Hickstead’s unique Ford Ranger Eventing Grand Prix gets a new look at this week’s Royal International Horse Show, with riders taking on a revised show jumping track and new cross-country obstacles.
Changes introduced by course designers Kelvin Bywater and Robert Lemieux include two time-saving short cuts in the first eight show jumps.
Out in the country there is The Bunn Leisure Brush and Carlsberg Beer Garden — a related combination of three fences comprising a V-shaped brush, a large bench seat and a stack of beer kegs — plus the The Gastro Gold Sheep Pens, a new complex of hurdle pens – alongside one filled with sheep – plus two five-barred gates and a hedge and bank.
Back in the international arena the large dry ditch, which is normally jumped in the DFS Derby, has had the addition of some substantial timber to make the BHS Trakhener. And the course includes some of Hickstead’s famous permanent fences including the Derby Bank, the Irish Bank, the Devil’s Dyke, which is jumped in reverse, and the Hickstead Lake.
Starters this year include four previous winners, Irish show jumper Shane Breen and event riders Mark Kyle, Gary Parsonage and last year’s number one, Emilie Chandler.
Eventing challengers include Australian Stuart Tinney, who won eventing gold at the Sydney Olympics eight years ago, Household Cavalry riding master Major Richard Waygood, Eddie Stibbe, who has ridden in more three-day events than any other rider, and Olympic contenders Lucy Wiegersma and Oliver Townend.
DFS Derby winner Ben Maher, Hickstead specialist Jane Annett and Shane Breen’s brother Trevor are among the show jumping specialists competing to win a Ford Ranger for a year plus a share of the £13,000 prize fund.
For tickets and more information visit: www.hickstead.co.uk
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