This year’s Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International, incorporating the FEI Eventing Nations Cup, runs from 24th – 27th May. As usual it is set to welcome riders from across the globe; 19 nations will be represented, from Finland and Sweden to Russia, Japan and Hong Kong. Entries for the headline ‘CICO three-star’ class, which incorporates the only British leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup, are full and five teams look set to challenge the winner of the previous three years, Germany.
World class athletes will be heading to Norfolk with the goal of winning this class, and ones to watch would have to be Laura Collett and Tina Cook. Laura has three entries including her uber-talented Mr Bass who along with Tina’s Billy The Red and Calvino II were due to contest Badminton before the spring’s bad weather and a nasty fall for Tina put paid to those plans. Crowd favourites Pippa Funnell, Ben Hobday and Nicola Wilson are also in the line-up. International medal winners include Australia’s Andrew Hoy, New Zealand’s Caroline Powell, Germany’s Dirk Schrade and twice World Champion Kiwi, Blyth Tait.
Aside from the ‘big’ class and fresh from finishing third at Badminton, British team gold medallist Rosalind Canter is bringing one of her youngsters, while Piggy French has two horses entered and Gemma Tattersall, fourth at Badminton behind Ros, has a ride in every class.
Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International also plays host to the NAF British Eventing Under 21 Championships. Reigning Junior European Champion Bubby Upton will have three shots at this title, including with her medal winning partner Eros DHI. This partnership is very much on song, having won a two-star class at Belton International last month. Last year’s winner Felicity Collins returns, as does 2017 runner up Sam Ecroyd.
Running alongside the International event, there are also showjumping, combined training, dressage, arena eventing and pony club classes, as well as the ever popular Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifiers.
For those less horse-orientated there will be ‘have a go’ dog agility hosted by EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices), Musketeer’s charity for this year, children’s entertainment, over 70 tradestands, food outlets, and a licenced bar.
One option worth considering is camping on site. Evening entertainment is laid on – from the Friday night Pub Quiz to the Saturday night disco, so there is plenty to do. This is a truly unique opportunity as camping is not allowed at Houghton Hall at any other time of the year and camping packages can cover anything from one night to the whole event.
Tickets can be bought in advance via this website, and on the Gate, which opens at 8.30am every day.