locations possible.
While Badminton has remained a constant, other equally beautiful events have come and gone over the decades. Who now remembers Harewood in Yorkshire, which ran a major three-day event for four years in the 1950s? However, sometimes historic venues return to the calendar – such as Osberton and Chatsworth, which ran in the 1950s, then as a three-day event in the 1980s, and from 1999 in its present form as a highly prestigious one-day.
This year, both Cornbury House and Cirencester Park will host horse trials for the first time in many years. Both replace “little” Gatcombe fixtures, Cirencester in the spring and Cornbury in the autumn.