We are all set to welcome owners, riders, sponsors, tradestand holders and spectators to the EQ Life Houghton International this week.
As host to the British leg of the FEI CICO3* Eventing Nations Cup competition a strong international entry is always guaranteed. This year that entry is headed up by the reigning World Champion Sandra Auffarth from Germany, who brings three horses to Norfolk.
The British team for the Houghton leg has just been announced as Sarah Bullimore riding Conpierre; crowd favourite and the only ever winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, Pippa Funnell riding Billy The Biz; Georgie Strang riding Ascot H; and Francis Whittington riding West Side. These riders are supported by the National Lottery UK Sport funded World Class Programme – making buying that lottery ticket all the more worthwhile.
The best British under 21 riders will also be vying to win the Askham Bryan College sponsored National U21 Championships. Will Furlong will be back to defend his title, riding both his 2014 winner Livingstone II and also Pioneer Silvie on whom he won an individual Junior European bronze medal back in 2013.
For riders stepping up to either CCI1* or CCI2* level, Scotts of Thrapston are sponsoring course walks with both BE Accredited coaches as well as the British Nations Cup Team Manager Philip Surl.
There is the usual raft of show jumping classes, both affiliated, unaffiliated and pony club, and team dressage. The popular Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes return and the new Arena Eventing competition provides even more opportunites for riders and spectators alike.
However, it’s not all about the horses. Visitors to Houghton can enjoy the Barking Bugle Dog Agility Show and a diverse range of tradestands selling goods for every taste and budget. Razz and Pearl’s Circus Workshops will keep the children entertained, plus there is a licenced bar on site and a range of food outlets – for those who haven’t brought a picnic.
The action kicks off on Thursday 28th with International dressage, the Burghley Young Event Horse classes, Unaffiliated showjumping and Arena Eventing. International dressage continues on Friday, alongside International cross country, showjumping and combined training classes.
The cross country dominates Saturday’s action, with more showjumping and the conclusion of the Nations Cup competition, while Sunday is a day of showjumping, and the conclusion of the CCI2* and Under 21 Championships. Tickets can be bought on the gate.